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Quo Vadis? (1912) - Enrico Guazzoni

Italy - sword and sandal films

Quo Vadis? (1912) - Enrico Guazzoni


Quo Vadis (1912 movie) - An Italian silent version, starring Amelia Cattaneo, Carlo Cattaneo, Lea Giunghi and Giovanni Gizzi. Adapted and directed by Enrico Guazzoni. Often mentioned as the first successful feature-length motion picture, and the inspiration for D. W. Griffith to make The Birth of a Nation. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quo_vadis [Jun 2005]

Contemporary accounts reported that in a scene in an arena where lions were eating "Christians" (actually dummies stuffed with raw meat to entice the lions to eat them), one of the lions suddenly turned and pounced into a crowd of nearby extras. It grabbed one man and dragged him back to where the other lions were feasting on the "bodies". By the time the lion's trainer grabbed a rifle and shot the animal, it had already killed and began to eat the unlucky extra. Although the incident was caught on film, there was a question as to whether it was actually used in the movie itself; the producers said it wasn't, some of the actors who later saw the completed film said it was. Since no copy of it is known to exist at present, there is no way to know. via imdb.com

Probably the first feature film (over 60 min.) ever, this movie has gigantic sets that rival those of movies made years later. All camera shots are stationary, but this doesn't seem to take away from the story much. The story is fairly close to the book with a few liberties--definitely closer than the 1951 version. Obviously the idea of writing a full-length feature film still needed some work. Characters are simply introduced doing things as though the viewer already knows them. St. Peter steals the show in the last half. He's got some great scenes. An important film to watch for anyone who wants to see early breakthroughs in cinema. It's also a good study of early Christianity in cinema. --brjohn from Washington, DC via imdb.com

see also: Quo Vadis? (1912) [imdb] - 1912

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