The autobiography of elegant criminal, François Eugène Vidocq, from his birth in a French jail in 1775 to his appointment as chief of police of Paris where he intends to rob the city bank. ... See full summary »
In 1846 the actress Gloria Vane is the leading star at the Adelphi Theatre in London. She is in love with the destitute nobleman Albert Finsbury. He is leaving for Australia to become an ... See full summary »
A serial killer in London is murdering young women whom he meets through the personal columns of newspapers; he announces each of his murders to the police by sending them a cryptic poem. ... See full summary »
Jenny Marsh, still dangerously attractive after 5 years in prison for killing a man in defense of her shady lover Harry, clashes at first with parole officer Griff Marat, who's determined ... See full summary »
Single parents Jean Bowen and Brad Stubbs meet at the train station when they send their kids (his 2 girls, her 2 boys) off to camp. Love inevitably blooms. But there are complications: ... See full summary »
Roman centurion Marcian is captured by Attila the Hun en route to Constantinople, but escapes. On arrival, he finds the eastern Roman emperor Theodosius plotting with Attila to look the other way while the latter marches against Rome. But Marcian gains the favor of Pulcheria, lovely sister of Theodosius, who favors a united Empire. As Attila marches, things look bleak for the weakened imperial forces. But the conqueror has an awe of the power of the Christians' God... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Before settling down to being almost exclusively the purveyor of glossy melodramas, Douglas Sirk tried his hand at the historical spectacle with this dealing with the exploits of legendary warrior Attila The Hun (vigorously played here by Jack Palance) and CAPTAIN LIGHTFOOT (1955), which I had watched as a child and also tried to acquire not too long ago (but it didn't pan out). Incidentally, I had some trouble with this one too at first but then got hold of a copy of surprisingly passable quality, despite an almost-constant reddish hue culled from a local TV screening dating from the 1980s (which print is owned by the former sexton film-buff who occasionally invites me and a few other friends over to partake of his extensive private collection)! The plot sees the Barbarian hordes joining forces (under the leadership of Attila) to attack the divided Roman Empire; the film starts with Attila releasing a Roman centurion (Jeff Chandler) in order to alert his rival Emperors of their coming: this proves an unwise decision because, with the help of the sister (Ludmilla Tcherina) of one of them, he manage to unite the Roman legions to face the impending onslaught. Other important figures in the intrigue-laden narrative are: a Roman General (Jeff Morrow) who assists Chandler in his task; Attila's sturdy daughter (Rita Gam) who, smitten with the Roman and drawn towards Christianity, begins to find her father's savage ways deplorable; and the Empress of a nation conquered by the Huns and taken for wife by Attila, but who takes her ultimate revenge by murdering him during the climactic battle. Chandler doesn't look too bad in Roman garb, while Palance predictably chews the scenery (his Attila is something of a neurotic who organizes his campaigns on the basis of his astrologer's advice!); on the other hand, Tcherina is saddled with a rather underwritten part but Gam does well in her mix of tomboy and ingénue. While Sirk's handling cannot be called impersonal, it was not exactly inspired either; that said, the film is not as pious and, consequently, dull as many of its ilk, the scope reasonably sprawling and the action highlights more than just adequate. By the way, for Palance this was a sort of precursor to Andre' De Toth's similarly interesting THE MONGOLS (1961), which was actually an Italian production; from that same country and contemporaneously with SIGN OF THE PAGAN came another outing about the bloodthirsty Hun, ATTILA (1954), with Anthony Quinn in the lead (my father had rented the English-language version back in the day but, having recently taped the original on late-night Italian TV, I'll be re-acquainting myself with it presently as a companion piece to Sirk's epic).
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?