ANASTASIA
1956, 20th Century Fox, 105 min, USA, Dir: Anatole Litvak

Ingrid Bergman’s return to Hollywood brought her a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the title role of this intriguing historical drama. Among the first casualties of the 1917 Russian Revolution were Tsar Nicholas II and his family, though rumors persisted for years that daughter Anastasia had escaped execution. With a £10 million inheritance on the line, General Bounine (Yul Brynner) grooms a mysterious young woman (Bergman) to play Anastasia, but the more time he spends with her, the more he begins to suspect she’s the real thing. Helen Hayes is wonderful as the dowager Empress who will decide the claim.


THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
1960, Park Circus/MGM, 128 min, USA, Dir: John Sturges

Excellent, Americanized version of the Akira Kurosawa classic THE SEVEN SAMURAI, helmed by noted action auteur John Sturges (THE GREAT ESCAPE, BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK), with charismatic Steve McQueen making his first star turn alongside Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter and Horst Buchholz as gunmen hired to safeguard a Mexican farm village from marauding bandit chieftain Eli Wallach. With an instantly memorable Elmer Bernstein score, which inspired everything from future Westerns to cigarette commercials (!) for decades to come.


THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
1956, Paramount, 220 min, USA, Dir: Cecil B. De Mille

"Let his name be stricken from every pillar and obelisk!" orders imperious pharaoh Yul Brynner, as favored son-turned-religious rebel Charlton Heston prepares to lead his people out of bondage in Egypt. Cecil B. De Mille’s glorious remake of his earlier 1923 TEN COMMANDMENTS emphasized the colossal spectacle of the biblical epic, but never downplayed the tremendous human emotions at the core of the story. (Look for Heston’s then-3-month-old son Fraser as the baby Moses in the bulrushes!) With Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, Debra Paget, John Derek, Nina Foch and Vincent Price, and featuring striking VistaVision cinematography by Loyal Griggs (SHANE).


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