Esther and the King (December 14, 1960)
Released on December 14, 1960: (running time 1 hour and 49 minutes) A young Judean maiden becomes Queen of Persia while the King's chief counsel plots to kill the King and his new Queen.
Produced by Raoul Walsh
Directed by Raoul Walsh
Written by Raoul Walsh, Michael Elkins and Ennio De Concini
The Actors: Joan Collins (Esther), Richard Egan (King Ahasuerus), Denis O'Dea (Lord Mordecai), Sergio Fantoni (Prince Haman), Rik Battaglia (Simon), Renato Baldini (General Klydrathes), Gabriele Tinti (Samuel), Rosalba Neri (Keresh), Robert Buchanan (Hegai the Eunich), Daniela Rocca (Queen Vashti), Folco Lulli (Tobiah), Ombretta Ostenda (unknown), Aldo Pini (Captain of the Guards), Italo Tancredi (Gisco)
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Braun, Beauty, Death, Deception and Destruction
Papa was a preacher, and I spent much of my youth in Sunday School and church services learning the stories of the Bible . . . and I've gotta tell ya . . . Although I remember the story of Esther and the King from those youthful days I never realized how exciting and perilous the story was and how much danger and drama the ancient peoples had.
None of the Sunday school lessons I can remember included the great beauty of the women or the rugged handsome men who fought, lied, deceived and killed each other in their search for greatness. I still remember one particular Sunday school class where the story of Daniel was taught to us, and although I do not remember what the teacher said, I do remember what I heard.
While the King and his men ate the richest foods of cake, chocolate and the like, Daniel only ate vegetables and meat and fruits, and became stronger and mightier than all of the King's men. From that day to this I honestly enjoy vegetables and fruits much more than cake or sweets . . . yet . . . sigh . . . alas . . . I never got a body like the buff, rugged men in this tale . . . maybe I missed something.
Anyway . . . the King of Persia has a Queen who is sleeping with Prince Haman while the King is out battling the world. Upon the King's return he discovers that his Queen has been unfaithful, but cannot discover that his second in command is the man who was sleeping with his wife. When the cheating Prince Haman discovers that the King knows about the Queen's adultery he has the Queen killed in fear that she might tell the King who her lover was.
Now the King needs a new Queen, and his unfaithful Prince wants one of his concubines to become the new Queen, so that he can have power over the King and one day kill him. This leads to that, and virgin Esther, at the marriage altar with her childhood sweetheart, is taken by force by the King's men as they scoop up every young maiden in the land to present before the King. Young and beautiful Esther is not one of the maidens put on display for the King, but she finds herself on her way to become a slave whore to the armies of Persia, and it doesn't look like there is a chance in the world that she will escape this dastardly destination, thanks to the scoundrel of the Kingdom. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.
Joan Collins as Esther
Daniela Rocca prepares for the King
Dennis O'Dea and Richard Egan
Joan Collins and Denis O'Dea
Richard Egan as the King
Rik Battaglia and Joan Collins
Rik Battaglia and Richard Egan
Rik Battaglia and Joan Collins
Robert Buchanan and Joan Collins
Sergio Fantoni and Renato Baldini
Sergio Fantoni and Richard Egan
Sergio Fantoni and Rosalba Neri
Italo Tancredi and Sergio Fantoni