Guido Brignone

Sog.: Gioacchino Forzano. F.: Maggiorino Zoppis. Int.: Carlo Aldini (Aiace), Ruy Vismara (emigrante), Vasco Creti, Armand Pouget, Giuseppe Brignone. Prod.: Rodolfi Film; Distr.: U.C.I.. 35mm. L.: 1249 m (l. orig.: 1531 m). D.: 61’ a 18 f/s. Col. (Desmet)

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Tuscan native Carlo Aldini moved to Bologna in his early teens and was a champion athlete before appearing in films from 1920. With his impressive physique, he was ideally suited to play the superhuman strongman types (forzuti) that were all the rage following the success of Cabiria (1914) and the Maciste offshoot series with Bartolomeo Pagano. Like Pagano and other forzuti actors such as Luciano Albertini (Sansone), Aldini established a recurring character with a name stemmed from mythology: Ajax, “a suave man-about-town who solves mysteries, performs muscular feats, and resolves social conundrums” (John D. Fair, David L. Chapman, Muscles in the Movies, University of Missouri Press 2020).
Aldini’s last outing as Ajax in an Italian production was La fuga di Socrate. Ajax’s fiancé Annita is the proud owner of a pet parrot named Socrates. When Ajax accidentally brings about the parrot’s escape, Annita gives him an ultimatum: either he brings Socrates back safely, or their wedding is off. This leads to an extended round-the-world chase with several twists and turns along the way. In the end, Annita regains her beloved parrot but loses her fiancé, for Ajax has met and fallen in love with another woman during his search for Socrates.
As with most forzuti films, the simple premise serves as a springboard for one setpiece after another, giving Aldini ample opportunity to display his athletic prowess and penchant for comedy. Director Guido Brignone’s adroit staging and flawless sense of timing ensure there’s never a dull moment, prompting reviewer Pier Giovanni Merciai to label the film “a little jewel of cinematic art” in his write-up in “La Rivista Cinematografica” (25 September 1923).
Shortly after the release of La fuga di Socrate, Aldini would make a flight of his own: to Germany, which had become a mecca to many Italian filmmakers and actors in the wake of the economic crisis and political upheaval in their home country after the First World War. Aldini’s first German film, Die närrische Wette des Lord Aldiny, was released at the end of November that same year.

Oliver Hanley


Copy From

Restored in 2009 by Cineteca di Bologna and Museo Nazionale del Cinema di Torino at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory from a positive nitrate print