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Three centuries before Christus. Young Cabiria is kidnapped by some pirates during one eruption of the Etna. She is sold as a slave in Carthage, and as she is just going to be sacrificed to god Moloch, Cabiria is rescued by both Fulvio Axilla, a Roman noble, and his giant slave Maciste. Maciste is captured just after having confided Cabiria to Sophinisbe's safe keeping, while Fulvio Axilla manages to escape from Carthage. Ten years went away with Punic wars before he is able to come back to Carthage... Written by
A truly remarkable film! Operatic sets, histrionic posturing and title cards by protofascist Gabriele D'Annunzio make this silent classic a cut above all that came before and much that came after. It doesn't really matter that the title character gets precious little screen time and zero close-ups or that there's more plot than a dozen movies, this picture is special. I mean, it's got everything: volcanoes, shipwrecks, blood thirsty pagans, greedy tavern owners, not to mention guest appearances by Archimedes (with the original death ray), Hannibal (with elephants), Moloch (evil overlord of the Dark Empire) and other assorted luminaries including a recalcitrant leopard who wanders on and off the set. No zombies though.
Note: at the rate the Priests of Moloch are feeding tender virgins into the fiery Mouth of Moloch (more like his chest, actually) it would take several hours to feed all 100 of them attention spans just aren't what they used to be!
This film was also notable as the beginning of the ever-popular Maciste franchise. Bartolomeo Pagano starred in a series of over 20 further adventures of Maciste before the 20s were out, to say nothing of all later incarnations. In one memorable scene Mr. Maciste gives new meaning to the phrase "the daily grind." This is a movie not to be missed!
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