6.9/10
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58 user 15 critic

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:
...
...
...
...
...
Arthur Hohl ...
...
Favius Fontelas
Tommy Conlon ...
Stephan
...
Vivian Tobin ...
...
Licinius / Old Man Carrying Child
Joyzelle Joyner ...
Ancaria (as Joyzelle)
...
Viturius
...
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

Plot Keywords:

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

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:

Im Zeichen des Kreuzes  »

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

Since Cecil B. DeMille's previous few films had been box-office failures, he agreed to work on this project at a drastically lowered salary and with a tighter budget than seemed reasonable at the time. Mitchell Leisen and production manager Roy Burns were the only collaborators he was allowed to keep on, and they also worked at reduced salaries. Paramount assigned Alexander Hall to edit the film, but DeMille was able to get him replaced by his regular editor, Anne Bauchens. See more »

Goofs

A gorilla is seen menacing a chained Christian woman in the arena but in reality gorilla's where not seen until 1856-59 when explorer Paul Du Chaillu became the first westerner to see a live gorilla during his travel through western equatorial Africa . See more »

Quotes

Emperor Nero: My head is splitting... the wine last night, the music... the delicious debauchery!
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 »

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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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