A disaster upon its original release, Howard Hawks' CinemaScope epic is actually a pretty entertaining melodrama. A lavishly designed visual spectacle with a compelling, fast-paced plot (co-written by William Faulkner) and a great boisterous score by Dimitri Tiomkin. There are a number of overheated moments and performances, but somehow that's all part of its bloated pulp charm. Underrated.
Howard Hawks could handle any genre that was thrown at him and this film is no exception, it's not a comedy, western, or gangster picture but instead a historical epic with all those elements and a modern feel but still entertaining nonetheless.
Kitsch and camp in all their glory. Irresistible Joan Collins as the beautiful evil queen. The actors are a slightly out of place, but I guess improbable casting for 'sword and sandals' films is one key aspect of the genre.
However, there are many compelling and impressive moments, particularly the crowd scenes, and Hawks manages to make sense of all the disparate elements and give a genuine spectacle.