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The 300 Spartans original film

The300Spartans.jpgThe 300 Spartans is the film that inspired Frank Miller to write the 300 graphic novel and although I don't review films I watch on telly, it's worth talking about The 300 Spartans.

One thing is clear, if people are upset about the portrayal of the Persian empire in 300 (Fillmstalker review) they're trying to bolt the stable door after the horse has bolted and raised a family in the hills and passed on. 300 carries the same messages as the Frank Miller story, which in turn carries the same messages as the original 1962 film The 300 Spartans, so why wasn't there an outcry then?

Anyway, that aside, all the stories are incredibly similar and some of the scenes and plot twists match between them, indeed that line about the arrows is in the original film:

"Our arrows will blot out the sun"

"Then we shall fight in the shade"

What Miller has done is take this film and ramp up the heroic aspects of the Spartans, play down the politics of Greece, and make the battle scenes something truly spectacular.

The battles scenes are very dated, but they are superbly pulled together considering the effects and the technicalities of filming huge battle scenes in these days. The betrayal is more complex in the original, and this has been slightly simplified. What is interesting is how smaller Xerxes is portrayed, he seems much weaker and also much more controlling and dictator like.

Yet for these changes I can only say that the film has been made much stronger, and much more into the realms of entertainment, although it still stays very close to the original story.

Directed by Rudolph Maté, the original film stars Richard Egan as a strong King Leonidas and a fair few other stars to boot. Although it carries some typically sword and sandal moments that were in films of that time, it does get across the heroic aspects of the Spartans, but here there's more to the feeling of a unified Greece and that these acts would bring Greece together.

If you like these older type of films, and enjoyed 300, then seeing the original tale that inspired Miller is well worth it.



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