Satan's Rhapsody / Rapsodia satanica (1915)

4.5 out of 5

Nino Oxilia was to die in the combat of The Great War. He was twenty eight years of age and lost his life on Monte Grappa. The date was November the 17th 1917. Two years earlier the world was to experience a small slice of cinematic magic courtesy of Nino Oxilia in the form of the delightful Rapsodia satanica.

The story, with a running time of around forty-five minutes is a version of the story of Faust as a fading beauty, played by true beauty and diva Lyda Borelli, makes a pact with Mephisto, the devil, to recapture her former glory. Her beauty is restored, on condition that she is not to love, and this sets up the sad situation of the loneliness of Midas as a price for the narcissism of Dorian Gray. The devil's gift of course being a poison chalice.

The film is a work of great maturity from the director Oxilia and cinematographer Giorgio Ricci with great composition and location combining with a sparingly used colourisation to make Satan's Rhapsody an undisputed work of art. A joy from start to finish this wonderful movie is one that demands to be soaked up and reveled in for the incredible and distinct feature it is.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics