|Index||2 reviews in total|
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.
APHRODITE, GODDESS OF LOVE is a straightforward costume drama from
Italy. Bizarrely, the version I watched on Amazon Prime was dubbed into
French with English subtitles. The film has more in common with the
staged and old-fashioned costume dramas of the 1950s than the
all-action sword and sandal excitement of the post-HERCULES peplum
wave, but fans of Italian cinema will probably still enjoy it.
The film tells the intriguing tale of Antigone, a man obsessed with building a temple to the titular deity. Unfortunately his plans are thwarted by plague and a disgruntled populace, and he turns on the Christians in the vicinity as a result. The main character in the film, Demetrius, is a sculptor who falls in love with a Christian slave girl, with harrowing results.
This story is well mounted by genre standards and very colourful. The costumes look and feel authentic. Sergio Leone had a hand in the script and also worked on the story as assistant director. Fans of Italian cinema will spot the likes of Anthony Steffen as the skinny hero alongside bit parts from Paul Muller and Massimo Serato. Best of the lot is Ivo Garrani's delightfully scheming Antigone.
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