Cabiria (recorded off of Turner Classic Movies). [Category: Early Film & TV]

Way back in 1914, when D. W. Griffith was still making two-reelers, the Italians were already making sword and sandal epics like this one. Cabiria is a little Roman girl who ends up in the hands of the Carthaginians after a volcanic eruption. A Roman soldier, Fulvius, and his slave, Maciste (yes, that Maciste in his first film) get involved in trying to rescue her. She is not so much a character as a macguffin in this movie, which is filled with the usual political intrigue, royal romance, and battle scenes. Maciste even bends the bars back to escape from a prison cell, making the sword and sandal experience complete. Still, all this is extremely impressive for 1914––in fact, it’s hard to remember that this movie was made so early. Some of the sets, special effects, and montage scenes are breathtaking. Kino Video did an excellent job of restoring the film, translating its subtitles, and providing a musical score, as usual. A 1914 Italian film.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.


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