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The Last Days of Pompeii (1913)

Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei (original title)
Two love triangles intersect in ancient Pompei.
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Cast

Credited cast:
Fernanda Negri Pouget ...
Eugenia Tettoni Fior ...
Ubaldo Stefani ...
Antonio Grisanti ...
Cesare Gani Carini ...
Vitale Di Stefano ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Carlo Campogalliani
Ercole Vaser
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Storyline

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 <mvg@whidbey.com>

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A Spectacular Photo-Drama

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

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Release Date:

13 August 1913 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Last Days of Pompeii  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2000 alternate) | (VHS)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Extras are "killed" by falling pieces of a set during the explosion scene, then appear to either get back up or adjust themselves so that they won't be trampled by other extras. See more »


Soundtracks

Sampson et Delila
Written by Camille Saint-Saëns (Saint-Saëns)
Arranged by Beatrice Jona Affron
Performed by Martha Koeneman
Excerpts in the 2000 alternate version score
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User Reviews

A Window Into Cinema History
11 November 2006 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

A young blind woman and her general misery provide the focus for this 1913 silent film. Her story is set against everyday life in Pompeii, just before the eruption of the famous volcano.

Visually, the film consists of staged sets, rather like modern stage plays. There is no camera movement. Actors mouth words we can't hear. The only sound is the music of a piano, provided on behalf of DVD viewers. The music varies in tone with tonal variations in the story. Alternating with the play and to assist the visuals, title cards convey a verbal sense of what will happen in the next scene.

Acting is very, very theatrical. When they move, the players don't walk, so much as they tiptoe across the stage, in a self-conscious and stagy manner. When there's conflict, the players overact, exaggerating both body movements and facial expressions. But that was how it was done back then. Costumes are elaborate, and at times ornate.

Vesuvius erupts in the final few minutes of the film. Lots of smoke, some soot, a change in the film's tint to reddish, falling pillars, and predictable histrionics of the players comprise the special effects.

Even aside from the simplicity of the special effects and the absence of sound, the film is not likely to appeal to modern audiences, if their purpose in watching films is to be entertained. For one thing, the film's pacing is very slow. Also, there's lots of filler material, like scenes wherein characters sit around feeding pigeons. And I found it hard to identify with any of the characters. They seem too thinly drawn and remote.

In its time, "The Last Days Of Pompeii" must have seemed like a grand spectacle. We are fortunate to have the film now, as a benchmark from which to compare contemporary films. Ergo, for those interested in the history of the cinema, and for those who want some perspective on modern film-making, this film is a fine choice.


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