In an arena scene where lions were eating Christians (actually dummies stuffed with raw meat to entice the lions to eat them), one of the lions suddenly turned and pounced into a crowd of nearby extras. It grabbed one man and dragged him back to where the other lions were feasting on the "bodies". By the time the lion's trainer grabbed a rifle and shot the animal, it had already killed and began to eat the unlucky extra. Although the incident was caught on film, there was a question as to whether it was actually used in the movie itself. The producers said it wasn't, and some of the actors who later saw the completed film said it was. Since no copy of the original movie is known to exist at present, there is no way to know. See more »
Perhaps the best film made to its date, 'Quo Vadis?' is an astonishing masterpiece. At a time in which most movies comprised 2 reels (running for about 20-24 minutes) this early feature was certainly the best epic film till 'Cabiria' (1914) was released. Based on the memorable novel written by Henryk Sienwiewicz, this adaptation is more faithful to the book than the 1951 MGM version (this version was called 'Quo Vadis' without the final ?, for it was thought to be bad luck an interrogation mark at the end of a title). I haven't seen the 2001 polish version yet, which was submitted to the Academy Awards (but not nominated) as Best Foreing Language Film but, since it didn't get very positive reviews, I'd dare say this 'Quo Vadis?' is the very best of them all.
First of all 'Quo Vadis'? was originally released in 1912 not in 1913, it premiered all over the world in 1913: USA, Spain, Poland, France... But the original Italian release was in 1912. Now, over a year ago the existence of this film was unknown by many people who were asking over and over whether or not this one was available. There was only one review on the film here and the IMDb claimed it was a lost film so there was a lot of talk about it! Nothing further from the truth, ever since I uploaded it on youtube, doubts have been vanished.
'Quo Vadis?' is a maserpiece for its date. The portrayal of Nero and all the characters is very accurate, the epic scenes with Rome in the background or the circus, extras, dialogs... Everything is awesome! The dialogs especially are very accurate too, saying as much as needed to make the complex story understandable, not saying too much but not too little either, just the right words. If you're into early film history this is certainly a must-see!! If you like epic movies, roman atmosphere, this kind of literature or whatever topic related to this particular movie this is a must-see. And if you aren't into silent films but you'd ever consider watching one, this is a good choice. Though not as good as Caligari, Potemkin or Nosferatu (after all film techniques would evolve a lot within the next few years), very worth watching either way.
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