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Anna Q. Nilsson,
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 <email@example.com>
A classic well worth watching for fans of silent films.
This silent Italian melodrama may be a challenge for modern viewers, but it's a "must" for real fans of the silent era. Along with other early Italian epics now available in great DVD editions, such as "Cabiria" from 1914, these movies remind Americans that before World War I, European filmmakers were creative pioneers who stretched the medium and the imaginations of American directors. This film version of the "Pompeii" story was shot with static cameras and looks a bit like a broadly acted stage production transfered to film. But the production is elaborate, featuring stage sets as well as some location shooting. Just watching the images unfold in this twisted tale of love and jealousy on the eve of the disastrous eruption of Mt. Vesuvius can be fascinating as we peer back across the century at this 1913 release. To current sensibilities, the film does reflect some prejudices of its era, including the casting of an Egyptian priest as the mysterious, evil force in Pompeii -- an early example of a century-long demonization of Arab figures in movies. However, for viewers exploring early cinema, who are familiar mainly with slapstick comedies and D.W. Griffith, watching a pre-WWI Italian epic like this can be a fascinating experience.
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