Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Raoul Walsh, 1887-1980

Raoul Walsh, 1887-1980

Famed director Raoul Walsh was born on this day in 1887. I've recommended his work before, specifically The Big Trail. An interesting movie of his that I haven't mentioned in the past is Esther and the King.

Esther here is indeed the Old Testament Esther, at least in name. She's played here by Joan Collins, which should give you some semblance of what the movie is going to be like. The story is spiced up, with the women wearing the slinkiest of garments, and the men wearing tunics that show off their calves and arms. Esther is a Persian Jew who is in love with a fellow Jew, but discovered by King Xerxes (Ahaseurus) after he's had his first wife executed. Thanks to complicated palace machinations, Esther's uncle is working in the palace, and the King's right-hand man wants Esther killed so that his preferred choice can marry the King. Esther has to save the Jews of Persia from, well, the same sorts of things that befell them ever since they ended up in Egypt.

Esther and the King was made in 1960, at the end of a period in which a whole host of Biblical epics had been made. The genre had pretty much run its course, and so today, Esther and the King isn't remembered anywhere near as well as The Ten Commandments. That's not to say it's a bad movie. Joan Collins actually does fairly well, and the cinematography is quite pretty. And there's also more than enough flesh to satisfy anybody. It's a fun little movie for Easter if you want a different Bible story than the ones that normally get shown, and it's available on DVD, too.

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