IMDb > The Sign of the Cross (1932)
The Sign of the Cross
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The Sign of the Cross (1932) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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Director:
Writers:
Waldemar Young (screen play) and
Sidney Buchman (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Sign of the Cross on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 February 1933 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
A picture which will proudly lead all the entertainments the world has ever seen
Plot:
A Roman soldier becomes torn between his love for a Christian woman and his loyalty to Emperor Nero. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
"Quo Vadis" + DeMille = "The Sign of the Cross" See more (54 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Fredric March ... Marcus

Elissa Landi ... Mercia

Claudette Colbert ... Poppaea

Charles Laughton ... Nero
Ian Keith ... Tigellinus
Arthur Hohl ... Titus
Harry Beresford ... Favius
Tommy Conlon ... Stephan
Ferdinand Gottschalk ... Glabrio
Vivian Tobin ... Dacia
William V. Mong ... Licinius
Joyzelle Joyner ... Ancaria (as Joyzelle)
Richard Alexander ... Viturius

Nat Pendleton ... Strabo
Clarence Burton ... Servillius
Harold Healy ... Tybul
Robert Seiter ... Philodemus (as Robert Manning)

Charles Middleton ... Tyros
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joel Allen ... Bombadier (1944 Re-Release Prologue) (uncredited)

Mischa Auer ... Christian in Dungeon (uncredited)
Lionel Belmore ... Bettor of 300 Silver (uncredited)
True Boardman ... Nero's Slave (uncredited)
Marjorie Bonner ... Roman Woman (uncredited)
Joe Bonomo ... Mute Torturer (uncredited)

Henry Brandon ... Colosseum Spectator (uncredited)
George Bruggeman ... Nero's Slave (uncredited)
Horace B. Carpenter ... (uncredited)

John Carradine ... Christian Martyr / Gladiator Leader / Voice in Coliseum Mob (uncredited)
Lane Chandler ... Chained Christian (uncredited)

Ruth Clifford ... Christian Mother at Meeting (uncredited)
William Forrest ... Col. Hugh Mason (1944 Re-Release Prologue) (uncredited)
Wynne Gibson ... Orgy Guest (uncredited)
Dorothy Granger ... (uncredited)
Carol Holloway ... (uncredited)
John James ... Lt. Herb Hanson (1944 Re-Release Prologue) (uncredited)
Otto Lederer ... (uncredited)
Lillian Leighton ... Woman Getting Gold for Cup (uncredited)
Edward LeSaint ... Enthusiastic Spectator (uncredited)
Wilfred Lucas ... (uncredited)
James Millican ... Capt. Kevin Driscoll - (1944 Re-Release Prologue) (uncredited)
Gertrude Norman ... Christian (uncredited)
Wedgwood Nowell ... Man Accepting 300 Silver Bet (uncredited)
Dave O'Brien ... Christian on Stairway (uncredited)
William H. O'Brien ... Man Who Heard Lions All Morning (uncredited)
Hal Price ... Spectator (uncredited)
Sally Rand ... Crocodiles' Victim (uncredited)
Tom Ricketts ... Sleeping Spectator (uncredited)
Stanley Ridges ... Chaplain Lloyd (1944 Re-Release Prologue) (uncredited)
Angelo Rossitto ... Impaled Pygmy (uncredited)
Ynez Seabury ... Little Girl (uncredited)
Arthur Shields ... Chaplain Costello (1944 Re-Release Prologue) (uncredited)
Jerome Storm ... (uncredited)
Kent Taylor ... Romantic Spectator (uncredited)
Oliver Thorndike ... Lt. Robert Hammond (1944 Re-Release Prologue) (uncredited)
Tom Tully ... Hoboken (1944 Re-Release Prologue) (uncredited)
Florence Turner ... Christian (uncredited)
Ethel Wales ... Complaining Wife (uncredited)

Directed by
Cecil B. DeMille  (as Cecil B. De Mille)
 
Writing credits
Waldemar Young (screen play) and
Sidney Buchman (screen play)

Wilson Barrett (from the play by)

Dudley Nichols  1944 prologue (uncredited)
Henryk Sienkiewicz  novel "Quo Vadis" (uncredited source)

Produced by
Cecil B. DeMille .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Jay Chernis (uncredited)
Rudolph G. Kopp (uncredited)
Paul Marquardt (uncredited)
Milan Roder (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Karl Struss (photographed by)
 
Film Editing by
Anne Bauchens (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
Mitchell Leisen (uncredited)
 
Costume Design by
Mitchell Leisen (costumes by)
 
Production Management
Roy Burns .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mitchell Leisen .... assistant director (uncredited)
Edward Salven .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Mitchell Leisen .... art director: 1944 prologue (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Treg Brown .... sound effects editor (uncredited)
Harry Lindgren .... sound engineer (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
George T. Clemens .... camera operator (uncredited)
Otto Dyar .... still photographer (uncredited)
Cliff Shirpser .... assistant camera (uncredited)
William E. Thomas .... still photographer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Charles Gemora .... gorilla costume creator (uncredited)
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Nat W. Finston .... music supervisor (uncredited)
George Parrish .... orchestrator: prologue (1944 re-release ) (uncredited)
Victor Young .... composer: prologue (1944 re-release ) (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Chester Seay .... archery instructor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production Companies
  • Paramount Pictures (presents) (as Paramount Publix Corporation) (Cecil B. De Mille's Production)
Distributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
West Germany:108 min | 122 min (without intermission)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Certification:
Argentina:16 | Norway:16 (1947) | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #1581-R, 23 September 1935 for re-release) | West Germany:16 (f)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
When the movie opened nationally on 10 February 1933, there was a "bank holiday" because of the Depression. With all the banks closed, theater managers accepted IOUs from patrons wishing to see the movie, and Cecil B. DeMille reported most of those were eventually redeemed.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: Nero's pet dogs are two Arabian Salukis, one of the few modern breeds that can trace its lineage to ancient times. However, that particular breed was unknown in Europe until the 12th Century, when returning Crusaders introduced them for the first time.See more »
Quotes:
Emperor Nero:My head is splitting... the wine last night, the music... the delicious debauchery!See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The Passion: Films, Faith & Fury (2006) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
Christian Hymn No.1See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
20 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
"Quo Vadis" + DeMille = "The Sign of the Cross", 11 April 2004
Author: retro_gal

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.

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