Quo Vadis

I watched the Partridge Family episode “Heartbreak Keith.”  It seemed like punishment dished out to David Cassidy for saying he was going to leave the show, as it showed his character in such an unflattering light.  I kept wondering where they were driving the bus during Ricky’s segment.  I worked an exhausting shift.  I stopped for a slice of pizza.  When I returned home, I watched “Quo Vadis.”  The stars were Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, and Peter Ustinov.  The number of extras who went in front of the cameras was impressive, because it looked like everybody in Rome was in the picture.  I think I would have preferred a version that included Gregory Peck and Elizabeth Taylor in the main roles with John Huston directing.  I have seen too many epics involving Christians, so I didn’t mind seeing them fed to the lions.  Marcus Vinicius didn’t impress me, as Lygia made him change.  He supposedly took a stand against Christianity, along he rather childishly broke a cross in two on his way out.  I think it was funny when he yelled out to the crowd to go into the sewers to save themselves from the fire.  The Peter Ustinov I saw in this movie was unlike the Peter Ustinov I watched for so many years.  He was younger and lighter than I ever remembered.  He played Nero, and being the insane character in the story, he was the most interesting character.  I thought his highlight was giving the thumbs down against the crowd’s wishes.  He played a song as Rome burned, of course, although I thought the song should have been Dwight Twilley’s “I’m on Fire.”  Ursus did do something heroic.  He dealt with the bull in a literal way.  I thought it was fun to watch this movie, but I didn’t like it as much as the “I, Claudius” television series, and I thought “Ben-Hur” overtook this movie for entertainment value, as far as your Biblical epics go.  You can’t beat Charlton Heston in the chariot race.  The crowd was rather scary at the end, because there were so many people storming the building that you thought that they really could tear apart Nero.  Nero’s death was good for the Romans, but not as good for the movie, because he was the one who was giving the story some juice.  It was almost like the villain in “Dirty Harry.”  Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren do show their faces, but the movie would have been better if they had substantial parts, along with Audrey Hepburn.  I liked Deborah Kerr in “From Here to Eternity” and “The King and I.”  I kept looking at her hair.  I wondered if she was still alive, but I read that she died in 2007 at age 86.  Robert Taylor was married to Barbara Stanwyck for twelve years.  He was a man who smoked too much, and he died of lung cancer in 1969, when he was only 57.  Mervyn LeRoy directed “Mister Roberts” and “The Bad Seed” later in the fifties.  Those were movies I liked, too.  “Quo Vadis” is a movie that fades from the memory quickly.  It was a hit in its day, although I wouldn’t say that its title would inspire too many people to rush out and buy a ticket.  It received eight Academy Award nominations but won none.  I saw that the episode of The Quest with Susan Dey was showing on Get TV, and I watched it until the scene where she tried on the blue dress.  Some of the people who died on April 29 include Anthony Mann (1967), Alfred Hitchcock (1980), Mick Ronson (1993), Mike Royko (1997), and Bob Koskins (2014).  Today is a birthday for Michelle Pfeiffer (59), Eve Plumb (59), Daniel Day-Lewis (60), Kate Mulgrew (62), Jerry Seinfeld (63), and Willie Nelson (84).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 29, Bruce Springsteen climbed the wall of Graceland in an attempt to meet Elvis Presley in 1976, but was escorted away by security.  In 1990, 13 people were hospitalized after fans tried to get into a sold-out New Kids on the Block concert in Brighton, England.  In 1992, Paula Abdul and Emilio Estevez were married in Santa Monica.  Today is Bob Miranda’s 75th birthday.

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