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The Last Days of Pompeii (1935)

In the doomed Roman city, a gentle blacksmith becomes a corrupt gladiator, while his son leans toward Christianity.

Directors:

Ernest B. Schoedsack, Merian C. Cooper (uncredited)

Writers:

James Ashmore Creelman (story), Melville Baker (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Preston Foster ... Marcus
Alan Hale ... Burbix
Basil Rathbone ... Pontius Pilate
John Wood 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
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Storyline

Peaceloving blacksmith Marcus refuses lucrative offers to fight in the arena...until his wife dies for lack of medical care. His life as a gladiator coarsens him, and shady enterprises make him the richest man in Pompeii, while his son Flavius (who met Jesus on a brief visit to Judaea) is as gentle as Marcus once was. The final disaster of Marcus and Flavius's cross purposes is interrupted by the eruption of Vesuvius. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 October 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Untergang von Pompeji See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

Pontius Pilate committed suicide in Gaul in approximately 38 A.D. and could not have been present in Pompeii during the same year that Mt Vesuvius erupted (79 AD). See more »

Quotes

Prefect: What do you keep behind these locks and bolts?
Marcus: My fortune, excellency. It's a safe place.
Burbix: Would the prefect like to inspect the barbarians - the Britons who are to fight tomorrow?
Marcus: Yes.
[to the prefect]
Marcus: Captives from Agricola's campaign.
Prefect: I wonder why we Romans trouble ourselves with that wretched island? After it's conquered, what good is it?
Marcus: Don't you believe we can ever civilize the Britons?
Prefect: Those people? They'll always be barbarians. What will they ever do?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The foreword at the beginning of the film is a disclaimer stating that this film is not based on Bulwer-Lytton's novel at all. (It does not use the novel's plot, nor does it have any of the novel's characters.) However, the disclaimer goes on to say that the filmmakers are indebted to him for the description of the destruction of Pompeii. See more »

Connections

Featured in Gladiators: Bloodsport of the Colisseum (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Positive review of the merits of Last Days of Pompeii
21 February 2001 | by retlawyenSee all my reviews

I first saw this movie years ago as a child and it had quite an impact on me. I loved the acting. Preston Foster as the disillusioned blacksmith, David Holt, as the sweetest little boy one could possibly imagine, and John Wood as the older Flavius, so idealistically touched by his experience at the hands of Jesus. But I must reserve the greatest praise for Basil Rathbone. His portrayal of Pontius Pilate, so fine, so sure, is unparalleled. His nuances of effect and strength of personality are superbly matched to this role. You can almost taste the turmoil roiling within him as you watch the splendid emotional battle waged on his wonderfully expressive face. Walt Disney once said, "First you begin with a story." It is true. The story here is classic. A man searching the world for the key he holds within his own heart. Preston Foster, so disillusioned in his flight from poverty, that he fails to see the significance of events around him, Flavius, as the boy grown to manhood touched by a higher calling and Basil Rathbone as Pontius Pilate, probably the second most reviled figure living at that time. Wonderful, wonderful historical novel, acted brilliantly as only the actors of that time could do.


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