L’Odissea (1911)

L’ODISSEA (1911)
aka Homer’s Odyssey
Article 4801 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-16-2015
Directed by Francesco Bertolini, Giuseppe de Liguoro, Adolfo Padovan
Featuring Giuseppe de Liguoro, Eugenia Tettoni Fior, Ubaldo Maria Del Colle
Country: Italy
What it is: Epic Greek poem

Ulysses encounters many perils on his voyage home from the Trojan war.

The Italians were the first to take their hands at truly epic cinema, and they produced some amazing work during the early days of the movies. This one, though it has some nice special effects and impressive moments, is a little bit disappointing however. The problem is that they use what I think of as the “Classics Illustrated” approach to the story. By this I mean that, instead of trying to make the story flow in a cinematic fashion, they use the title cards to describe which famous scene you’re going to see, and then you see it. The effect is somewhat like flipping through an illustrated book, and rather than capturing the excitement of the story, it just makes it feel distant and stodgy. The print I saw ran about 45 minutes, but I’ve heard it’s incomplete. Still, given the episodic quality of the story, it’s hard to tell; the only major thing I noticed missing is the encounter with Circe. Nevertheless, the somewhat mechanical presentation makes this one a bit dull.

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