It's always fun when a classic and contemporary pop culture collide. Such is the case with the 1960 Stanley Kubrick classic, Spartacus, which the Kentucky Theater shows at 1:30 and 7:15 p.m. Wednesday as part of its Summer Classics series.
In one of the iconic scenes, when Roman soldier Crassus, played by Laurence Olivier, promises the survivors in a defeated rebel army they will be spared if they identify Spartacus, played by Kirk Douglas, each soldier rises one by one by one and says, "I'm Spartacus."
The scene has been recently cited as one of the inspirations for supporters of presumptive Democratic Party Presidential nominee Barack Obama who have taken Obama's middle name of Hussein as their own to protest people who have used the name to demonize the candidate.
Spartacus screenwriter Dalton Trumbo has also been back in popular consciousness lately with the documentary Trumbo. The film recalls how Trumbo was one of Hollywood's premier screenwriters before he was blacklisted in the mid-20th Century communist witch hunts. Trumbo, who was a member of the Communist Party, was arrested for contempt of Congress for refusing cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee when he and nine other writers and directors were called to testify about communist influence in Hollywood. He served an 11-month sentence at the federal penitentiary in Ashland in 1950.
In 1960, Trumbo became the writer who broke the blacklist by receiving screen credit for penning the scripts to Exodus and Spartacus. The "I'm Spartacus" scene was regarded as a comment on people who named names during the communist witch hunts.
That is one of several memorable scenes in the classic, including Spartacus' first brush with trouble while trying to rescue a fellow slave and a great gladiator scene.
Last call: Please weigh in on our question about next weekend's classic: Why do you love Casablanca?