Sup. R.: Giovanni Pastrone; F.: Augusto Battagliotti, Giovanni Tomatis, Carlo Franzoni; Effetti speciali e trucchi: Segundo de Chomón; Int.: Bartolomeo Pagano (Maciste), Fido Schirru (Fritz Pluffer), Enrico Gemelli (Conte di Pratolungo), Marussia Allesti (Contessina di Pratolungo), Evangelina Vitagliani, Felice Minotti; Prod.: Itala-Film. 35 mm. L. or.: 2084 m. L.: 1913. m. D.: 93’ a 18 f/s. Tinted, toned.
War propaganda films produced in Italy during the First World War often involved melodramatic genre clichés. Interestingly, however, the more successful moments take place when the wartime tone is mixed with comedy, as in this wonderful film Maciste alpino. May 24, 1915, Maciste and his crew are busy making a film in a small border town in the Dolomites. Their enthusiasm at the announcement of going to war gets them into trouble: they are sent to a prison camp with other Italians and are threatened with deportation. Maciste, however, will take care of the situation, kicking the Austrians in the rear, freeing the prisoners and, after resolving some size issues, donning the Italian alpine troop uniform. Spectacular scenes alternate with some of the greatest moments of Maciste humor (impersonation of the Kaiser to distract the guards, using a boot as a blunt instrument, the duels with Fritz Pluffer). The directors of photography play with light and reflections on the snow in the mountain scenes, while Segundo De Chomón, the genius of special effects, “fixes” the shots to render the soldiers’ deeds even more heroic. Unlike in other films, Maciste’s body appears less as an exceptional quality that makes him different from the average man; instead, it makes him more like his fellow soldiers. The strongman turns into a product and represents the virtues of the Italian people, considering that “The sons of Italy are all Maciste”.
Stella Dagna, Claudia Gianetto
The restoration was a joint project of the Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Turin, the Comune di Valtournenche and the Fondazione Cineteca Italiana in Milan. The film was restored in 2000 at the Blue Film laboratory in Milan using a tinted nitrate positive print kept at the Turin Museum.