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Nero. Or the Fall of Rome. (1909)
"Nerone" (original title)

 -  Short | Drama  -  1 November 1909 (USA)
5.3
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 361 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 1 critic

Roman emperor Nero is used to getting what he wants. He has grown tired of his wife Octavia, and has become infatuated with Poppea. He succeeds in making Poppea the new empress, but soon he... See full summary »

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Title: Nero. Or the Fall of Rome. (1909)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Alberto Capozzi
Lydia De Roberti
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Luigi Maggi
Mirra Principi
Ercole Vaser
Ernesto Vaser
Serafino Vite
Mario Voller-Buzzi
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Storyline

Roman emperor Nero is used to getting what he wants. He has grown tired of his wife Octavia, and has become infatuated with Poppea. He succeeds in making Poppea the new empress, but soon he faces opposition from an outraged populace. Written by Snow Leopard

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roman salute | See All (1) »

Genres:

Short | Drama

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Release Date:

1 November 1909 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nero. Or the Fall of Rome.  »

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(tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Edited into Landmarks of Early Film (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Beginning of the Italian Spectacle
28 August 2009 | by See all my reviews

Remarkable that five years from this film, "Nero", that "Cabiria", with its outstanding sets, would be released. In just two years, the production values in "Nero" were made dated by those of "L'Inferno". Additionally, Pathé's Film d'Art had already set the standard in production values for historical spectacles higher than that in "Nero" with the prior year's release of "The Assassination of the Duke de Guise". Yet, Italy's film industry had only recently begun. Rapidly, the national cinema led the world in historical and literary spectacles, longer films and grand set design. Thus, this film is historically noteworthy for being an early entry to the Italian spectacle—but it's not of much interest otherwise.

"Nero" contains the dated tableaux structure, with title cards preceding and describing static shot-scenes, and is theatrical as a result. The sets, which are just cardboard and backdrops, are also no better than what could be found on the stage. For what they are, though, they're not bad. Although the story is set in Ancient Rome, the sets are all Renaissance with their linear perspective. The positioning of the extras also adds to the deep staging and the illusion of a kind of artificial deep focus. If I recall correctly, the same tricks were used in "The Last Days of Pompeii", released four years later by the same company. In short, the sets here are better than most from the time, but are, nevertheless, artificial, theatrical and dated.

Another effect of note in this film is the vision scene. The special effect, however, is simply a superimposition (or double exposure), which had been used in films for over a decade even by then and in photography for longer than that. The real roots for the composition of these vision scenes in early films belongs to magic lantern slides.


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