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

User Rating:
7.0/10   1,292 votes »
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Up 9% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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:
DeMille At His Most Decadent 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:
Since Cecil B. DeMille's previous few films had been box office failures, he agreed to work on this project at a drastically lowered personal rate, and with a tighter budget than seemed reasonable at the time. Mitchell Leisen and production manager Roy Burns were the only frequent collaborators DeMille 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:
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 »
Soundtrack:
Christian Hymn No.1See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
31 out of 34 people found the following review useful.
DeMille At His Most Decadent, 8 March 2000
Author: Ron Oliver (revilorest@juno.com) from Forest Ranch, CA

Rome - First Century A. D. Nero, the mad Emperor & Poppaea, his vile Empress, engage in every sort of vice & degradation. Wanton cruelty becomes a spectator sport and virtue & innocence are denigrated. Slowly, however, a new Power is growing. People calling themselves Christians are secretly spreading their Faith ever more widely. They are horribly persecuted, but they continue to multiply. Which will eventually triumph - the might of Imperial Rome, or the gentle ones who follow THE SIGN OF THE CROSS?

This Cecil B. DeMille epic is a vivid retelling of the struggles of the first Christians. Paramount gave the film a lavish production and DeMille wrings every drop of piety & puerile interest possible from the plot. Fredric March is stalwart as the Roman official who falls in love with a beautiful Christian girl. While his ultimate conversion wouldn't convince the average modern Baptist, he holds his own in scenes with other performers whom are allowed to behave outrageously. Elissa Landi is sweet as the virtuous Believer, effectively underplaying her role.

`Do you want to play the most wicked woman in the world?' DeMille asked Claudette Colbert one day on the studio lot. She did & she does memorably, from her eye-popping milk bath scene to her revenge on her would-be lover. Sniveling, whining and wearing a huge fake nose, Charles Laughton is pure effeminate evil as Nero (notice his catamite), a foul blot on the face of humanity & stealing all his scenes from everyone else. History tells us that Nero eventually murdered Poppaea by stomping her to death...

Ian Keith is enjoyable as an unpunished villain. Ferdinand Gottshalk & Vivian Tobin are effectively degraded as Roman bacchants. Film mavens will recognize the voice of John Carradine, calling `We who are about to die, salute you!' out of the arena to Nero; he can later be spotted in the role of a Christian martyr ascending the dungeon stairs to his death.

DeMille had just returned to Paramount from a 3-year, 3-picture stint at MGM, where he was remarkably subdued. Back at his home studio he was allowed more license. Wrapping a little sermon up in a lot of sin, he filled this pre-Production Code drama with plenty of the latter. When THE SIGN OF THE CROSS was re-released in 1944, many cuts had to be made. The film now having been restored, it's not difficult to guess which sections those were. The Dance of the Naked Moon & much of the antics in the final arena sequence are beyond the bounds of good taste, but certainly not beyond the bounds of Cecil B. DeMille.

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