Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summer Under the Stars: Yul Brynner in Kings of the Sun (1963)

My post on TCM's Movie Morlocks this week tips my hat at a previously neglected movie that I've only recently discovered. It may not be an intellectually challenging movie, designed to alter your life in some way, but it certainly was an enjoyable flick for the end of Summer. Here's the beginning of the blog:

If, like the rest of us peasants, you can't get enough of ambitious movies set in Mesoamerican times, you might want to check out Mel Gibson's Apocalypto (2006). I've tried to watch that recent movie about three times now, but somewhere around the time that the words "I am Jaguar Paw. This is my forest. And I am not afraid" are spoken, I tend to nod off, even when these lines are spoken in the Yucatec Mayan language. My excessive snoring is the only thing that kept waking me up as Mr. Gibson's earnest attempt to dramatize the decline of Mayan civilization unfolded into the expected gore-filled spectacle. But enough of those stabs at historical accuracy in the movies--give me an engrossing, epic-sized if ill-conceived distortion to get me through the dog days of summer.

Happily, I'm here to report that no attacks of narcolepsy occurred while discovering the utterly delightful, nearly unknown Yul Brynner movie, Kings of the Sun (1963) recently. That 108 minute movie, shot in richly textured hues of De Luxe Color, is one of those being aired today, August 26th at 1:30PM EDT on TCM as part of Yul's moment in the Summer Under the Stars annual August event. An audacious movie--befitting an American financed re-imagining of the rise of a hypothetical ancient Mayan culture—was crafted with enormous professionalism in every frame, from the gorgeous cinematography of Joseph MacDonald to the rousing score from Elmer Bernstein and a cast of Oscar honorees and an industrious troupe of artists and craftsmen. The only problem is the script, darn it!...more

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If you are as foolish as the author about "Bad Movies You Love" please feel free to view more entries in this series of blog postings here.

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