IMDb > The Last Days of Pompeii (1935)
The Last Days of Pompeii
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

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

Photos (See all 2 | slideshow) Videos
The Last Days of Pompeii -- In ancient Pompeii, a blacksmith becomes a champion gladiator during turbulent times leading up to the fatal eruption of Vesuvius. Starring Preston Foster and Basil Rathbone.

Overview

User Rating:
6.5/10   689 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 4% 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:
The Dangers of Reading a "Classic" Novel See more (25 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)

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


Production CompaniesDistributors

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:
Despite all the spectacle, the movie was a box-office flop, and required several re-releases (on a double bill with King Kong (1933)) to earn back its cost.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: As Vesuvius erupts, a large gladiator statue topples in the arena. In the first view, a long shot, the statue cracks open across the chest, at the bottom of the rib cage. In the next view, from the perspective of a man about to be crushed, the torso is intact, and the crack is at the statue's neck.See more »
Quotes:
Cleon, the Slave Dealer:[pandering] If you're a rich man, a few coppers wouldn't interest you.
[giving Marcus a coin]
Cleon, the Slave Dealer:This is for your work...
[he gives him a second copper]
Cleon, the Slave Dealer:... and this is for saving my life.
Marcus:[laughing with contempt] Just about what the job is worth!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Edited into The Toast of New York (1937)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
7 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
The Dangers of Reading a "Classic" Novel, 16 January 2006
Author: theowinthrop from United States

I wonder how many of you read any of these novels: THE CAXTONS, THE LAST OF THE BARONS, MY NOVEL, PAUL CLIFFORD, EUGENE ARAM, THE COMING RACE. Any takers out there? Well how about PELHAM (which has nothing to do with an 18th Century British Prime Minister, nor an area of the Bronx near the Connecticut Border)? No? Well, how about THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII? Bet you heard that title somewhere? It has been the subject of about seven or eight major productions in the movies from the silent period (a major full length version by the Italians in 1913 or so - which was a flop) to a television version in 1985 (that remains something of a critical joke to this day - all 240 odd minutes of it). Most people agree that of all the versions of the story, the 1935 version starring Preston Forster and Basil Rathbone (as a sad, philosophical Pontius Pilate) is the best. That it is basically entertaining is true. That it jettisoned the novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton is equally true. That the novel is unreadable today is also true.

Bulwer-Lytton has become, in a small way, a literary immortal from Victorian England - actually from late Regency through Victorian England). He was a wealthy landowner and aristocrat, who would be in the British cabinet as Secretary of State for the Colonies in the middle 1850s. He was the father of a would-be poet, who rose to be Viceroy of India. Lytton was a baronet when he started writing in 1825, and would eventually be an Earl (First Earl Lytton). He wrote all the titles (including THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII) which I mentioned. Only PELHAM, his novel of Regency England's aristocracy (which he knew well) and THE LAST DAYS are still reprinted. That's because (as his own contemporaries - especially the greatly amused Thackeray noticed) Lord Lytton's ideas out paced his abilities. He wrote bad prose. A "Bulwer-Lytton" prize is now presented every year to those writers who write the worst, cliché-full opening paragraph for a novel. It is named for him because of the start of his novel EUGENE ARAM: "It was a dark and stormy night...."

He tried to be original in his concepts. EUGENE ARAM was based on the 18th Century schoolteacher, linguist, and murderer (hanged in 1759). Lytton tried to make a case that Aram's philosophical beliefs allowed him to take the blame for the murder he was hung for. The story sold well in the 1830s, but it met with mostly critical rejection. In MY NOVEL, his villain, Baron Levy, actually has a very human reason for his improbably complicated vengeance on two men: he's angry of their attentions to a woman he loves. Levy is Jewish, so it was a curious thing to make his motivation so mundane as love for a woman - but Bulwer spoiled it shortly after by adding the image of a vengeful Jew who had been insulted. That was always the problem with Bulwer-Lytton. He's a literary Ed Wood, in that his concepts outstrip his abilities (and in comparison Wood is more bearable - one of his movies lasts about an hour or so, while Bulwer can write a novel of over 700 pages!).

The reason THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII happened to have a long shelf life is that the subject (the small town near Naples that was buried in a sea of ash and lava by Vesuvius, and rediscovered preserved 1,700 years afterward) fascinates us, and to his credit Bulwer did his classical history homework. But as a piece of fiction his characters are dry as dust. One of the more interesting is a wealthy Egyptian who plans to take over the Roman Empire. He's the villain in the plot. The events that destroyed Pompeii are clearly revealed to us, including the earthquake that hit the town a decade before the volcanic eruption.

So when the movie was made they wisely jettisoned the actual story line (which I plowed through when I read the boring novel about 1985). Foster is a blacksmith who becomes a successful gladiator, and then a wealthy land owner near Pompeii. Early he lived in Judea, and met Christ, and he (like his old patron Pilate) are aware of an alternative to the materialist and corrupt empire. The film is old fashioned, but bearably so, and gave Foster one of his best screen performances (his retired police captain in KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL is it's closest rival). Never a leading man in major productions, Foster demonstrated here that he could handle lead roles. Except for an occasional film though he usually was in supporting parts. For his performance, and Rathbone's Pilate, and for jettisoning Bulwer's idiot writing and plot, I'll give this an 8.

By the way, if you want to see an interesting, literary view of the later life of Pilate - by a Nobel Prize Winner no less - read the short story, THE PROCURATOR OF JUDEA by Anatole France. Far from being so thoughtful and sad as Rathbone's Pilate acts, France's version of the Procurator seems more realistic regarding his memories.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (25 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Last Days of Pompeii (1935)

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Ben-Hur Quo Vadis The Robe Spartacus Fellini Satyricon
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Adventure section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.