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Heliogabalus, Tyrant of Rome (1911)

L'orgie romaine (original title)
The dissolute Emperor Heliogabalus dresses as a woman, and looses lions among his guests.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jean Aymé ...
Héliogabale
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Louise Lagrange
Luitz-Morat
Léonce Perret
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Storyline

A dissolute and bloodthirsty Emperor is on the throne, and a gorgeous representation of the Roman Court with its sumptuous surroundings and kaleidoscopic colorings is portrayed. In the year 215 of the Christian era, Heliogabalus was proclaimed Emperor by the soldiers, after defeating his rival, Macrinus. His reign of nearly four years was infamous for his gluttony and unparalleled debaucheries. At the age of 14 he was invested with the royal purple, and Rome soon displayed a scene of cruelty and licentiousness, among which the most infamous of the populace became favorites of the youthful Caesar. This film depicts a few instances of the tyrant's cruelty and also his well merited and cowardly end. One day, while attending to the Emperor's toilette, a slave makes a slight mistake, and Heliogabalus, crying out in rage, immediately condemns the poor servant to death. Falling on his knees, the unfortunate creature begs in vain for his life, and is dragged away by the soldiers and thrown as... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Short | Drama

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Release Date:

28 April 1912 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Heliogabalus, Tyrant of Rome  »

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(hand-colored)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Released in the US as a split reel along with the documentary Dinant on the Meuse (1912). See more »

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User Reviews

 
interesting short
15 February 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Directed by the great silent cinema pioneer Louis Feuillade (a man with a highly prolific career, directing everything from crime serials to romantic dramas), this is a brief and highly interesting small scale Roman epic. It isn't among the finest works of this era, but it certainly is a fascinating historical document with plenty of merits. It showcases some early use of tinting as well as the Ancient Rome epic-even if it is on a highly small scale-and is visually interesting. Using many neat backgrounds and special effects methods, Feuillade has created a historical universe here similar to the magical lands of Georges Melies. The surrealism and whimsical fantasy does not seem to be intended here, but that seems to make it all the more enchanting.

I would also like to note one scene that really caught my eye in which a man is sent to be killed by lions, and we see him being thrown into the pit of lions. Real lions were used in this scene, and it thrilled me a surprising amount when I saw the man running off camera from them. Just a brief moment showing off the magic of early cinema.


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