Taras Bulba

1962

Action / Adventure / Drama / History / Romance / War

8
IMDb Rating 6.4 10 3

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 30, -0001 at 12:00 AM

Cast

Yul Brynner as Taras Bulba
Tony Curtis as Andrei Bulba
Paul Frees as Narrator
Brad Dexter as Shilo
1080p.BLU
1.85 GB
1920*800
English
Approved
23.976 fps
2 hr 2 min
P/S 0/6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 / 10

"Ride Like A Cossack, Fight Like A Cossack"

Although the famous Nikolai Gogol novel, Taras Bulba, was filmed many times, this version starring Tony Curtis and Yul Brynner is the best known at least in the USA. It's an exciting portrait of 16th century Ukraine under the then powerful kingdom of Poland.

What's strangely muted in this version though is the religious angle. The Poles are Roman Catholic and the Ukranians are Russian Orthodox, it's a very big part of the reason for the resentments shown here yet we never see the religious beliefs portrayed for either group. Not sure why the script didn't include it.

As rulers the Poles hire out the Cossack Ukranians who in today's terminology might be considered a paramilitary outfit to fight off the Ottoman Turks and then turn on them. Yul Brynner as one of the Cossack brigade commanders lops off the right hand of Guy Rolfe, the Polish prince in retribution, but that hardly satisfies. He goes back to the steppes of the Ukraine and awaits a time for some real payback.

In the meantime he fathers two sons, Tony Curtis and Perry Lopez, who both inherit their father's geopolitical views. Brynner sends them off to school in Poland to learn all the Poles know.

While there Curtis falls in love with a Polish princess Christine Kauffman. It's the beginning of his downfall as a Cossack.

In his memoirs Tony Curtis says that Yul Brynner was a strangely aloof character with a sort of self imposed grandeur about him in his manner. But that Taras Bulba was a part he was born to play. I certainly can't visualize anyone else in the role, including Burt Lancaster who originally had the screen rights then gave them to Tony Curtis when he couldn't do the film. Of course Brynner being in the title role might have had some resentments to being second billed to Curtis, but Curtis in fact as a co-producer and he who produces decides billing.

Curtis also mentions that on the Argentine pampas location away from American laws, the long banned 'flying W' was used in the filming of the battle and charge scenes and many horses were killed. He also mentions that with production overrun costs and accountants ripping him and the film company off what started as a three million dollar film became a nine million dollar film and Taras Bulba in theatrical release barely cleared ten million.

However Tony did get a second wife out of the film. Christine Kauffman became the second Mrs. Tony Curtis after the film. Curtis says that Christine did not break him and Janet Leigh up, that things were over before he met here, still that was the common gossip back in the day.

Director J. Lee Thompson made great use of the Argentine pampas standing in for the Ukraine steppes and one does get a feel for the Cossack love of the land the freedom of the wide open spaces. Cossack stories in the Ukraine are just like our American westerns. Those people for all their faults settled and conquered much of what is now Russian Federation.

As a bonus Franz Waxman's musical score which did earn Taras Bulba it's only Academy Award nomination is really quite rousing. We get to hear Yul Brynner sing in this film which is a treat, a Cossack drinking song. And the love theme for Curtis and Kauffman, The Wishing Star, is a very beautiful song that Tony Martin put on an album of film songs he did at the time.

Ukranian Americans loved this particular film for which I can personally attest. I think others will as well.

Reviewed by necrodemion 8 / 10

Amazing such a subject made by Hollywood!

That this classic novel by Gogol about the legendary Ukrainian cossack hero could have been made into a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster, and that this was done at the very height of the cold war seems unbelievable today.

While the film is dated a bit by the kitschy love story involving Tony Curtis' character, Yul Brynner is perfect in his role which seems one of those he was born to play.

A colourful and spectacular historical epic in the best of the then-dying old Hollywood tradition, this is probably the only exposure that the American public at large has to Ukrainian history, and in this alone it is a valuable work. But the film manages to succeed on the entertainment level as well, and I recommend it to all fans of the good ol' Hollywood studio historical drama.

Reviewed by ragosaal 6 / 10

Entertaining (but not in the "pampas")

I've seen the reviews here and a couple of comments set "Taras Bulba"'s location in the Argentine pampas. As a native Argentine I must say that's not correct; the pampas run all through the middle part of our Country but this film was shot in the Province of Salta way up in the northern part of Argentina (some 1400 miles from Buenos Aires); the pampas are a huge flat ground very fertile, but Salta is uneven with not too high hills ("cerros") very different from the pampas. Another reviewer says Tony Curtis declared once that when he and co-star Kristine Kaufmann got mixed up during the filming he was already divorced of Janet Leigh; I don't know about that but I can assure you that Leigh came to Salta with him (a friend of mine has a photo with her on the "cerros").

As to the picture, I really enjoyed it -also because I lived in Salta a couple of years and the landscape is very familiar to me- but I think a real classical epic could have come out of Nicolai Gogol's famous novel with a more elaborated script (as a reviewer correctly stated here).

J. Lee Thompson's product seems sort of "cheap" and lacks spectacle (except for some real good battle scenes) although I admit if has some very good moments. A somehow impressive one is when the big doors of the sieged city open slowly and André (Curtis) appears in a frontal close shot wearing a Polish armor and helmet for he will make a run for food too feed the starving citizens inside in a clear treason to his country and father for the love of a woman. Also the final dark atmosphere Thompson achieves when Taras (Yul Brynner) confronts his favourite son after a treason he can't possibly understand and even less when André just explains "I did what I had to do".

Brynner's performance though a little overacted is good enough and he fills the role of Taras easily. Tony Curtis makes a great effort and gets some good moments as André though he clearly lacks the appropriate "physic du rol". The rest of the cast gives a good support, among them Sam Wanamaker, Brad Dexter, Guy Rolfe and George MacReady. German actress Kristine Kauffman shows her beauty.

All in all "Taras Bulba" comes out as an entertaining and amusing film in its genre and a decent intent on Gogol's book, but no much more than that.

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