Saturday on the blog means Saturday Double Feature, right? Remember, the basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.
It’s a pretty slow week for new releases in theaters this week, but we do get the latest disaster movie, Pompeii, from director Paul W. S. Anderson and starring a bunch of CGI explosions and lava flows. Oh, and of course Kit Harington‘s abs, which may very well be completely CGI, too. These days, who knows?
Of course, the combination of historical epic and grand disaster movie is one that lends itself very well to the silver screen, and has since the earliest days of film, and since the explosion of Mount Vesuvius is one of the most well-known real-life disasters, it has been the subject of many different films over the years. So instead of picking just one of them, I thought we’d actually do an expanded version of the Saturday Double Feature and take a look actually at three of them, all with the same name (The Last Days of Pompeii) and all of them based to one extent or another on Edward George Bulwer-Lytton‘s 1834 novel of the same name.
First off, let’s begin our look back with a trip to the silent era of film, and 1913’s Italian-made Mario Caserini and Eleuterio Rodolfi directed version.
In 1959, Steve Reeves was a huge star of what became known as “sword and sandal” epics, so it was only natural that he would be involved in a take on this theme too:
And finally, for those who really want to spend some time with the subject (or who just fondly miss the sprawling days of the TV miniseries, here’s a 1984 adaptation that was originally aired in three parts as an ABC-TV special event:
Of course these weren’t the only versions of this story throughout the years, and I would especially have liked to include the 1935 Ernest B. Schoedsack/Merian C. Cooper take on it, but I wasn’t able to find even an embeddable trailer for it, and from what I understand it really veers pretty far away from the actual plot line of the book – even moreso than these already do.
Anyway, what do you think? Do you have a favorite Vesuvius or volcano movie? Or maybe something else you think might make a good pairing with Pompeii? If so, let me know below. And also let me know of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.
Until next time, Happy Viewing!
- Lava Bombs and Tsunamis! How Accurate Is ‘Pompeii’ Movie? (livescience.com)
- Pompeii in the movies: A brief history of sword, sandal, and volcanoes (metronews.ca)
- ‘Pompeii’ explodes with great effects, weak story (dailyherald.com)