Italian film’s early master of the historical spectacle, Enrico Guazzoni, was responsible for the second of (at least) three film adaptations of Nicholas Patrick Wiseman’s classic novel about Christianity’s rise in ancient Rome. Aside from the usual great production values of these silent epics, what surprises here is perhaps the rather graphic violence. And, the film is further notable for being Elena Sangro’s debut (when she was still going by the name Maria Antonietta Bartoli-Avveduti) in the title role no less. Continue reading
It’s another one of Guazzoni’s ancient dramas, this time about Agrippina, the mother of Nero. After she manages to make him emperor of Rome, he finds her a nuisance.
Sadly she is immune to poison and sinking her ship didn’t kill her either – she simply swam ashore. In the end a sword through her stomach did the trick: Few people are immune to that.
Actually not all of the above features in the film… Basically Nero’s just cross because mamma doesn’t like his new mistress. Continue reading
After the death of Claudius, Agrippina announced Nero the heir to the throne, which leads to despair of the true heir – Brittanicus.
Not daring to oppose Agrippina, Senators declare Nero the emperor.
Agrippina is against of an affair of Nero and Poppaea.
Agrippina threaten Nero that if he neglect his wife Octavius, she will give the throne to Brittanicus.
The threats of Agrippina had their effect. Brittanicus is poisoned.
Perversity of Nero is insatiable and he gives his trusted man, Anicetus a terrible order.
Agrippina is looking for salvation, but the indomitable hatred of Emperor Nero decides the fate of Agrippina… Continue reading
Directed by Enrico Guazzoni
Scenario by Enrico Guazzoni, from a novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz
Amleto Novelli (Vinicius), Gustav Serena (Petronius), Amelia Cattaneo (Eunice), Carlo Cattaneo (Nero)
The birth of the motion picture epic is generally dated to the 1913-1914 Italian films Quo vadis, The Last Days of Pompeii, Cabiria and Cajus Julius Cesar, many of them based on a standard set of 19th century religious novels that would be made and remade over the next half of the 20th century. One of several specialists in the genre, Enrico Guazzoni filmed this second version Quo Vadis?, the prime exemplar of a subsidiary genre to “Life of Christ” films, one that might be called the “Christ vs. Caesar” genre. The title of this film means “Where are you going?” and the question is posed by the Ascended Christ to Peter in a vision as the latter departs Rome on the eve of an Imperial persecution. The main story, however, focuses on a Roman commander, Vinicius, who falls for a Christian girl, Lygia, and is so drawn into the underground Christian community, experiencing a personal transformation along the way. Continue reading