The Last Days Of Pompeii
Directed by Mario Caserini
An influential Italian epic that paved the way for the elaborate costume drama, The Last Days Of Pompeii romanticizes the final hours of those ill-fated souls living in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. In this rendition of Edward Bulwer's classic novel, set in 79 A.D., the lives of a prominent statesman, a beautiful woman, a pagan priest, a spiteful witch and a blind beggar are carefully interwoven. The intrigues that connect them are brought to a climax in the gladiatorial arena, at the moment the sleeping volcano unleashes its molten fury.
The Last Days Of Pompeii is among the last of the great tableaux films, in which most scenes are explained by a title, then dramatized within a single wide shot, a presentational style whose origins were more theatrical and literary than cinematic. Just a few short months after the film's release, this technique would be forever outmoded, due to such films as D. W. Griffith's The Birth Of A Nation and Giovanni Pastrone's Cabiria, which helped rewrite the laws of cinematic expression.
This Kino on Video edition was digitally mastered from a remarkably crisp 35mm print. It is color-tinted with newly translated intertitles and a dramatic piano score adapted by Beatrice Jona Affron from a variety of classical works.