Maciste (1915)

Genres - Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Costume Adventure, Sword-and-Sandal  |   Countries - Italy  |  
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If for no other reason, the 1914 Italian "spectacle" Cabiria would be memorable for its introduction of the popular strong-man hero Maciste. The role was created by former Genoa stevedore Bartolomeo Pagano, who scored such a hit with filmgoers that he was soon awarded his own series of films -- the first of which, appropriately enough, was titled Maciste. A combination Samson, Hercules and Tarzan, Maciste spends most of his first film vehicle protecting the lovely Josephine (Arline Costello) against the villainy of her usurping uncle, Duke Alexis (Robert Ormand). A virtual one-man army, our musclebound hero encounters and overcomes innumerable obstacles in his efforts to rescue the kidnapped heroine from the villain's lair. So closely identified was Bartolomeo Pagano with his most celebrated screen role that in many of his subsequent films, he was billed simply as Maciste. He died in 1947, after nearly two decades of wealthy retirement.