Based on the Edward Bulwer-Lytton novel. Set in the shadows of Mt. Vesuvius just before its famous eruption, the film begins with Glaucus, a Roman legionnaire, returning to his home from ... See full summary »
AD 67. The artist Demetrio (Anthony Steffen) is at Corinth as a guest of Antigono (Ivo Garrani) when he falls in love with the poor innocent slave girl Lerna (Isabelle Corey). Yet the wicked Diala (Irène Tunc) is also interested in the handsome young Demetrio whilst pretending to care only for the rich old Antigono. Now that story is not complicated, really, and further on, it follows a safe path of morality when Lerna sympathizes with a (very early) group of Christians and Demetrio gets baptized, although they are all in danger of getting burned for sacrifice. Note this was released a year before Wyler's 'Ben Hur' so it is not a follow-up to its success, even if the impression may occur.
Demetrio makes an unusual hero for the Italian variety of the sword and sandals genre, because he is not the muscular Hercules/Maciste type, instead a sensitive artist with dialog lines like "She is the symbol of a goddess who does not exist anymore", when he describes his statue of Diala posing as Aphrodite. But as the Latin saying goes, "ars longa, vita brevis est"... Also a point of interest is that the famous Sergio Leone co-wrote the script and was assistant director to Mario Bonnard. Voted 6/10.
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