Before Spartacus struck down his first opponent in the arena, there were many gladiators who passed through the gates onto the sand.'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena' tells the story of the ... See full summary »
74 B.C. Somewhere in the Roman Empire, Spartacus, a young officer, is condemned to be a slave because he hit a superior. Brought back to Roma in a gladiators' school, he escapes and stirs ... See full summary »
Sadly, the censors chose to make some deletions in the surviving print which result in an all too sudden denouement in which the fate of Noricus is more or less left to the viewer's imagination. See more »
This appears to be the same film issued the following year in the United States as SPARTACUS (the database offers no other potential films within a decade of SPARTICO). One of the joys of the silent era was that film could more easily be a truly international medium merely by the insertion of new title cards of an alternate language, and these were literate and interesting - if at strange variance with the story as usually understood from history and later films.
Unfortunately, the surviving print I have seen was severely truncated to only about an hour and with no credits. The plot refers to Crassus (the brutal Roman Consul who put down the slave revolt led by Spartacus and crucified the survivors as a warning to future slave rebellions), but has no mention either of slave rebellion (other than a bit of adultery) or crucifixion ('though there is much use of throwing prisoners and revealed "bad guys" to the lions in the Colloseum). It is presented as more of a "sword and sandal" telling of a standard domestic intrigue romance and possible murder.
In the print viewed, the use of the title would seem to be merely one of box office convenience, but who knows what might have been in the missing half hour? The production values are relatively high with excellent period sets and costumes for 1913, but fast cuts away from actual action which might have been difficult or dangerous to film - falls from walls or confrontations with actual beasts - disappoint.
To modern eyes, the set pieces of massed groups trooping in and out don't excite, but the one-on-one interactions of Spartacus and his lover are, for all the period emoting, are involving. A complete print should he interesting.
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