The Forgotten: Vast Action hero

I remember seeing clips from Cabiria as a kid, in some silent movie clip show—I was terrifically impressed by the hulking slave Maciste, played by Bartolomeo Pagano, the closest thing I'd seen to a flesh-and-blood Jack Kirby superhero. The fact that Pagano had been a longshoreman, acquiring his musculature through actual physical labour rather than gymnasium-based masturbatory activities made him all the more impressive. Somehow you can tell honest muscle from the inflatable Schwarzenegger kind.

Well, Maciste was too popular a character for the screen to abandon, but Cabiria was a very expensive historical epic with massive sets and many costumed extras. Since the logic back in 1914 /15 was that sequels would gross less than originals (which proved generally true until recent years), some way to reduce the below-the-line was needed.

Above: "Like so?"

So, in Maciste (1915), Pagano plays himself, musclebound movie star, getting involved in a real-life crime caper
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