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Well respected Pompeiian Glaucus performs an act of kindness by buying Nidia, a blind slave being mistreated by her owner. Nidia falls in love with her new master, but he only has eyes for Jone. Jone in turn is lusted after by Arbace, an Egyptian high priest of Isis. When Nidia beseeches Isis for help in capturing Glaucus' heart, Arbace gives her a "love" potion, which really will affect his mind and not his heart, thus opening the way to Jone for himself. When Arbace's disciple is murdered Glaucus finds himself in hot water, shortly after which Mt. Vesuvius erupts. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Glaucus brings Jone back to her home, the inside of her house is shown with an open air atrium represented by a painted backdrop. We can tell it is a backdrop because the sun in hitting it in such a way that the shadow of other part of the set fall across it. See more »
I hope I don't number among them or any of those who reviewed this film and only saw it through their perverted, spoiled, vapid and jaded eyes and minds.
This is an important film. It happens to be one of the very first epics ever filmed. And of the very first movies to have used special effects of this magnitude.
In fact, this movie pre-dates BIRTH OF A NATION by two years. Before POMPEII and CABIRIA, movies were much shorter in length. The fact that this movie became wildly popular even though it was the unheard length of over 90 minutes is a testament to its power then and now.
It is pathetic to read reviews where people admit to laughing at this movie. It can only come from the uninformed and unsophisticated.
Complaints that the movie is static, stagy and "uncinematic" do not take into consideration that this was the way movies were made. The medium was brand new. The tradition of dramatic arts had no other precedence than the stage and the picture frame of the plastic arts as they had been until then. It was only until BIRTH OF THE NATION that the camerawork began to become interesting and creative. Trial and error sparked these marvelous innovations which made BIRTH OF THE NATION the more famous landmark film.
But back to POMPEII...I must admit that development of the story appeared to move at a stately pace and that the "real action" didn't begin to unfold until the final 20 minutes of the film.
Yet, I believe that this was done for several reasons. The act of bringing us INTO the heart of one slave woman was motivated NOT just to fill in the screen time. It was done so that we would care about her and those around her. What worth is there in seeing a disaster for the disaster's sake -- if we do not care about the lives of those involved in the tragedy?
The other reason that it unfolded slowly at the beginning to create a contrast to the escalation that occurred at the end -- which began within the germ of the slave girl's plight and literally exploded when Mt. Vesuvius blew up.
The use of the red filter was a stroke of genius that truly emphasized the calamity which the damned residents of Pompeii suffered. What is truly odd and I thought was a well-timed coincidence was the immediate and marked destruction of the film quality at the start of the devastation scene. Had it been planned that way, it would not have gone so well. It was jarring and painful to watch.
When the film's quality improved, we were offered a long series of different shots of the populace running in every direction and in an uncontrollable panic. Having been at the top of a local government building at the moment of the 9/11 tragedies, I can well attest to the panic that can ensue when a great number of people feel their lives are being threatened at once. Hundreds of us ran down a dozen or so flights of stairs without even thinking, our legs very nervously shaking, our minds reeling with a panic unimaginable.
I have visited Pompeii, the remains of which demonstrates quite narrow streets that conclude at various piazzas. To have been there and witnessed the scores of people attempting to escape the devastation with their lives, must have been a most horrific and mind-jarring experience. I am sure many were trampled and many unintended mishaps occurred along the way. To laugh at this depiction in this movie reflects a mindset which cannot conceive of the gravity of this situation.
For me it was riveting to witness this spectacle. It's obvious that I admire this film for its many virtues. I will close with only one whimsical observation. I was taken by the remarkable resemblance, at least with what camera distance we were afforded, of the slave girl to Miss Lillian Gish and her legendary waif-like countenance. It added a bit of relish to the whole -- even though I am sure that this sort of look and demeanor was quite the rage back then. It turned my head in admiration and wonderment.
The vast...and I mean vast, crowds at the arena scene were breathtaking in scope though the limits of the artistic palette back then does not afford us the optimal view.
I recommend this movie to the thoughtful film lover who will not protest to the idiosyncratic shortcomings that were so prevalent during the dawn of films and can be magnanimously forgiving for these minor peccadillos.
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