Two decades before she would gain fame and some fortune as Alexis Carrington on Dynasty (1981), Dame Joan Collins starred as Esther in this melodramatic, routine Biblical story. The setting...
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A lone rider comes across a dying soldier, who gives him a paper authorizing the payment of $150,000 to the U.S. Army. The rider gathers some colleagues who disguise themselves as soldiers and who take the paper to a bank.
Two decades before she would gain fame and some fortune as Alexis Carrington on Dynasty (1981), Dame Joan Collins starred as Esther in this melodramatic, routine Biblical story. The setting is Persia in the fourth century B.C., as Esther comes to the attention of the recently widowed King Ahasuerus. The King has been trying to stifle and defeat the campaign of hatred fomented against the Jews by his evil minister Haman (Sergio Fantoni). Before the King can pair off with Esther and defeat the villainous Haman, there are several intervening adventures and an additional, attractive woman who competes for attention.
...And they brought to the king ten beautiful maidens...the fairest in all the land. And when the king beheld her that was called Esther his heart became as fire and there was a song flowing in his blood... See more »
In December 1960, Motion Picture Daily reported that this movie was doing good business in small-town theaters. See more »
The ruins of an ancient Roman building complex are used as Simon's hideout. The ruins were disguised with some Persian elements (a broken statue, some sculptures on the walls), but Roman columns are visible. Most of the exterior/interior sets, however, are historically accurate representations of ancient Persian architecture. See more »
The time is 2,500 years ago. The place is Persia. The man is Ahasuerus, king of the Medes and the Persians, ruler of 127 provinces, the most powerful man on Earth. The army is the conqueror of all the lands from India to Ethiopia. They are returning home now from fresh victories in Egypt.
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More a testament to Brillcreme and Aqua-Net than to The Bible!
There isn't a whole lot to distinguish this middling biblical epic from the sea of others that came out in the mid-50's and early 60's, but it offers a certain degree of entertainment. Egan (decidedly miscast) plays the King of Persia (with Brillcremed hair and a standard American accent) who returns from a long battle to find that his wife has been enjoying the services of one or more of his men. He excuses himself from her and sets out to find a new virgin bride, choosing from all the maidens in his kingdom. Virginal Jewess Collins (yes...that's right) is the title character. She is snatched away mere moments before becoming wed to Battaglia and is taken to the palace to be groomed for the selection process. Once there, she is protected by her uncle O'Dea (who entreats her to hide her Jewish heritage) and is targeted by Fantoni who is Egan's right-hand man. Fantoni has another lady in mind for the throne so he can use her to his own ends of taking over the kingdom. Eventually, Collins realizes that she and only she can spare her people from destruction and she decides to leave behind her dreams of a life with Battaglia and pursue Egan. Egan, still in very good shape physically, makes a handsome king and gives an okay performance. He is just patently contemporary in his look and delivery. Collins is very attractive throughout (complete with heavy bouffant 60's hair!) and does an adequate job as well, but is always more interesting as a villainess than as a docile young maiden. O'Dea lends able support as her wise and stalwart uncle. It would be difficult to summon up a more virile, hirsute, hunk of man than Battaglia as Collin's abandoned lover. Seeing him, one can understand the torment she had at having to turn her back on her past and move on. The location work, fancy sets, pageantry and gauzy costumes keep this from being too dull, but there is an awful lot of chatter and hand-wringing in between the action sequences. Stay awake for the scene in which Egan gifts Collins with a tiger cub and then immediately steps over to a lyre and plunks out what sounds like the opening strains of "Born Free"! As expected, considerable liberties have been taken with the original story, yet it doesn't result in that much more spectacular a film.
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