6.9/10
1,894
61 user 23 critic

The Sign of the Cross (1932)

Not Rated | | Drama, History | 10 February 1933 (USA)
A Roman soldier becomes torn between his love for a Christian woman and his loyalty to Emperor Nero.

Director:

Cecil B. DeMille (as Cecil B. De Mille)

Writers:

Waldemar Young (screen play), Sidney Buchman (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fredric March ... Marcus Superbus, Prefect of Rome
Elissa Landi ... Mercia
Claudette Colbert ... Empress Poppaea
Charles Laughton ... Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar
Ian Keith ... Tigellinus
Arthur Hohl ... Titus
Harry Beresford ... Favius Fontelas
Tommy Conlon ... Stephan
Ferdinand Gottschalk ... Glabrio
Vivian Tobin ... Dacia
William V. Mong ... Licinius / Old Man Carrying Child
Joyzelle Joyner ... Ancaria (as Joyzelle)
Richard Alexander ... Viturius
Nat Pendleton ... Strabo
Clarence Burton ... Servillius
Learn more

More Like This 

The Crusades (1935)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

King Richard and the Third Crusade (1190-1192) are given the DeMille treatment with more spectacle than history.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Loretta Young, Henry Wilcoxon, Ian Keith
Cleopatra (1934)
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The man-hungry Queen of Egypt leads Julius Caesar and Mark Antony astray, amid scenes of DeMillean splendor.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Henry Wilcoxon
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Four passengers escape their bubonic plague-infested ship and land on the coast of a wild jungle. In order to reach safety they have to trek through the jungle, facing wild animals and attacks by primitive tribesmen.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Herbert Marshall, Mary Boland
Union Pacific (1939)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In 1862, Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads compete westward across the wilderness toward California.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Akim Tamiroff
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Jesus Christ faces religious and political oppression during his ministry and in the days before his death and resurrection.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: H.B. Warner, Dorothy Cumming, Ernest Torrence
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After hearing the story of Moses, the sons of a devout Christian mother go their own ways, while the atheist brother's breaking of the Ten Commandments leads to tragedy.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Theodore Roberts, Charles de Rochefort, Estelle Taylor
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

High school students band together to dispense vigilante justice against a vicious gangland boss.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Charles Bickford, Judith Allen, Richard Cromwell
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Elizabeth Barrett's tyrannical father has forbidden any of his family to marry. Nevertheless, Elizabeth falls in love with the poet Robert Browning.

Director: Sidney Franklin
Stars: Norma Shearer, Fredric March, Charles Laughton
Madam Satan (1930)
Certificate: Passed Musical | Romance | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Angela and Bob Brooks are an upper class couple. Unfortunately, Bob is an unfaithful husband. But Angela has a plan to win back her husband's affections. An elaborate masquerade ball is to ... See full summary »

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Kay Johnson, Reginald Denny, Lillian Roth
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Florida ship salvager, Loxi, falls for Jack, captain of a ship wrecked on the Key West shore. However, their romance is complicated by the arrival of another suitor, and eventually leads to tragedy.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Ray Milland, John Wayne, Paulette Goddard
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
Director: Frederick A. Thomson
Stars: William Farnum, Rosina Henley, Sheridan Block
Certificate: Passed Adventure | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A dozen British soldiers, lost in a Mesopotamian desert during World War I, are menaced by unseen Arab enemies.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Victor McLaglen, Boris Karloff, Wallace Ford
Edit

Storyline

After burning Rome, Emperor Nero decides to blame the Christians, and issues the edict that they are all to be caught and sent to the arena. Two old Christians are caught, and about to be hauled off, when Marcus, the highest military official in Rome, comes upon them. When he sees their stepdaughter Mercia, he instantly falls in love with her and frees them. Marcus pursues Mercia, which gets him into trouble with Emperor (for being easy on Christians) and with the Empress, who loves him and is jealous. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A picture which will proudly lead all the entertainments the world has ever seen

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Cecil B. DeMille was pressured to drop Ancaria's seductive dance in the orgy scene by Will H. Hays of the Hays Office, but DeMille adamantly refused. Still, censors often cut out gruesome parts of the film, particularly, the cart carrying dead bodies out of the arena, a gorilla dancing around a semi-nude girl, elephants stomping Christians and picking them up with their tusks, crocodiles about to eat a bound girl, etc. These scenes are all in the restored version. See more »

Goofs

When the boxers are fighting with the spiked gloves, the loser gets punched in the face. He is shown with scars on his face and spits blood onto his chest. In the next shot (from a slightly different angle) the scars are there but the blood on his chest is gone. See more »

Quotes

Poppaea: Do you love this girl? Answer me!
Marcus Superbus, Prefect of Rome: Well, then I... I don't know.
Poppaea: That says you perhaps do. I could laugh with Rome about it if I didn't care so much. Marcus Superbus... caught at last by a Christian wanton.
Marcus Superbus, Prefect of Rome: You've no right to call her that.
Poppaea: Oh, very much in love.
Marcus Superbus, Prefect of Rome: Well, why not? It's not so impossible, so laughable. She's young, beautiful, virtuous. I find I'm sick of patrician women.
Poppaea: That's a direct enough insult.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Re-released in 1944, with some cuts (sex and sadism scenes) and preceded by a nine minute prologue, set in present time with a WWII theme. This re-release version runs 118 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Quo Vadis (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

Ancaria's Song and Dance (The Naked Moon)
(1932) (uncredited)
Music by Rudolph G. Kopp
Lyrics by Sidney Buchman
Played at the orgy and danced and sung by Joyzelle Joyner
See more »

User Reviews

 
Donkey Milk, Take Me Away
5 June 2014 | by utgard14See all my reviews

Great old DeMille flick about the persecution of Christians in ancient Rome. The movie starts with Emperor Nero (Charles Laughton) laughing and playing music while Rome burns. When someone reminds him that the people might hold Nero responsible, he quickly decides to blame the unpopular believers of the new Christian religion. As Christians are being rounded up and killed, Roman prefect Marcus (Fredric March) falls in love with a Christian girl (Elissa Landi). This doesn't sit well with Empress Poppaea (Claudette Colbert), who's in love with Marcus, and she conspires to have the girl arrested.

Charles Laughton gives an outrageously hammy performance and I loved every second of it. I wish he had been in the film a lot more. Fredric March is good, as always. Lovely Elissa Landi does an admirable job in probably her biggest role but she's eclipsed by Claudette Colbert. What this film is perhaps most famous for is the scene where Colbert takes a bath in donkey milk, in which we see quite a bit of what God gave Ms. Colbert to work with. She's a beautiful woman and it's a very sexy scene. The sets and costumes are great, as one expects from a Cecil B. DeMille picture. It's just a really good film, entertaining and dramatic, with some provocative bits of sex and violence that will surely please pre-Code fans. If for no other reason, see it for Colbert.


5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 61 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 February 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sign of the Cross See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(without intermission) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed