IMDb > The Last Days of Pompeii (1935)
The Last Days of Pompeii
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The Last Days of Pompeii (1935) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

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6.5/10   633 votes »
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Down 10% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers:
James Ashmore Creelman (story) and
Melville Baker (story) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Last Days of Pompeii on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
18 October 1935 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
In the doomed Roman city, a gentle blacksmith becomes a corrupt gladiator, while his son leans toward Christianity. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
A Very Under-Appreciated Film See more (24 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Preston Foster ... Marcus

Alan Hale ... Burbix

Basil Rathbone ... Pontius Pilate
John Wood ... Flavius, as a Man

Louis Calhern ... Prefect (Allus Martius)
David Holt ... Flavius, as a Boy
Dorothy Wilson ... Clodia
Wyrley Birch ... Leaster
Gloria Shea ... Julia
Frank Conroy ... Gaius Tanno
William V. Mong ... Cleon, the Slave Dealer
Murray Kinnell ... Simon, Judean Peasant
Henry Kolker ... Warder
Edward Van Sloan ... Calvus
Zeffie Tilbury ... The Wise Woman
John Davidson ... Phoebus, Runaway Slave
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Betty Allen ... Woman (uncredited)
Reginald Barlow ... The Janitor of the Slave Market (uncredited)
Maurice Black ... Attendant in Gladiators' Training Room (uncredited)

Ward Bond ... Murmex of Carthage, a Gladiator (uncredited)
Tom Brower ... Runaway Slave (uncredited)
Curley Dresden ... Cato the Gladiator (uncredited)
Helen Freeman ... Martha (uncredited)
Winston Hibler ... Marcellus (uncredited)
Thomas E. Jackson ... The Lanista (uncredited)
Bruce King ... Scythian Prisoner (uncredited)
Marc Loebell ... Lucius (uncredited)
Michael Mark ... Pompeii Nobleman (uncredited)

Edwin Maxwell ... The Augur, a Pompeii Official (uncredited)
Margaret McWade ... Calvus' Wife (uncredited)
Jack Mulhall ... Citizen of Pompeii (uncredited)
John T. Murray ... Pilate's Servant (uncredited)
Ole M. Ness ... Drusus, Runaway Slave (uncredited)
Marie Osborne ... Extra (uncredited)
Jason Robards Sr. ... Tax Gatherer (uncredited)
Jim Thorpe ... Spectator Tossing Coins (uncredited)
Hannah Williams ... Citizen of Pompeii (uncredited)
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Directed by
Ernest B. Schoedsack 
Merian C. Cooper (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
James Ashmore Creelman (story) and
Melville Baker (story)

Ruth Rose (screenplay)

Boris Ingster (collaborator for adaptation)

Jerry Hutchinson  contributor to treatment (uncredited)
G.B. Stern  contributor to treatment (uncredited)

Produced by
Merian C. Cooper .... producer
 
Original Music by
Roy Webb 
 
Cinematography by
J. Roy Hunt 
Jack Cardiff (uncredited)
 
Film Editing by
Archie Marshek  (as Archie F. Marshek)
 
Art Direction by
Van Nest Polglase 
 
Costume Design by
Aline Bernstein 
 
Makeup Department
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Howard Smit .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ivan Thomas .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Byron L. Crabbe .... art technician (as Byron Crabbe)
Alfred Herman .... associate art director (as Al Herman)
Thomas Little .... set dresser
Aloys Bohnen .... art work (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Walter Elliott .... sound effects
Clem Portman .... sound recordist
 
Special Effects by
Harry Redmond Sr. .... special effects (as Harry Redmond)
Vernon L. Walker .... photographic effects (as Vernon Walker)
Harry Redmond Jr. .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Marcel Delgado .... miniatures (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Yakima Canutt .... stunts (uncredited)
Cliff Lyons .... stunts (uncredited)
Buster Wiles .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Eddie Linden Jr. .... photographic technician (as Eddie Linden)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Philip Faulkner Jr. .... music recordist (as P.J. Faulkner Jr.)
Maurice De Packh .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Hugo Friedhofer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Bernhard Kaun .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Bernhard Kaun .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Max Steiner .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Roy Webb .... musical director (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Willis H. O'Brien .... chief technician (as Willis O'Brien)
John Speaks .... production associate
Russell Lewis .... director: dance numbers (uncredited)
Elizabeth McGaffey .... researcher (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
96 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Victor System)
Certification:
Australia:PG | USA:Approved (certificate #1263) | West Germany:12 (f)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
According to the book The RKO Story, this film cost $237,000 more than it grossed in its original release, but finally broke even with the box office from a 1949 re-release, paired with She (1935).See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: The central subplot of the meeting with Jesus is impossible, as Pompeii was destroyed after his death in 79 A.D. Given these dates, Flavius would have been a middle aged man, clearly not the youth in his 20's as portrayed in the film.See more »
Quotes:
Cleon, the Slave Dealer:I don't think you should look down on me, my friend. Aren't we in the same business? We both furnish amusement for the people.
Marcus:I risk my life with the man I'm fighting. You buy and sell wretches to be slaughtered as a spectacle. I'm not proud of myself, but, by Jupiter, compared to you I'm a holy man.
Cleon, the Slave Dealer:You will never be an old one. It isn't bravery that survives; it's brains.
Marcus:Yes, it is well known that the rat lives longer than the lion, but who wants to be a rat? I wouldn't do your dirty work - not to save my life!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in An Unfathomable Friendship (2003) (V)See more »

FAQ

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
A Very Under-Appreciated Film, 12 January 2007
Author: jcog from United States

"The Last Days of Pompeii" was a film that captivated me during childhood and still intrigues me today, albeit on a different level. As viewers' comments have noted, "Last Days" is a little heavy handed with its moral theme and the character development of Marcus the Blacksmith-turned Gladiator-turned head of the Arena. Marcus (Preston Foster) is an innately good man, blessed with a loving wife, baby son, and a career, until an out-of-control chariot shatters his existence. With his wife (Gloria Shea) nearing death, Marcus must turn to the Arena, against his earlier values, now faced with the reality that money is the key to everything. Marcus becomes a killing machine, progressing up the gladiator billing to the top spot, but then adopts the son, Flavius (David Holt), of a slain adversary, resulting in another change. Acquiring a Greek slave (Wyrley Birch) to tutor his son, Marcus eventually heads for the Holy Land to make his fortune, meets Pontius Pilate (Basil Rathbone), and encounters Christ. Pilate uses Marcus in a symbiotic way that benefits them both, but it is the Lord who heals Holt when he lies near death. Marcus turns his back on the Lord, despite the protests of Simon (Murray Kinnell), in order to get his money back to Pompeii. The scene shifts, with Flavius (John Wood) now a young man appalled by the events in the Arena and struggling to remember the man who healed him in his youth. The conflict between father and son, arrival of Pilate to take Flavius to Rome, the corrupt Prefect (Louis Calhern) who demands gore for the "Games," and Flavius' romance with a slave (Dorothy Wilson) all intertwine and lead to the climatic eruption of Vesuvius. Marcus redeems himself in the emotional conclusion.

As a child, I loved Marcus' spiritual journey from innocent joy to sorrow to hard-hearted bitterness to mercenary greed and, finally, to redemption. As an adult, I still like the tale, but have focused more on the acting and production values. I disagree with the commentators who call the acting "wooden." Foster gives one of the best performances of his career as Marcus. As many note, Rathbone renders a sympathetic, sensitive delineation of Pilate. And the supporting players are superb: Edward Van Sloan as a kindly neighbor, Frank Conroy as a kind but condescending noble, Gloria Shea as the young wife, Dorothy Wilson as the son's love interest, Calhern as the despicable Prefect, Zeffie Tilbury as an old Greek soothsayer, etc. Even the minor roles are well-etched: Ward Bond as a bragging opponent of Marcus, Jason Robards Sr. as the tax gatherer, Reginald Barlow as the slave market proprietor, Kinnell as the Judean peasant, and many more. One can even spot Jim Thorpe throwing coins after a gladiator battle. A few players did very underrated work in "The Last Days of Pompeii." Alan Hale Sr., as Burbix, captures the rough edges of a criminal and then the fierce loyalty to his understanding friend Marcus. William V. Mong, as the growling-at-times, cowering-with-fear at others, slave dealer, Cleon, gives a wonderful, colorful performance that is anything but "wooden." But it is Wyrley Birch, as Leaster, the kindly Greek scholar/slave, who provides the moral compass for the film, counseling Marcus, tolerating his greed and seeming imperviousness to the suffering of others, while educating his son Flavius that there is a better way and far superior values than those his father seems to endorse. Birch walks the tightrope and never becomes overly sentimental. Truly, Leaster represents the apex of Birch's career.

"The Last Days of Pompeii" is an enjoyable film on many levels, including as a morality tale. It is much more than that, however. And for lovers of old character actors, it is a treasure trove!

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