12 November 2008 | dbdumonteil
Its days are numbered.
One more time ,Bulwer-Lytton's book was cheapened in this movie which was to be L'Herbier's next-to-last one.It 's got a good beginning and a good ending but what remains is a muddled story ,not faithful to the original plot,saved by the magnitude of the actors (Georges Marchal,Micheline Presles and Marcel Herrand).
The beginning promised great things : it is a flash forward ,repeating the final lines of the novel,when the archaeologists discover the places where the -fictional- events took place ;then a court room where a man stands accused which makes most of the film a long flashback.
The leads' names have undergone changes :Glauco/Glaucus becomes Lysia(s) and Ione becomes Helene/Elena ;Nydia ,the young slave is not blind and she is killed early in the movie which impoverishes the character who was desperately in love with the hero.The poison which makes Lysia lose his mind and his memory is a pure invention from the screenwriters(I mean it's not in the book) .Of course the Christians are here ,but they come at the most awkward moment.
The eruption of the volcano is pretty good for the time and the movements in the crowd and the panic are well directed.But if you come to Pompei,the guide will tell you it was impossible to escape by boats and that there were no survivors.
Like this ? try these "Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei "(1959) The Bonnard/Leone Tarzanesque version should be reserved for Steve Reeves' fans.
"Last days of Pompey" was a fine mini-series in the eighties ,the best version I know of the celebrated novel.Starring Olivia Hussey ,Nicholas Clay and Lynda Pearl.