The legendary libertine comes to life in this mammoth, late silent French production, resurrected by the Cinemathéque François and restored to its original brilliance, complete with hand tinted costumes and fireworks in the climactic festival scenes. The panoramic location photography and lavish re-creation of decadent 18th century Venice make the film a visually spectacular, picaresque epic, following the title character through various chases, rescues, romantic liaisons, and hairbreadth escapes, spanning the continent from Italy to Russia and back again. With his athletic build and hypnotic gaze (the better to make women swoon) the celebrated lover is made to resemble, at least physically, an odd cross between Buster Keaton and Bela Lugosi's Dracula, but by the end of the film he is transformed from an indulgent ne'er-do-well into a charming and, at times, heroic scoundrel. Variations of the same story have been told many times since, but never with such energy or style.
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