For the underappreciated screen treasures you love

Holds a special memory for me - The Agony and The Ecstasy

  • Nov 5, 2011
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What's the film about?  The story of the painting of the Sistine Chapel find Charlton Heston playing yet another iconic historic figure, Michelangelo.   The story is based on the novel by Irving Stone the story follows the life of Michelangelo and his concludes with his painting of the Sistine Chapel.


Who was the classic actor/actress?  
Charlton Heston plays Michelangelo and Rex Harrison plays Pope Julius II.   Were they lovers?   Did they hate each other?  Its hard to tell from the movie.  Read the novel for the full story.   But watch the movie for the fun of watching Heston and Harrison chew the scenery and over act in such a joyous way its fun to watch.


Why did you choose this film?  
The movie is not great by any means.  It was never popular with the critics and was never a box office success.  Yet it hold a special memory for me.  My eighth grade art class took a field trip from our tiny little school in rural north eastern Maryland to the big city of Baltimore in 1965 to see this movie.  We went to the Mayfair Theatrt, one of those huge classic movie houses of the time.  Even a minor film looked wonderful on the huge screen here.  It was such a thrill to be able to go the city and see this movie.  I now live in Baltimore.  The classic theater The Mayflower is in ruins.  The outer walls remain but the movie house itself is all but gone.  But when I drive past the theater today I still have that memory of being an eighth grade boy seeing Charlton and Rex on the big screen capturing my imagination.


What's the bottom line?
A film that took itself way to serious and tried to be far better that it was, The Agony and The Ecstasy is still a fun film to watch even today.  Make some popcorn, get a cold soda and escape for a couple of hours and enjoy one of those big overblown 1960's Hollywood epics.


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More The Agony and the Ecstasy reviews
review by . January 02, 2009
This fictionalized account of the painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling focuses on the battle of wills between the artist, Michelangelo (Charlton Heston), and his patron, Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison). As the story opens, Michelangelo, already an established sculptor, is commissioned by the warrior Pope to decorate his ceiling. Michelangelo doesn't want to do it, preferring to concentrate on the 40 statues intended for Julius' tomb. But the Pope wins that battle, the first of many, for the two …
About the reviewer
Larry Sampson ()
I am a retired Federal employee. I worked for 34 years for the Civil Service. When I retired I was working at The Library of Congress in Washington DC. I was able to retire at a somewhat young age of … more
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