Esther and the King (1960): Walsh’s Semi-Biblical Epos, Starring Joan Collins in the Jewish Titular Role

Esther and the King, an example of the kitschy epics made as international co-productions–in this case Italian-American–was written, produced and co-directed by Raoul Walsh.

Shot in Cinemascope and Deluxe Color by Mario Bava, who was  credited as co-director on Italian prints of the film, it was produced and released by 20th Century Fox.

Based on the Old Testament, this quasi-epic is inspired by the Book of Esther, the tale that’s the basis for the Jewish holiday of Purim.

The film is set Persia in the fifth century BC. After the King’s wife is murdered, Esther (Jewish, played by the young Joan Collins) comes to the attention of the recently widowed King. The king has been trying to stifle and defeat the hatred against the Jews, orchestrated by his evil and manipulative Minister Haman (Sergio Fantoni).

It is unfortunately one of the last–and worst–films of vet Hollywood director Raul Walsh, who had made many good movies.