The death of Marcus Aurelius leads to a succession crisis, in which the deceased emperor’s son, Commodus, demonstrates that he is unwilling to let anything undermine his claim to the Roman Empire.
“If these sets cost a fortune they pay off in stunning camera angles.” reads an early review of the 1964 film The Fall of the Roman Empire. Indeed, the film included the largest outdoor film set in the history of film. With an all-star cast including Alec Guinness, Christopher Plummer, and Sophia Loren, the film was a financial flop, but a worthy spectacle.
Fun fact: After much of the set was pulled down, the remaining sections were reused in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966).
The Fall of the Roman Empire is showing in 35mm as part of our 70mm and WideScreen Fest.