Ben-Hur

Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) is a Jewish prince in Jerusalem. He lives with his mother (Martha Scott) and sister Tirzah (Cathy O’Donnell), and has a good relationship with his slaves, including Simonides (Sam Jaffe) and his daughter Esther (Haya Harareet), whom it is obvious from the start will have some kind of romantic relationship with Ben, because she’s pretty. A childhood friend of Ben’s, Messala (Stephen Boyd) has returned home to be the new commander of the town, and wants Ben’s help to get the rebelling Jewish faction in line. Ben-Hur chooses his faith and his people’s freedom over his former friendship, so he and Messala become enemies. When Tirzah accidentally knocks some loose roof tiles and injures Judea’s new governor, she, Ben-Hur and their mother are locked up. Ben works on the slave ships, whilst his family are imprisoned in the dungeons. He then devotes his life to finding his way back to free his family, and enact his vengeance upon Messala.
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Planet of the Apes (1968)

In the year 1972, four astronauts are deep in space, on a mission of discovery. They awake from suspended animation to find that one of their crew is dead and their ship has landed on an unfamiliar planet, and is rapidly sinking into a body of water. After making a quick escape with as much equipment as they can carry, the three survivors must find a way to survive, something made much more difficult by the planet’s native population.

Recently we recorded an episode of the Lambcast all about the original Planet of the Apes movies, from 1968’s Planet through to 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes. I’d never seen any of the films before, so I was especially looking forward to the show, as I’ve now seen them all. They vary from the excellent (this one) to the dismal (Battle), the thought-provoking (Escape from the Planet of the Apes) to bat-shit insane (Beneath the Planet of the Apes), and you can listen to the discussion we had about them all here. As it happens, Planet of the Apes is also on the 1001 Movies list, and is widely regarded as a classic, so I’m selecting it as my Blind Spot pick for this month. Continue reading

Hamlet

There are some films on the List that I’ve no idea when I’ll get to them. These films fall into three categories – the ones I absolutely adore but have no clue how I’ll even start writing about them, the ones I desperately do not want to watch (but am too much of an anal completist to ignore) and the really long ones. This four-hour-plus cut of Hamlet obviously falls into the latter, but fortunately for me, my girlfriend opted for Kate Winslet as her Film-Maker of choice, and seeing as I’ve reached that point in Winslet’s career in which she appeared in Hamlet as Ophelia, I can cross off Kenneth Branagh’s opus from the Empire 5-Star 500. As for the unspeakable films I don’t want to see, whenever LoveFilm drop Salo through my letterbox it shall not be a good day, though I could pull an In The Realm Of The Senses and bottle it when I’ve taken as much as I can stand.
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