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The Sign of the Cross (1932)

Not Rated | | Drama, History | 10 February 1933 (USA)
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) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
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Titus
...
Favius Fontelas
Tommy Conlon ...
Stephan
...
Glabrio
...
Dacia
...
Licinius / Old Man Carrying Child
...
Ancaria (as Joyzelle)
...
Viturius
...
Strabo
Clarence Burton ...
Servillius
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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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 February 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El signo de la cruz  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(without intermission) | (original)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally released as a 124-minute feature. After the Hays Code was instituted, some of the more "sinful" scenes were cut for the film's re-release in 1944. At this time a newly filmed prologue and epilogue were added, so that the film's running time remained more or less the same as the original release. See more »

Goofs

As the Christians are holding their clandestine meeting at the Grove, right before the little girl asks her mother "Why don't they sing loud?", the shadow of the boom mic can be seen hovering over the people in the background. 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 American Horror Story: Nor'easter (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Christian Hymn No.1
(1932) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Rudolph G. Kopp
Sung a cappella by Christians at the meeting
Reprised by them after their capture and at the arena
Sung a cappella by Elissa Landi and Tommy Conlon
Played and sung offscreen at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

THE VERY BEST FROM C.B.
13 April 2004 | by See all my reviews

My favorite DeMille film. Charles Laughton and Claudette Colbert are delicious as the debauched emperor and empress of Rome. Prominent supporting players Arthur Hohl and Harry Beresford appeared in two horror classics (ISLAND OF LOST SOULS and DOCTOR X, respectively) the very same year. John Carradine can be seen as a condemned Christian on his way to the arena (you can also hear his voice as a spectator and as a gladiator). Very sharp viewers can also spot Dave O'Brien (a condemned Christian) and Kent Taylor (a disinterested spectator). Three famous scenes still impress today: Poppaea's milk bath; Ancaria's attempted lesbian seduction of Mercia; the outrageous arena sequence featuring beheadings, burnings, impalements, hungry crocodiles, untamed apes, bears, tigers and, of course, lions. Only C.B. could have gotten away with this in 1932! The closing cast list includes the characters Viturius, Servillius and Philodemus, but I'm not sure who they are. Viturius may have been Marcus' soldier-aide, although he doesn't look as burly as Richard Alexander. The other two must be Strabo's ugly, brutish companion and the old Christian man protective of the little orphan girl.


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