After deciding to take a new wife from within his kingdom, Persian King Ahasuerus (Richard Egan) selects Jewish slave Esther (Joan Collins) from a group of beautiful women. As the new Queen of Persia, Esther works tirelessly to have the king protect the Jewish people. Directed by Raoul Walsh and Mario Bava, this biblical drama also stars Sergio Fantoni, Denis O’Dea, Rik Battaglia, and Renato Baldini.
Raoul Walsh’s 52-year directorial career made him a Hollywood legend, and the slam-band nature of his best films means that he is still remembered while the memory of Allan Dwan, a director with an equally long career, has practically faded from public consciousness. Walsh was also an actor: He appeared in the first version of W. Somerset Maugham’s Rain renamed Sadie Thompson (1928) opposite Gloria Swanson in the title role. He would have played the Cisco Kid in his own film In Old Arizona (1928) if an errant jackrabbit hadn’t cost him his right eye by leaping through the windshield of his automobile. Warner Baxter filled the role and won an Oscar. Before John Ford and Nicholas Ray, it was Raoul Walsh who made the eye-patch almost as synonymous with a Hollywood director as Cecil B. DeMille’s jodhpurs.
He interned with the best, serving as assistant director and editor on D.W. Griffith’s racist masterpiece, The Clansman, better known as read more
Mario Bava was born in Sanremo, Liguria, Italy. The son of Eugenio Bava, a sculptor who became a pioneer of special effects photography and subsequently one of the great cameramen of Italian silent pictures, Mario Bava’s first ambition was to become a painter. Unable to turn out paintings at a profitable rate, he went into his father’s business, working as an assistant to other Italian cinematographers like Massimo Terzano, while also offering assistance to his father who headed the special effects department at Benito Mussolini’s film factory, the Instituto LUCE.
Bava became a cinematographer in his own right in 1939, shooting two short films with Roberto Rossellini. He made his feature debut in the early 1940s. Bava’s camerawork was an instrumental factor in developing the screen personas of such stars of the period as Gina Lollobrigida, Steve Reeves and Aldo Fabrizi.
Bava co-directed his first genre film in 1958: Le morte viene dallo spazio (The Day the Sky Exploded… read more