Blood and Sand

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Any of you been watching Starz’s series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand?

It’s kind of rekindled my interest in the man, and I’m reading Howard Fast’s novel and wondering what I did with my copy of the 1960 Kirk Douglas movie based on that book.

As some of you know, Howard was familiar with the story of Spartacus. In his poem, “A Son of Spartacus” he opens with a line from Reverend Elijah Kellogg’s “Spartacus to the Gladiators” speech. In Almuric you can also hear the echoes of this speech.

As someone who grew up in the age of the Comics Code, when censors suppressed Captain Kirk every time he tried to open-mouth kiss an alien girl, it’s kind of startling how much nudity, sex, violence, gore and profanity they cram into each episode. The storyline is interesting, though they’ve totally recreated Spartacus’s origin from previous versions. Although historians differ, it seems their version is more accurate than Fast’s, who has him born into slavery.

Owner of the gladiator school Batiatus is played by John Hannah, from the Mummy movies, and former warrior princess Lucy Loveless plays his scheming sexy wife. Those who want to see Xena naked are prettty much in luck. The other members of the cast are unknown to me, except for Peter Mensah, who was in 300 and Hidalgo. He plays Batiataus’ trainer.
But the acting is good.

Speaking of 300, it seems every fight is inspired by the 300 style; slow/stop/fast followed by a burst of blood, even if the blow struck would not really have produced much blood. It’s like they think 300 is the best movie ever. But I think it’s an enjoyable series so far, though I feel like a decadent Roman while watching it.