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Spartacus is introduced in a patient montage of stone headdresses and busts. The faces are judicious, experienced, and silent behind the titles. The background is empty, and each sculpture is lit coolly in a blue or violet. Kubrick’s director’s credit arrives and the pace becomes urgent. The final statue crumbles partially, and the view zooms forward into its open eye.
Strewn with these icons of Roman perseverance, Bass’ sequence for Spartacus is doubly representative of prowess and demise; the statues are pensive and respected, yet significantly (forwarded in the final headdress) faulted. The sequence denotes experience and temporary prestige.