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FSU CLT 3510 - Study Guide

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Main Story Lines:Funny Thing Happened at the Forum - Set in a Roman neighborhood (not the same Rome seen in Ben-Hur and Spartacus) Pseudolus’ attempt to win freedom by securing a girl for his master, Hero. Filled with plot twists, mistaken identities, phony danger. In the end everything works outGladiator - Maximus has been named keeper of Rome and its empire by dying emperor Marcus Aurelius, so that rule might pass from the Caesars back to the people and Senate. Marcus' neglected and power-hungry son, Commodus, has other ideas, however. Escaping an ordered execution, Maximus hurries back to his home in Spain, too late to save his wife and son from the same order. Taken into slavery and trained as a gladiator by Proximo, Maximus lives only that he might someday take his revenge and fulfill the dying wish of his emperor. The time soon comes when Proximo's troupe is called to Rome to participate in a marathon of gladiator games held at the behest of the new emperor, Commodus. Once in Rome, Maximus wastes no time in making his presence known, and is soon involved in a plot to overthrow the emperor with his former-love Lucilla, Commodus' sister, after whom he lusts, and also the widowed mother of Lucius, heir to the empire after his uncle, and democratic-minded senator, Gracchus.General Features:The Trojan Women (1971) - - Based on Euripides play- Prod. on stage (1963, 1964)- Hard to get funding for screen prod.- Filmed in Spain- Revolves around Trojan women in immediate aftermath of fall of Troy to Greeks- Focus on Hecuba (wife of Priam), Cassandra (Hecuba’s daughter), Andromache (Hector’s wife) and Helen- Changes:No godsFilmed outdoors, not on a stageChorus’ role expandedGreater emphasis on Hecuba and her suffering- Cast:Hecuba: Katherine HepburnCassandra: Genevieve BujoldAndromache: Vanessa RedgraveHelen: Irene Pappas- ObservationsClear where sympathies lie - Hecuba. Helen = villianWomen = heroes (dignity)Greeks/men = hypocritesClose to Euripidean themesMore brutal on screenPolitical connection - Anti-war sentiments of 1960America (Vietnam) France (Algeria) Greece (Junta)Hercules - - Muses: modernized version ancient greek goddess - Loose rendition of myth- Alcmene isn’t mother (Hera is, so they don’t have to explain Zeus’ adultery)- Hades is villain instead of Hera- Elements added:Pegasus (Clash)Philoctetes- Doesn’t kill children- Megara = love interest (must be won)- Labors driven from search for himself and true heroism- Becomes modern sport celebrity hero (store, drink, shoes)- Movie makes fun of modern culture celebs- Pop culture satire:Marilyn Monroe constellationThebes “Big Apple” (NYC)Aphrodite’s Secret (Victoria’s Secret)Hermes gives Hera Flowers (FTD flower company)Main Characters:Funny Thing - Pseudolus: Zero MostelLycus (pimp): Phil SilversSenex (dimwit husband): Michael HordernDomina (wife):Patricia JesselPhilia (kind prostitute): Annette AndreHero (star-crossed son): Michael CrawfordMiles Gloriosus (braggart soldier): Leon GreeneErronius (old neighbor): Buster KeatonHysterium: Jack GilfordGladiator - Maximus - Russell CroweCommodus - Joaquin PhoenixMarcus Aurelius - Richard HarrisLucilla - Connie NeilsenPromixo - Oliver ReedSenator Gracchus - Derek JacobiJuba - Djimon HounsouSenator Falco - David SchofieldThemes/Issues:Gladiator - - Underlying theme is less appealing and audience is worn out- Like Ben-Hur: Focus on man (Maximus) who seeks personal revenge against roman official. Respect for family- Like Spartacus: Features a gladiator who uses skills to fight against corruption/decadence that Rome has come to symbolize- Focus on one male character (Like BH and Spartacus)- Opponent has different values (Messala and Crassus)- Romance (Lucille, Deceased wife)- Focus on ahistorical question: Should empire continue or should the republic be restored?Names, Terms, Etc:Decline of ancient films - Spartacus = last successful roman movie of it’s timeCleopatra (1963)- Most expensive and hyped movie of its time- 1960 filming starts- Elizabeth Taylor (Cleopatra) becomes ill, stop filming- Filming moved to Rome and restarted- Prod. becomes expensive- Offscreen affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Tim Burton creates scandal- Completed in 1964- 4 academy awards- Too long (4 hrs, edited to 3)- Disjointed plot- Commercial failure (made millions but almost bankrupt the studio)Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)- Critically acclaimed - Commercially unsuccessful- Bankrupts producersRise of “Artsy” films about the ancient world and of comedies/satires of the ancient world - 1950s = Serious Roman epics with some comic relief (Batiatus in opening scene of Spartacus)1960s = Rome more increasingly subject to comedy and satire- Not big budget, not aimed at mass audiences, not shown in main theatersExamples of older comedies based on ancient world - The Three Ages (1923)- Parody of intolerance- Traces love through the ages- Argues that love hasn’t changed muchRoman Scandals (1933)- Farce, Satire, Contemporary humor- Argues that ancient world is not far from our ownMatri-phony (Three Stooges, 1942)- 3 stooges help beautiful girl who is desired by evil Roman emperor- Not based on any ancient work, Rome just the settingRoman Legion-Hare (1955)- Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam transport to ancient Rome- Audience follows antics- Not set on any ancient work- Rome is merely just the settingRoman Comedy (background and features)- Flourishes 3rd and 2nd cent. BC- Chief poets: Plautus and Tererile - Prod. at festivals on temporary theaters- Carnival like atmosphere- Plots: romance and mistaken identities- Stock/Stereotypical charactersHenpecked husband (being nagged)Overbearing wifeYoung man in loveGood hearted prostituteBoastful soliderWily slave- Role reversal was a key element and source of comedyFunny thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)- Broadway production in 1962- Unlike other roman movies (based on ancient work of literature of roman comedy)Type of HumorJewish-American Humor- TV/Radio experience- Vaudeville (separate acts grouped together) and burlesque - Pranksters, Tricksters, low-lifes- Marx Bros/Milton Berle- Year one, Split Set, Verbal puns, Sight/Visual gagsAmerican Aspects- Slave desire to be free (not in original roman plays)- Prominent display of female bodies (1960s value - James Bond’s girl, Playboy)- Hollywood parodies/Roman epic parodies (anti-epic)Political satire in broadway play and cinematic versionsParody of “Toga” moviesMonty Python’s


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