Returning to Rome after three years in the field, General Marcus Vinicius meets Lygia and falls in love with her, though as a Christian she wants nothing to do with a warrior. Though she grew up Roman, the adopted daughter of a retired general, Lygia is technically a hostage of Rome. Marcus gets Emperor Nero to give her to him for services rendered but finds himself succumbing gradually to her Christian faith. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
Filmed at sprawling Cinecitta Studios that had been opened by Benito Mussolini in 1924 as part of the dictator's master plan to make Rome the pre-eminent world capital. Mussolini and Hollywood producer Hal Roach later negotiated to form a partnership, R.A.M.,("Roach and Mussolini") Corporation, which was ultimately aborted. This fascist business alliance horrified 1930's studio moguls and ultimately led to Roach defecting from his MGM distribution deal to United Artists in 1937. Filming in post-war Italy offered the studios immense facilities and cheap Italian labor and extras, of which thousands were required. Hollywood would return to Cinecitta often, producing many of its biggest spectacles there, including Helen of Troy (1956), Ben-Hur (1959) and Cleopatra (1963), the latter two dwarfing even _Quo Vadis_ in scale. It would be later utilized by many Italian producers, including Federico Fellini. See more »
Obvious "blue spill" on characters in several scenes, revealing the use of the blue screen process to composite actors in previously shot footage. Examples of this include the close-ups in the chariot scene and the scenes of characters overlooking the burning of Rome. See more »
In my opinion Mervyn LeRoy's fantastic version of "Quo Vadis?" is definitely one of the very finest epics about Roman empire ever filmed. Fact that it didn't won a single Oscar was a shameful disgrace. Eight years later MGM released a movie that was supposed to be bigger, longer and better than "Quo Vadis?". It was of course "Ben-Hur", motion picture that collected record-breaking amount of Academy Awards and respect. Certainly it was a bigger and longer spectacle but I still like this one even more.
I find "Quo Vadis?" just somehow more entertaining and appealing. Sir Peter Ustinov's magnificent performance is just about half of the whole film. I loved his brilliant Oscar awarded supporting role in Stanley Kubrick's "Spartacus" and I have to say that he's just as irresistible as the insane Emperor Nero. It's one of the greatest roles of his career and just another proof that he really is a true genius among actors. I have no choice but to give "Quo Vadis?" 10 out of 10 and I guess I even have to end my review with a worn-out cliché: they don't make movies like this anymore.
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