Pseudolus is the laziest slave in Rome and has but one wish, to purchase his freedom. When his master and mistress leave for the day he finds out that the young master has fallen in love with a virgin in the house of Lycus, a slave dealer specializing in beautiful women. Pseudolus concocts a deal in which he will be freed if he can procure the girl for young Hero. Of course, it can’t be that simple as everything begins to go wrong.
John Vogel <[email protected]>
User Reviews: Slapstick farce based on a Broadway comedy/musical about some crazy complications when a slave (Zero Mostel) tries to win his freedom in ancient Rome.
The script is OK with some funny lines and sight gags, the girls are all very beautiful (and horribly objectified–but this was done in the 1960s) and the comedians (Mostel, Phil Silvers, Jack Guilford, Buster Keaton) are at their peak…but I didn’t really enjoy this.
For one thing it’s WAY too fast and frentic with director Lester spinning the camera all over the place. In most of his movies this technique works…it doesn’t here. You have some very telented comedians here…they don’t need camera tricks to get the joke across. Often the camera cuts away to something else in the middle of a joke…it gets very annoying and is enough to make you reach for the Dramamine. It got on my nerves a lot…more than once I wished I could reach out and force the cameraman to stay still. Also this movie relies way too much on slapstick–there’s a closing chase sequence that goes on forever and has TONS of it.
Still, I’m giving it a 7 just for the cast alone (what a pleasure it is to see Keaton not doing a beach party movie and Silvers is hysterical) and some very funny parts. Also the opening song and the "maid" song are real treats. So, it’s worth catching on a slow night.