Cabiria is a Roman child when her home is destroyed by a volcano. Sold in Carthage to be sacrificed in a temple, is saved by Fulvio, a Roman spy. But danger lurks, and hatred between Rome and Carthage can only lead to war.
Early Christians and their struggle with pagan Rome was a favourite subject for Herr Enrico Guazzoni but if you have to choose between depicting orgies, murders and conspiracies or the incense of the saints, the bad guys will win every time.
So, taking advantage of the fact that these early Christians were occupied attending mass in the catacombs, Herr Guazzoni left them to their praying and eliminated them for his next big silent production, "Messalina" (1924), the tale of that wicked and lustful empress who had a talent for causing problems. The result is another great silent spectacle that is all the better for eliminating mysticism, revelations and boring goodness.
As usual the Romans are busy with plotting, crimes and general bad behaviour as Frau Messalina strives for power and has to deal with her equally ambitious relatives ( And you complain about family problems nowadays) . As usual, Her Guazzoni puts on a really big show with huge crowd scenes and magnificent sets.
This Herr Graf was astounded by the rhythm and power of the Coliseum sequence. There's an incredible chariot race which demonstrates the director's increasing technical ability as he uses camera set-ups and movements that were quite innovative for the time and clearly influenced other historical epics. There are none of the static and overly long sequences that often dragged down so many early epics.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count has a date with the lustful Messalina.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com
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