THE beautiful Bible story of Esther has been thumped into a crude costume charade in Raoul Walsh's CinemaScope-and-color, Italian-made "Esther and the King."
The best to be said for this chromo, which opened at the Palace yesterday, is that it drives one more spike into the coffin of these synthetic biblical films.
The first half of it, given over to the selection of a wife for the Persian king, is about in a class with the picking of a line of showgirls for a Las Vegas night-club revue. The blondes and brunettes and redheads that are decked out in various arrangements of dacron and chiffon and paraded before a snooty Ahasuerus have all the style and grace and cosmetic glitter of the "clothes horses" on the runway at the Sands.
The second half of the picture, after Joan Collins (Esther) has been tapped to take the place by the side of Richard Egan, who looks about as Persian as an offensive back on the Baltimore Colts, is a sluggish, horse-operatic pretense in which a treacherous Haman is exposed in the marcelled person of Sergio Fantoni and hung on a gibbet for double-crossing the king and the Jews.
The English-speaking acting of an Italo-American cast, under Mr. Walsh's direction, is almost funny, it's so downright bad.
Bosely Crowther, NY Times, November 19, 1960
http://www.filesonic.com/file/40630765/Raoul Walsh - Esther and the King .cd1.avi
http://www.filesonic.com/file/40627303/Raoul Walsh - Esther and the King .cd2.avi