Tony Curtis is a dead bloke, which is a shame because I think it’s important to have people in the world who are able to wear a badger on their head and have enough chutzpah to stop people from saying: ‘ Tony, you have a badger on your head.’
Curtis is a hero of mine. Always has been. As his career has progressed his badger has slowly moved upward, and I admire him for that. In 1956 he wore tights in Trapeze, where the badger was placed strategically in the groin area, and later, in the 70s, he partnered Roger Moore in The Persuaders where the badger had decamped to the chest region.
But I think Spartacus is my favourite Curtis film, particularly for its ‘I’m Spartacus!’ moment where the badger, residing within the skirt that Curtis was wearing, had experienced ignition.
Curtis was lying and we all knew it.
Now I don’t mind that much because I’ll always have much affection for badger boy but I do have an issue with the credibility of the film. I believe the ‘we-don’t-know-who-Spartacus-is’ finale is fatally flawed for two reasons, and I’ll spell them out for you.
1, Why didn’t the Roman soldiers just say: ‘Er, Tony you’re lying. Spartacus is the bloke with the bum chin because that’s what it says on the description.’
2, When Curtis presents himself as Spartacus instead of the real Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) everyone steps forward apart from Spartacus. Having seen the reaction, why didn’t the Roman soldiers have the wherewithal to think, ‘Hang on a sec, who’s the odd one out here?’
A little bit of thinking outside of the box and they would have had their man in a jiffy.
Now I accept it would have been embarrassing if they had picked someone out who said, ‘No, I’m Dave’, but do I remember watching this film as a small child with a single-digit age and a three-digit iQ thinking: ‘I am a child of eight and I know who Spartacus is.’ Then I got down from my seat, turned off the television set, phoned the BBC’s complaints department and explained how the holes in this truly gossamer-thin plotline had ruined my enjoyment of what would eventually be a cinematic, cult classic.
I was beaten as a child.