Sunday, May 24, 2009

Riccardo Freda's SPARTACUS

Riccardo Freda: When (Stanley) Kubrick was making SPARTACUS, the Americans bought the negative of my 1953 SPARTACO (SINS OF ROME) for 50000 dollars and made it disappear, even though by now it was a pretty old film, and in Italy had certainly exhausted any further possibility of being re-released. My SPARTACO had been a film of compromise, and I wasn't totally happy with it. My original story was very hard-hitting and the terrible condition of the slaves was graphically described. But there was De Pirro at the Ministry who attacked me over this, insisting that nobody had ever been allowed to speak badly of the Ancient Romans. The screenplay had been taken from Tito Livio (Livy) and other historical documents, and described the true conditions of the slaves, the reasons for the revolt, and it was this that had frightened them. The film was eventually made and turned out quite well, it was full of spectacle, gladiators, and romantic intrigue...

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