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Vittorio De Sica,
Nero is on holiday at the seaside. Poppea, Seneca and many other guests are with him. Nero is preparing a great show where he will be the star. When Agrippina, his mother, arrives with her German praetorians and decides Nero has to conquer Britain, she is asking for trouble. Many attempts of murder and poisoning will happen on the eve of his great show. Written by
Baldinotto da Pistoia
The epoch of the Roman Empire has inspired many film makers to produce movies set in this age. This is one that'll never be matched. I do not mean that it is of a superb quality, but it stands out as being one of the very few films that make fun of this civilization. The storyline is quite thin - everyone makes his best to stop Nero from singing. Everyone tries to kill everyone: Nero tries to kill his mother Agrippina, Agrippina tries to kill Seneca and Poppea, these two in turn try to kill her too. Agrippina's trials always fail to work - the others' though, work every time. They put vipers in her bed, they give her poison to drink, they drop ceilings on her bed, they flood the ship on which she is travelling. But each time she always appears back as a demon from hell unable to die. Her appearance after each attempt is ghastly, especially the one after Nero orders her ship to be drowned - she appears in the palace dresses in a pale blue dress with lightning flashing behind her. Gloria Swanson is just about the best thing is this film. Her acting is superb as the plotting mother of the mad emperor. The charm she had in the 1920s is still present as late as 1956. Alberto Sordi is fine as the childish mad emperor, Vittorio de Sica is funny as the all-sapient Seneca while Brigitte Bardot fits excellently as the bitchy, wealth-seeking Poppea. All in all it is a fine comedy set in ancient times, bound to be enjoyed by those who watch it.
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