The Last Days of Pompeii

A film by Carmine Gallone and Amleto Palermi

A decadent feast for the eyes, this Italian silent was based on Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s The Last Days of Pompeii (1834), arguably the most popular historical novel written in the nineteenth century. Bulwer-Lytton’s tale of the young dandy Glaucus in love with beautiful Ione was the canonical narrative of Pompeii’s destruction.

Glaucus’ jealous rival, the Egyptian priest Arbaces, slays Ione’s brother Apaecides, whom he has failed to convert to his mystery religion. Exploiting the love of the blind slave girl Nydia for Glaucus, her master, Arbaces proceeds to blame Glaucus for the murder. Then Mount Vesuvius strikes: the eruption kills the villain, and blind Nydia guides Ione and Glaucus through the rain of ashes to safety outside of the collapsing city.

Restored, color-tinted print courtesy of the British Film Institute.


Technical Information

Production Year
Running Time
144 mins

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