|If Tony Curtis could play a Roman with a Brooklyn accent, I think I could have over-looked that one flaw. |
Well, that of course is the problem. Curtis could not really play a Roman with his Brooklyn accent ("I am Antoninus, singa' of sawngs"). I don't think Kubrick was very happy with the casting, or anything else about Spartacus, and essentially disowned it for the rest of his career.
Stanwyck is one of my favorite Hollywood stars -- a great actress -- but Jean Simmons as Varinia was perfect.
Stanwyck's accent worked for her when she was cast as someone trying to hide it. Preston Sturges made expert use of that in his brilliant comedy The Lady Eve, where she plays a Brooklyn card sharp, jilted by wealthy Henry Fonda. She masquerades as an English Lady -- the Lady Eve -- by speaking in a noticeably phony, upper class, "Received Pronunciation" British accent, in order to seduce Fonda back into marrying her (he's such a fool that he refuses to believe it's the same gal he jilted earlier). If you don't know this Stanwyck classic, I envy your seeing it for the first time. Brilliant writing, directing, and casting.