MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 4,005 this week

The Sign of the Cross (1932)

Passed  |   |  Drama, History  |  10 February 1933 (USA)
7.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,372 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 14 critic

A Roman soldier becomes torn between his love for a Christian woman and his loyalty to Emperor Nero.

Director:

(as Cecil B. De Mille)

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

IMDb Picks: April

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in April.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 13 Nov 2011
 
a list of 36 titles
created 10 Mar 2013
 
a list of 47 titles
created 19 Oct 2013
 
a list of 34 titles
created 8 months ago
 
a list of 25 titles
created 2 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Sign of the Cross (1932)

The Sign of the Cross (1932) on IMDb 7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Sign of the Cross.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Crusades (1935)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

King Richard and the Third Crusade (1190-1192) are given the DeMille treatment with more spectacle than history.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Loretta Young, Henry Wilcoxon, Ian Keith
Madam Satan (1930)
Certificate: Passed Musical | Romance | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Angela and Bob Brooks are an upper class couple. Unfortunately, Bob is an unfaithful husband. But Angela has a plan to win back her husband's affections. An elaborate masquerade ball is to ... See full summary »

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Kay Johnson, Reginald Denny, Lillian Roth
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Jesus Christ faces religious and political oppression during his ministry and in the days before his death and resurrection.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: H.B. Warner, Dorothy Cumming, Ernest Torrence
Cleopatra (1934)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The man-hungry Queen of Egypt leads Julius Caesar and Marc Antony astray, amid scenes of DeMillean splendor.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Henry Wilcoxon
Union Pacific (1939)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

One of the last bills signed by President Lincoln authorizes pushing the Union Pacific Railroad across the wilderness to California. But financial opportunist Asa Barrows hopes to profit ... See full summary »

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Akim Tamiroff
The Buccaneer (1938)
Adventure | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Semi-fictional account of pirate Jean Lafitte's involvement in the War of 1812.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Fredric March, Franciska Gaal, Akim Tamiroff
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

During the Revolution Princess Vera, though betrothed to Prince Dimitri, is attracted to the peasant Feodor.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: William Boyd, Elinor Fair, Robert Edeson
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A wealthy but neurotic Southern belle finds herself trapped in the hideout of a gang of vicious bootleggers. The gang's leader lusts after her, and is determined not to let anything stand in the way of his having her.

Director: Stephen Roberts
Stars: Miriam Hopkins, William Gargan, Jack La Rue
Manslaughter (1922)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Society-girl thrill seeker Lydia causes the death of motorcycle policeman and is prosecuted by her fiancé Daniel who describes in lurid detail the downfall of Rome. While she's in prison she reforms and Daniel becomes a wasted alcoholic.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Leatrice Joy, Thomas Meighan, Lois Wilson
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The first part tells the story of Moses leading the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land, his receipt of the tablets and the worship of the golden calf. The second part shows the efficacy ... See full summary »

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Theodore Roberts, Charles de Rochefort, Estelle Taylor
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Four passengers escape their bubonic plague-infested ship and land on the coast of a wild jungle. In order to reach safety they have to trek through the jungle, facing wild animals and attacks by primitive tribesmen.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Herbert Marshall, Mary Boland
The Squaw Man (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Jim Wyngate, an English aristocrat, comes to the American West under a cloud of suspicion for embezzlement actually committed by his cousin Lord Henry. In Wyoming, Wyngate runs afoul of ... See full summary »

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Warner Baxter, Lupe Velez, Eleanor Boardman
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Ian Keith ...
Arthur Hohl ...
Titus
Harry Beresford ...
Favius
Tommy Conlon ...
Stephan
Ferdinand Gottschalk ...
Vivian Tobin ...
William V. Mong ...
Licinius
Joyzelle Joyner ...
Ancaria (as Joyzelle)
Richard Alexander ...
Viturius
...
Strabo
Clarence Burton ...
Servillius
Edit

Storyline

After burning Rome, Emperor Nero decides to blame the Christians, and issues the edict that they are all to be caught and sent to the arena. Two old Christians are caught, and about to be hauled off, when Marcus, the highest military official in Rome, comes upon them. When he sees their stepdaughter Mercia, he instantly falls in love with her and frees them. Marcus pursues Mercia, which gets him into trouble with Emperor (for being easy on Christians) and with the Empress, who loves him and is jealous. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

nero | soldier | empress | arena | cat | See All (68) »

Taglines:

A picture which will proudly lead all the entertainments the world has ever seen

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 February 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Im Zeichen des Kreuzes  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(without intermission)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Before being purchased for Cecil B. DeMille, the rights to the 1895 play had been retained by Mary Pickford. See more »

Goofs

We see a woman tied up in the Coliseum as crocodiles are set loose on her. They are clearly alligators (broad snout), which were unknown to Europeans until Columbus's time, 15 centuries later. Only two countries have alligators: The United States and China.The Romans never went to either place. See more »

Quotes

[the Empress, soaking naked in a tub of ass's milk and calling to her handmaiden]
Poppaea: Dacia, you're a butterfly with the sting of a wasp. Take off your clothes. Get in here and tell me all about it.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Sex at 24 Frames Per Second (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Ancaria's Song and Dance (The Naked Moon)
(1932) (uncredited)
Music by Rudolph G. Kopp
Lyrics by Sidney Buchman
Played at the orgy and danced and sung by Joyzelle Joyner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"Quo Vadis" + DeMille = "The Sign of the Cross"
11 April 2004 | by See all my reviews

Whereas "The Sign of the Cross" minus DeMille leaves the ponderous "Quo Vadis?" This is a Biblical extravaganza the way only DeMille could have fashioned then, and I daresay, now and probably even into the future, anybody would be hard pressed to match or even emulate his style with such flair and finesse. This movie has something for everyone since it pretty much has it all--religion, morality, sacrifice, decadence, betrayal, love, lust, action, song and dance, sex (all kinds) and violence! It is the Golden Age of Rome under Nero in all its pomp and pageantry, opulence and depravity, splendor and sin. Charles Laughton is archetypal in his portrayal as the mad emperor, whose seemingly harmless jolly-rotund exterior and near-comic epicene foppishness belies an unstable and dangerous man, made all the more by the machinations of his beauteous wife Poppaea, in an eye-popping, attention-grabbing (and how!) Claudette Colbert in the role. She exudes all of the ominous, sensual stealth and wicked, reptilian cunning like some sort of exquisite she-viper, but tempers her performance from becoming too mired in malevolence with an air of uninhibited, at times playful, sexuality.

Laughton and Colbert are given relatively little screen time, a pity; however, their flashy roles enable them to overshadow the much larger parts of Fredric March and Elissa Landi. The former plays Marcus Superbus (what a name!), Roman prefect and elusive lust-object of Poppaea, whose loyalty to his service, his state and his emperor is tested when he falls for Mercia, a virtuous beauty, whose people exist under persecution when Nero conveniently scapegoats The Great Fire onto them in an agenda to rid the state of pesky Christians. While March does admittedly look almost ridiculously dandified with his finger-curled raven locks, made-up face and skimpy Beau Brummel-esque Roman attire, if one can overlook that he does turn in a convincing job, going from valiant, womanizing unbeliever to an increasingly understanding, desperately lovelorn character and is particularly impressive in the "conversion" scene without being heavy-handed or maudlin. Landi also holds her own, not as easy feat since her role is very pure and quite understated--if she had been too restrained she could easily have faded away and been dull, and if she played it too virginal she could have slipped into sappiness. As it is, she infuses Mercia with a dignified strength of spirit, a mature wisdom, a brave conviction and a solemn yet inspiring optimism (yet despite her thespian talents, I couldn't help to think that lookswise the ethereal, angel-like beauty of Loretta Young, who later starred in DeMille's "The Crusades," would have been more appropriate than the unremarkably beautiful Landi).

The film is on the longer side but never really feels as if it's "dragging" since there are many highlights to keep things rolling along, notably the few Laughton-Nero scenes, the "Naked Moon" segment replete with orgiastic environs and lesbians, and most famously, Colbert-Poppaea's visceral, sinfully sexy nude milk bath. But the real rewards comes near the finale, during the sexually charged, violence-drenched atmosphere of the Coliseum--after the usual gladiatorial to-the-death games, the spectacle and sensation really begins. The most remarkable among them being: the human-head crushing by Elephants, the African pygmies-Amazon women match, and the 2 nude young women--one horizontally tied to a pole like a pig on a spit for a Crocodilian feeding frenzy, the other vertically tethered for a male gorilla's, er, pleasure. The actual "action" is most instances is not shown, instead the camera pans to the audience reaction and this technique proves to be highly effective in fueling the viewers' imagination and horror.

p.s. There were some amusing tensions between cast members during this film. Apparently Laughton was shocked about March not wearing anything beneath his tunics, and exclaimed "The man is shameless!" Yet that didn't prevent the homosexual Laughton from trying to peep under March's costumes. And at the same time, March was annoyed by Laughton's peeping attempts, yet still went sans underwear.


21 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Laughton and DeMille disagreed Alan_Brady
Talk about your Roman nose jshaffer-1
Three truely Roman women in THE SIGN OF THE CROSS marcin_kukuczka
Discuss The Sign of the Cross (1932) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?