German spies, using Freya Talberg as bait, convince neutral Spaniard Ulysses Ferragut to navigate a ship to refuel German U-boats, telling him they would never fire on passenger ships. But one torpedoes the ship his son, Esteban, was on, killing him and many others. He sets out to punish the ones responsible. Written by
Arthur Hausner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The movie focuses on the life of a man who sails the Mediterranean Sea. As a child Ulysses Ferragut (Antonio Moreno), a Spaniard, had a passion for the sea. His uncle, the Triton (Uni Apollon), instilled in him sea tales and stories of the pagan goddess Amphitrite, a protector of sailors. He kept a supposed picture of her on the wall. Against the wishes of his father Don Esteban, who wants him to become a lawyer, Ulysses grows up to become a sea captain of his own fast freighter, the "Mare Nostrum." As he spends so much time at sea (and without much profit) he is rarely with his wife Cinta and young son Esteban. After World War I begins (1914), Ulysses' merchant business becomes very rewarding. After his ship moors at Naples in still-neutral Italy, Ulysses takes a vacation, visiting the old Roman ruins at Pompeii, destroyed long before by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius (79 AD). It still smolders. At the site Ulysses meets enthralling Freya Talberg (Alice Terry), who soon tells him point blank that she is a spy for her native Austria (Austro-Hungarian Empire), the main ally of Germany. Her traveling companion is mannish, heavy-set Dr. Fedelmann (Mademoiselle Paquerette). Declaring that he is a neutral Spaniard and not directly involved with the war, Ulysses is smitten with Freya. He notes that her likeness is the same as that of Amphitrite. Ignoring his small family, Ulysses begins a long affair with Freya.
Meanwhile, the concern of the German spies Fedelmann and Count Kaledine who have set up headquarters in Naples, is that the Italians are contemplating joining the allies in the war (English, French, and Russians) against the Central Powers (Germans, Austrians, and Hungarians). After Italy does indeed declare war against Austria (1915), Fedelmann and Kaledine leave Italy to set up shop in neutral Spain (Barcelona).
Encouraged by Freya to help Germany, Ulysses provides fuel for a German submarine operating in the Mediterranean. He is promised that the subs will torpedo only military vessels, not passenger ships. Under an odd-looking German commander, the sub later torpedoes an English passenger vessel that is carrying his son, Esteban, killing him. Mournful Ferragut decides to pursue those responsible for his only son's death. Subsequent scenes of note are the long crowd chase of a German spy in Marseilles, the firing squad scenario, and the final underwater setting.
Filmed on location in several countries, Rex Ingram's movie was probably his most ambitious enterprise outside of "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." The predictable, melodramatic spy-story really is not too thrilling, but good visuals/photography and on-location filming in France, Italy, and Spain help. See those large ships in Naples harbor; never mind the sea-models. Uni Apollon certainly reminds one of an old sea-dog. Alice Terry is alluring while Antonio Moreno is handsome. Grotesquely untidy and obese Hughie Mack is the jolly Spanish servant, Caragol. One wants to cry out to him: "Caragol, take a bath, and please, burn those clothes!" In the end he does find himself immersed.
The source of the phrase, "Mare Nostrum" originates solely from the Roman Empire. This huge dominion, the most far-flung and durable of antiquity, encompassed the entire Mediterranean Sea. As the Romans controlled the Mediterranean basin for hundreds of years, they fittingly called the vast water-system "Our Sea" (Mare Nostrum). Not only was the sea a link for many nations of the empire, but it also helped Rome to ship troops to faraway trouble spots.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?