The inevitable union of the vile emperor par excellence and the comedian who best incarnated the bad side of Italians
A cult film with a stellar cast: Vittorio De Sica as Seneca, Gloria Swanson as Agrippina and… can you imagine a better Poppea than Brigitte Bardot?
The image of Alberto Sordi’s Nero, with a curly ginger wig and beard, has rightfully entered into the history of Italian comedy. The cinematic union of the vile emperor par excellence and the comedian who more than anyone else expressed, in tragicomic form, the bad side of Italians, inevitably had to happen. Sordi brought such an incredible mixture of childish behaviour and brainless cruelty to his Nero, that it became a reoccurring staple of the Italian comic tradition. In the same way that Petrolini’s portrayal of a bitter and wounded Nero did (Nerone 1930). He is supported by an absolutely first-rate cast, all at the top of their game: Vittorio De Sica insures the perfect theatricality of a Seneca always ready to behave badly; Gloria Swanson as Agrippina still radiates all the unhealthy air of Sunset Boulevard; and Brigitte Bardot… Well, can you think of a better Poppea?
All Nero wants to do is enjoy life with his beloved Poppea, but his mother Agrippina is constantly harassing him: she wants him to go to war and forgot about the woman she considers a tramp. With the help of Seneca, the emperor tries several times to eliminate his detested parent, but it seems she has more lives than a cat. However, Nero isn’t the type to easily lose heart.