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    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


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    Friday, March 16, 2007

    16mm Version of The Last Days of Pompeii (1935) for sale on EBay

    Occasionally I come across these rarities on eBay, and like to pass them on to anyone who shares my interests, but has more disposable income than I. Anyone in that category may be interested to know that there there is a 16mm version of The Last Days of Pompeii (1935) for sale on eBay.

    This is the most famous version of the story, but as I was already aware of several others I thought I'd check the IMDB. There are actually 24 existing productions with the word with at least one film (named simply Pompeii) scheduled for 2008. Not all of these will be directly linked to the events of 79AD (for example Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii), but nevertheless it's a considerable number. There are only 2 films with Herculaneum in the title (and one of those is a documentary). Krakatoa does do slightly better though.

    The most recent Pompeii related film is the BBC's 2003 documentary Pompeii: The Last Day which featured some dramatic footage, and was narrated by F. Murray Abraham. What is notable is that even when not adapting Edward Bulwer-Lytton's novel, as with this documentary, film-makers still prefer Pompeii to Herculaneum.

    Perhaps the next most famous version is the 1959 Italian version of the novel, Gli Ultimi giorni di Pompei starring Steve Reeves. This is actually the only version I believe I have seen, although, since I was very young at the time, I may be confusing it with another version. I'm fairly sure though, that it wasn't the much loved British period sitcom Up Pompeii, starring Frankie Howerd.

    Another, notable version of the story is the 1984 Mini-series Last Days of Pompeii starring Brian Blessed, Ernest Borgnine, Olivia Hussey, Anthony Quayle and Laurence Olivier. It's an impressive cast and has a good following including a dedicated fan site. Sadly it'snot available on DVD.

    Funnily enough, Pompeii itself has always been place close to me heart. My dad visited it when he was young (and before excavations were as advanced as they are today), and he took a good number of slides which made for an exciting show when I was young. I seem to recall taking them into school as well when we were studying the Romans. I was reminded of all this when in my search for images to illustrate this post I came across a German web page with a number of photos of Pompeii.


    • At 3:42 am, March 18, 2007, Blogger Unknown said…

      I saw the 1984 "The Last Days of Pompeii" when it was first shown. If I remember correctly, the opening credits featured some of the well-known Pompeii frescoes -- which was quite eerie, especially the ones portraying mystery rites. The mystery religions (especially that of Isis and Mithras) were one of the important aspects of the later 1st-century Roman world. I think this mini-series is one of the few (if not the only one) to focus a bit more on these mystery religions -- in this case, the cult of Isis. I still remember vividly the scenes in the temple of Arbaces, especially Antonius' initiation.

      Sometimes it's really frustrating. One can find/buy garbage like "The Loop: Season One" quite easily, while the really good ones (such as the 1984 mini-series) are either out of print or never been released. Grrr. . . .


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