Silent Saturday: Dante's Inferno
1911 Italian movie
Plot: Dante's Inferno.
This is the first Italian full-length feature film, and it's also the oldest movie on my blog now. Some footage was used in a Kenneth Anger film in the 50's. And the movie has a little nudity, so it's got that going for it.
I wasn't expecting much, to be honest, but I was sort of blown away by this. It's a choppily-told story loosely based on Dante's Inferno, and there's way too much to read on the title cards. I sort of lost interest in those. Lengthy title card, cool scene, lengthy title card, cool scene, etc. It's an odd predictable pace.
But nothing else about this is predictable. The scenery is mindblowing, and the effects, though they're what you'd expect if you've seen a handful of Melies movies, are very cool. There's floating souls, that guy up there on the poster holding his own head, a giant, Satan, some flight, little people (or children) in bird costumes. The set design was also impressive. This took three years to make and probably a lot of money for the time, but it's really something close to an artistic triumph. I really enjoyed it.
Oh, I want to mention Pier Delle Vigne, an actor who plays Count Ugolino. It's such an over-the-top melodramatic performance--lots of swinging limbs and head jerks--that it made me laugh. I looked him up, and this was his only role.