SPARTACUS: A couple of Peeping Toms — Peter Ustinov as an arena impresario, Charles McGraw as a sadistic trainer of gladiators — arc among the interesting characters who inject spice as well as spectacle into this big-budget “epic.” In the title role, Kirk Douglas bravely leads a foredoomed revolt of slaves against their Roman oppressors in the first century before Christ. Sir Laurence Olivier memorably portrays a subtle, ruthless aristocrat who vows to destroy the gladiatorial army. With Jean Simmons. Charles Laughton. Tony Curtis and the usual “cast of thousands,” all performing plausibly under young Stanley Kubrick’s alert direction.
BUYI’FRFIFLD 8: An early novel by John O’Hara, considerably altered in transition, inspired this steamy soap-opera about a tragic Manhattan playgirl (Elizabeth Taylor) and her ugly amours. Laurence Harvey and Eddie Fisher are two of the men in her life. Rating: fair.
THE ENTERTAINER: Turning with ease from the scented tub of a Roman blueblood to the squalid digs of an unsuccessful music-hall comedian in presentday England. Sir Laurence Olivier etches another remarkable characterization in the screen version of John Osborne’s play. Customers who expect all British films to be either sunny or funny will get a nasty jolt, but Olivier’s Archie Rice is a brilliant exploit.
MIDNIGHT FACE: Doris Day’s frenzies often seem overdrawn in this handsome suspense yarn about an American woman in London whose safety is threatened in a series of mysterious telephone calls. The solution, though ingenious, doesn't stand up under analysis. With Rex Harrison, John Gavin, Myrna Loy.
IHE SAVAGE INNOCENTS: Hollywood's Anthony Quinn is the primitive hero in a drama, beautifully photographed but sometimes ludicrous in style, about Eskimo life in the Far North. Ihe pidgin-Biblical dialogue undermines the seriousness of the story.
SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON: 'I he famous 1813 novel by Johann Wyss has been turned into a fine adventure film under Walt Disney’s supervision, although purists may resent the way the original narrative has been souped up with pirates and other innovations. John Mills and Dorothy McGuire are the sturdy parents, shipwrecked with their children and pets on a tropical island.
WHERE IHE HOI WIND BLOW'S: Gina Lollobrigida is as sexy as ever but her deficiencies as an actress are cruelly exposed in this heavy-handed Franco-Italian melodrama. A civil engineer (Marcello Mastroianni) and an uncivil gangster (Yves Montand) are among the males she agitates.
GILMOUR’S GUIDE TO THE CURRENT CROP
The Angel Wore Red: Melodrama. Poor. The Angr.v Silence: Drama. Good.
The Apartment: Romantic comedy-drama. Excellent.
As Ihe Sea Rages: Melodrama. Poor. Bells Are Ringing: Comedy. Good.
Cone of Silence: Suspense. Good.
The Crowded Sky: Aviation drama. Fair. Desire in the Dust: Drama. Fair.
The Eighth Day of the Week: Polish drama. Good.
Elmer Gantry: Comedy-drama. Excellent. High lime: Campus comedy. Poor.
House of Usher: Horror. Good.
I Aim at the Stars: Drama. Good.
Inherit the Wind: Courtroom drama. Good.
Jungle Cat: W ildlife actuality. Good. Let’s Make Love: Comedy. Good.
The Night Fighters: Irish drama. Fair. Please Turn Over: Comedy. Fair.
Psycho: Hitchcock horror. Good.
Royal Ballet: Dance documentary. Good. Song Without End: Biog musical. Good. Sunrise at Campobello: FDR biog drama. Excellent.
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