Fabiola, the unpleasant daughter of a Roman aristocrat, whips a Christian slave after he declines to take part in a battling match. Ultimately, she falls in love with the same servant, and becomes involved in an effort to save Christians from maltreatment
One of the biggest money making Sword & Sandal movies.
Actor Burt Nelson's real name is Rafael Rivelles. He plays the part of Rutilio. There are too many inconsistencies to make this movie enjoyable. The Christians fight for their freedom and when they are about to win the battle, they lay down their weapons.
Not totally Revolting!
This is the kind of film , as a theatrical designer, I fast forward through to see if it's visually worth looking at--- I should say, I will watch a film no matter HOW BAD it is, if the sets and costumes look interesting ( and this is NOT a great film)--BUT--- This film is OUTSTANDING visually for it's over-the-top costume and set design (God, those Italians know HOW to do it RIGHT!) It was made in the, shall I say, "Golden Age of Sword & Sandal Epics" from the mid 50's to early 60's-all with bad scripts, bad overacting, bad dubbing, battle scenes-usually with someone revolting against a tyrant, some has-been American actors, lots of muscle guys and busty babes!--get the picture? Rhonda Fleming was one of the most gorgeous American actresses and looks fantastic in these luscious costumes and hairdos- 6 out of 10 just for the EYE-CANDY!
Halfway between "Ben-Hur" and "Hercules"
Those Biblical "epics" of the 1950's and early 1960's usually fell into two categories. There were the lavish, big-studio productions such as "Quo Vadis" and "The Robe" and then there were the lesser, sword-and-sandal productions exemplified by the "Hercules" movies.
"Revolt of the Slaves" is one of the few productions to fall in between these two categories. It has the big-budget look of a Hollywood spectacle -- sharp wide-screen photography, handsome sets and costumes, etc. -- coupled with the kind of script and direction more closely identified with those made-in-Italy mini-epics.
Even the star of the show, Rhonda Fleming, is something of an "in-betweener." She's not quite up in the Deborah Kerr or Jean Simmons league but she's clearly a notch above, say, Sylva Koscina. Unfortunately, she's about ten years too old to be playing this part, especially since she's matched with an obviously-younger Lang Jeffries. (Though about to be married in real life, there's not much on-screen chemistry between these two.)
As is often the case with these pious-Christians-vs-pagan-Romans affairs, the plot works best when it's content to be an adventure or a romance but turns stilted and even a bit cloying when the religious angle is stressed.
One item of note: the scene early in the movie when slave-boy Lang Jeffries is whipped across his bare chest is unusually well-staged, especially in terms of the physical relationship between the whipper, the whippee, and the camera. Seeing this scene on TV without the benefit of letter-boxing will not do it justice. (It ranks 2nd in the book "Lash! The Hundred Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies.") Jeffries also feels the sting of a whip in "Alone Against Rome" but this time on his bare back, thus making him one of the few actors in screen history to be flogged on both sides of his torso.
Revolt of the Zombies
I could never quite put my finger on what seemed ''off'' about the acting in Christian persecution films (usually disguised as sword-and-sandal movies). Any time they're talking about Jeevus or attending mass in the catacombs or looking up to the skies to be saved from some calamity, the characters always look zonked out, like their eyes are open by no lights are on in their brain pans ., They all walk around in their state, barely showing any human emotion, pledging their affinity for some fairy tale being. How is that different from zombies, barely showing any human emotion, looking for brains to eat? Watch Quo Vadis, Ben-Hur, The Robe, Barabbas. They're all zombies wearing loin clothes. You read it here first.
Typical Chistian persecution film
The Revolt of the Slaves can be enjoyed by those 14 and older. The movie provides light entertainment with little thought. The Revolt of the Slaves does command your attention by its picturesque sets and wonderful costuming. The movie contains enough sword fighting and wrestling matches to keep you interested. The Revolt of the Slaves moves quickly. You go from fighting scenes to beautiful peaceful scenes where there are plenty of beautiful women to keep keep you looking for more. The musical scores in this film come at dramatic times. This is a typical Christian persecution film. Pass the popcorn and soda to enjoy a night of film. I give it four thumbs up.
Sex And Gospel
Rhonda Fleming would shortly be ending her big screen career and would henceforth do roles mostly for television. I'm sure that Revolt Of The Slaves might have had a lot to do with that decision. It was a project of her's and the man whom she would soon marry, Lang Jeffries.
This is a Christian martyr film along the lines of The Sign Of The Cross and Quo Vadis. But Fleming's film takes place much later than the early Empire years of those classics. She plays Fabiola who in real life had an interesting story to tell, but this isn't it.
Nor for that matter are the stories of Sebastian and Agnes two other noted martyrs. The lives of Fabiola, Sebastian, and Agnes inter lap chronologically, but they apparently never knew each other unlike how The Revolt Of The Slaves tells the tale.
Jeffries plays Vibio a Christian slave who Fleming takes one look at stripped down and in the true DeMille tradition of sex and gospel falls for him. But Vibio missed the course in turning the other cheek. He's going to fight for his fellow believers in the way he was trained as a gladiator.
One fascinating bit of history that I will have to look up and change my review if it is correct, but this is the only Peplum film I've seen that has the Romans using black African mercenaries. Emperor Massimiano played by Dario Moreno apparently doesn't trust his Roman Guards and he's got a private army of black guards whom he uses for things like suppressing the heresy of Christianity.
They have a white commander, a sniveling little ferret of a human being played by Serge Gainsbourg. He has a death scene to beat all and I won't say another word. You should see Revolt Of The Slaves for that alone.
Revolt of the Slaves
This is a typical "sword and sandal" so called "epic" of the early 1960s when these roman rebellion movies were being churned out by the tons by Italian producers. Steve (Mr. Hercules himself) Reeves got this sword and sandal stuff going with his movies "Hercules" and "Hercules Unchained"....to great and smashing box office success. Italian producers then on skimpy budgets hired cheap Italian actors and actresses occasionally thrown in with an American star, such as in this film with Rhonda Fleming to improve the box office. The movies were always about a city of people oppressed by the ruling clan and usually had a well muscled down actor to lead the people in a revolt. In this film, Lang Jeffries lacks the physique of Steve Reeves or Mark Forrest, but does an admirable job as the leader of a band of slaves....he leads them on a rebellion to stop persecution by Roman rulers...along the way a love/hate relationship develops between Fleming and Jeffries....and yes they fall in love. Typical of the sword and sandal movies, evil rulers, mean soldiers, whippings, and a slave revolt. If you like the peplum you will like this film.
Vibio saves the day but ruins the movie
Revolt of the Slaves is loosely based on a famous novel called Fabiola written by Cardinal Wiseman in the 1850s. It strays drastically from the original story, keeping some of the same characters (in particular the martyrs Sebastian and Agnes), and some of the same scenes, but downplaying martyrdom as a whole, and trying to make a movie that could be called "Vibio saves the Christians." The "Vibio" character is not part of the Fabiola story. He is introduced as a slave who is also a Christian, but he isn't about to be a martyr. He rescues Christians a number of times throughout the movie. Action scenes are everywhere in this movie, and every one of them is added--none are from the book.
I loved the book Fabiola, and I found this to be a deconstruction of it, not only in story but in philosophy. The screenwriters had some sympathy for the Christians, and portrayed them somewhat positively, but wanted to make them safe and happy in this world. If you know anything about the Diocletian persecution, Christians were anything but safe in those days. Faith is present in some of the characters, and it comes in handy, but physical combat seems to be the preferred mode of doing business. This movie had potential, but it was just Hercules vs. the pagan Romans.
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