Quo Vadis, 1913

Guazzoni’s film of 1913 was a super-production of its day (costs incurred in the film’s production spanning over several months were in excess of exorbitant sixty thousand lire) which, as underlined particularly by Italian scholars, marked a milestone development in the evolution of  cinematic aesthetics (preceding Cabiria of 1914). Guazzoni’s Quo Vadis? was a dazzling artistic and box-office success both in and outside Italy. In Paris, the film was played at the Gaumont Palace, “the world’s biggest movie theatre,” to the accompaniment of an orchestra and a choir. In London, it was shown at Albert Hall turned into a cinema (the London premiere was graced by King George V and his wife Queen Mary, who, reportedly, after the screening personally congratulated Castellani for his rendition of the Ursus character). In the US, the film premiered in New York’s elegant venue of Broadway’s Astor Theatre. It was also shown in all three parts of partitioned Poland.