Friday, July 27, 2007

He Made an End When He Was Finished

The gripping story of Michelangelo's pain and triumph.

Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison portray two of the Renaissance's most colorful figures in this historical drama based on Irving Stone's best-seller. When Pope Julius ll (Harrison) commissions Michelangelo (Heston) to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the artist initially refuses. Virtually forced to do the job by Julius, he later destroys his own work and flees to Rome. Nominated for an Oscar® Cinematography and named one of the year's best films by the National Board of Review, The Agony And The Ecstasy is a fascinating dramatization of the battle of wills behind one of the world's artistic masterpieces.

Title: The Agony and the Ecstasy
Release: October 7, 1965
Genre: Drama- History
MPAA Rating: PG
Based On: The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
Writer: Philip Dunne & Carol Reed
Director: Carol Reed
Music By: Alex North, Jerry Goldsmith & Alex North
Produced By: Carol Reed
Distributed By: Twentieth Century Fox
Run Time: 138 minutes

The Agony and the Ecstasy is a very pretty biographic film of Michelangelo’s life and the famous Sistine Chapel ceiling (there is also a long prologue of his other famous works at the beginning of the movie in "present day"). There are of course inaccuracies but only to the people who know the story of the Chapel and the man that painted it.

I have to agree with Rex Harrison on the fact that this is my least favourite of his films (he claimed he disliked it in his autobiography A Damned Serious Business). I mean, I liked the film and Charlton Heston is a great Michelangelo, but the part of Pope Julius II could have been played by just about anyone and you wouldn’t notice much of a difference. The part doesn’t have the wonderful Harrison charisma that I expect from his movies.

My biggest complaint is that Agony and Ecstasy is way too long but it is a good history-based piece that was nominated for five Oscars, including unsurprisingly Best Art Direction, Set-Direction and Best Cinematography. The movie leaves you wanting to learn more about Michelangelo and his works (I would love to see the Sistine Chapel ceiling in person one day) so it’s not a complete waste of time but I still will probably never watch it again.

~ The only bonus features on the DVD are a Restoration Comparison and a bunch of trailers, including one for the actual film but the color and sound are gorgeous.

Find The Agony and the Ecstasy Online


Related Reviews
Rex Harrison-Pope Julius II
A Damned Serious Business: My Life in Comedy by Rex Harrison
Night Train to Munich (1940)- Gus Bennett/ Dickie Randall
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)- Capt. Daniel Gregg
Cleopatra (1963)- Julius Caesar
My Fair Lady (1964)- Professor Henry Higgins
Doctor Dolittle (1967)- Dr. John Dolittle
Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986)- Grand Duke Cyril Romanov

1 comment:

  1. The movie may be long, but the book is huge, too! :-) I wonder how closely the movie stuck to it?




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