Plot: What’s it about?
Marcus (Preston Foster) was a kind, gentle blacksmith with a simple life, but then his wife and son were trampled by horses. In order to save them, he needed a large amount of money, which he didn’t have, but he knew he would obtain the funds somehow. He decides to become a gladiator, as that is the fastest way to make the kind of cash he needs. His effort is monumental, but time runs out on his family and both die from their injuries before Marcus can save them. He then vows to never be held captive by poverty again, so he begins an incredible run at the arena. He becomes a wealthy man and a respected warrior, thanks to some brutal battles. After killing one of his opponents, Marcus meets with the man’s son and adopts him. Years later, his adopted son is sentenced to death for capital crimes, but Marcus isn’t about to lose his family a second time. But when Mount Vesuvius erupts, can he ensure safe passage for his son?
The Last Days of Pompeii is not only an epic, but an epic disaster movie, with a real life epic story to make it all come together. So you have all the costumes, locations, and feel of a period epic, combined with the dread and special effects of a disaster movie. As a fan of both genres and someone with a high interest in all things ancient Rome, this release was one I looked forward to. I thought The Last Days of Pompeii was a fun movie at times, but it has a fair share of flaws. The focus on historical realism is minimal, so expect a lot of inaccuracies in that respect. I also found some of the performances to be a tad wooden, which lessens the emotion and holds back the storyline a little. In the end, I would rank The Last Days of Pompeii as decent, but unremarkable. If you’re a fan of period epics, a rental is recommended.
Video: How does it look?
The Last Days of Pompeii is presented in full frame, as intended. The transfer here is good, but isn’t quite good enough to be considered great. The print is in good condition for a film from 1935, but still shows some flaws, such as grain and debris. Not to an extreme level, especially for a film of this vintage, but I did want to mention these issues. The contrast is solid, so black levels have a stark presence and are consistent throughout the movie. I didn’t find the image to be that sharp, but it is not as soft as some films from this era, so for the material, this transfer is more than solid.
Audio: How does it sound?
A very clean mono track is present, which provides a solid experience and shows little in terms of age problems. I heard some harshness here and there, but in the end, this is an acceptable audio presentation. The vocals come off in fine form, with only slight problems at times and the sound effects are crisp also. This film doesn’t use sound effects for impact much though, so don’t expect a powerhouse mix, even by mono standards. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials.