Of the cinema personalities who have passed on recently and to whom I’ve posted tributes on this blog, nearly all have been people I’ve watched in at least a few films each. People (like Eleanor Parker, who for years I knew only as the Baroness from The Sound of Music) whom I may not initially have been utterly enamoured of, but whom I’ve grown to like and admire after having watched them in numerous roles. Joan Fontaine, Peter O’Toole, Suchitra Sen…
The Austrian-born Maximilian Schell (December 8, 1930-February 1, 2014) is the exception, because this is one actor whom I’ve seen—before I watched Topkapi—in only one role: as the earnest young lawyer in Judgment at Nuremberg. Just one performance (an Oscar-winning one), mind you, and that was enough to make me a Max Schell fan. Enough of a fan to mourn his passing.
For Easter, it seemed appropriate to rewatch (and, subsequently, review) a film with a biblical touch to it. I could’ve opted for The Robe or the superb Ben Hur, but decided instead on Quo Vadis—partly because it’s been a while since I saw the film. And also, perhaps, because it stars two people who are just such a feast for the eyes: Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr. As if that wasn’t enough reason, Quo Vadis also boasts of a brilliant performance by Peter Ustinov.
If you have a quick look through the rest of my posts, you’ll notice I have a particular style when I review a film. I typically begin with an introduction—what made this film special for me, why I wanted to see it, and so on—and then I go on to a brief synopsis of the plot. Not a blow-by-blow account, and not giving away the climax, but enough to present a broad enough picture of what the story’s all about.