Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Italia Almirante-Manzini, Lidia Quaranta, Bartolomeo Pagano, Carolina Catena, Gina Marangoni
Director: Giovanni Pastrone
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Classics, Drama, Military & War
Inspired by grand opera and Italy's imperialist victory in the Libyan War (1911-12), the Italian movie industry produced dozens of historical epics in the period just before World War I. The most influential and successful... more »
An important and enjoyable silent film
Mr Peter G George | Ellon, Aberdeenshire United Kingdom | 01/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What really astonishes about Cabiria is that it was made in 1914. Technically it appears to be far superior to most films from this 'early silent' period. The story is interesting if somewhat complex and the acting is naturalistic. There are some amazing moments in this film, moments of horror, violence, comedy and genuine human emotion. At times the scenes of horror really startle because they are so unexpected in a film from 1914. The story carries the viewer far and wide over the Roman world, but does so in such a way that the epic feel does not overshadow the human drama and the complex emotions of the characters. This is a high quality DVD. The picture is fine with only a few signs of print decay. The biggest problem probably arises from the titles often being very long and rather flowery in their language, so that it is necessary to pause the DVD to read them. I have read that Cabiria was at one time shown at a length of three hours. This DVD is just over two hours. I have no doubt that this version is the most complete available, and given the variable speeds of silent films it is difficult to judge how much, if any, of the film has been lost. It would be good if there was some more detailed information, on the DVD packaging, which might clear up this issue. Furthermore I have seen stills of Cabiria which show that some prints were originally tinted. It would have been better if the film could have been restored with these original colours. These are, however, minor quibbles and do not change my decision to rate this DVD as highly as is possible."
Good precode silent, may bore some impatient viewers
Nate Goyer | Sydney, Australia | 11/30/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a silent-movie fan, so I'm patient to silent movies. Most movies made before 1920 lack fanciful camerawork, as direction was just becoming an artform. These films have a lot of wide shots, almost as if you're watching a play. "Cabiria" is one of the films that breaks the barriers of the day; panning shots begin to evolve; zoom effects created by rolling the camera to tighten the view of the acting; special effects, such as a volcano eruption that was revolutionary for it's time. "Cabiria" also raised the bar for costuming, set design and general investment in production. Kino on Video creates wonderful products and the print used on this DVD is very clean. The score is piano-based from the original 1914 score.Overall; If you are a silent fan, or if you're curious to see the films that developed the artform of film, "Cabiria" is a good investment!"
Blockbuster of 1914
S. Brand | United States | 05/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was the first complete silent movie I have ever seen, and it was fascinating to observe and ponder its making 88 years ago. Considering the limited technology in movie-making then, this movie was and is a masterpiece. It has incredible scenery and/or sets, and the costuming reflecting the ancient Carthaginian and Roman cultures is well-done, although I can see the influence of the styles of 1914 in clothing, hair, and makeup.The melodramatic acting is corny at times, but it gave rise to discussion in my family about how exaggeration was needed in silent movies to compensate for the lack of speech, which in modern movies carries a lot of weight in creating the story. The written interludes with dialogue and narration were not frequent, and therefore not tiresome, however, I often found it hard to follow the plot, which has as much to do with my unfamiliarity of the history of the period, as to uncertainty about what the acting was portraying. Nevertheless, I kept my eyes glued to the screen, following the little Roman girl Cabiria, sold to the Carthaginians to serve as a ceremonial sacrifice, later rescued to serve in the palace, and all the ensuing events surrounding her as the tides of war surge between Rome and Carthage. I discovered this movie after watching the movie, "Good Morning Babylon" which is about two young Italian men who go to America to find work, and end up meeting the film producer, D.W. Griffith. Griffith has just viewed "Cabiria" and is so overwhelmed, he throws away his current film to create one called "Intolerance" which he vows to make as good as Cabiria. In Intolerance he tries to recreate an elephant statue he had seen in Cabiria, and so while watching Cabiria, I was looking for and found those elephant statues. This historical chain of movies, from Cabiria, to Intolerance, to Good Morning Babylon, is an interesting study in itself."
A silent epic blockbuster
Marco Cagetti | Charlottesville, VA United States | 01/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cabiria was probably the most successful Italian silent movie. The scenes are still spectacular and enjoyable today. The story has several twists and surprises: volcanic eruptions, the royal palaces of Carthage, naval battles (including no less than the scientist Archimedes), and the African desert. Some of the scenes are memorable, in particular the temple of the child-eating Moloch (with a last minute rescue of Cabiria from the hungry idol).Very interestingly, there is also a muscular superhero and a larger than life diva. The superhero Maciste shows that they had hormones drugs back then too; he went on to star in many other, now hard to find movies of the era (sort of a Rambo or Terminator precursor), some of which are really enjoyable (in particular Maciste in hell). The diva, the queen Sophonisba, first appears in her palace petting a leopard, and from then on there is a series of similar (quitessentially campy) moments (including a most theatrical fainting)."