This neglected competitor to the Fellini version deserves to be seen....
This neglected competitor to the Fellini version deserves to be seen by virtue of its own merits. The fragment of the original work which is all that remains of Petronius' great satire deals mainly with the excesses of Trimalchio's banquet...and that is fully present here and perhaps even better done. The sequence of the ceiling collapsing dramatically only to surprise the guests with a huge weighty cake is quite priceless, as is the faked death of the host so that everyone has to fawn on the (living) corpse, kissing it in gratitude for it's largess. Don Backy (who resembles Ray Danton) is really outstanding as Encolpio, the main character. His two comrades who support him in the numerous picaresque escapades are also well drawn and much more sympathetic than the more thuggish protagonists in Fellini's reading. There is more depth to them and sadness, too, missing in Fellini. If you like the Fellini version, you should definitely see this one, too. It's every bit as good and in some ways better.
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