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his fictionalized account of the city of Pompeii and its epic destruction, based on the 1834 novel, is a fascinating look at the historical city circa the birth of Christianity and the culture of those who lived in the Roman Empire of the time. This mini-series is filled with a rich cast of characters who depict the clashes of class, politics, sex, and religion in Pompeii thought by some to have been catalysts for the citys destruction. Ned Beatty (Deliverance) stars as the wealthy merchant Diomed, whose ambition is to climb beyond his status through politics and a well-made match for his daughter. Lesley-Anne Down (TVs Dallas and North and South) is Chloe, a prostitute with a young child, who is one of the growing congregation of Christians following the priest Olinthus (Brian Blessed, Hamlet) in his secret masses, hidden from the persecuting Romans and their magistrate, Quintus (Anthony Quayle, The Guns of Navarone). Olivia Hussey (Romeo and Juliet) plays Ione, the priestess of the temple whosebeauty attracts both the cunningly evil Arbaces (Franco Nero, Camelot) and the just Athenian, Glaucus (Nicholas Clay, Excalibur). Ernest Borgnine plays Marcus a former slave and gladiator who trains and provides wise counsel to the men who must killor be killed, including Lydon (Duncan Regehr, TV's The Blue and the Gray), who yearns to be free and purchase freedom for his father and Nydia (Linda Purl, TV's Matlock), a beautiful blind slave girl. Not to be overlooked is Laurence Olivier himself,who portrays the broken, embittered Gaius, who overlooks Pompeii at a Zeusian distance and alone knows its secret evils.

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CO43368 Last Days of Pompeii DVD (1984/Ned Beatty) $14.99 $13.49