6.6/10
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Fabiola (1949)

In ancient Rome a love story blossoms between Fabiola, daughter of a senator, and Rhual, a gallic gladiator. When Fabiola's father is killed, the Romans blame the Christians and the ... See full summary »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michèle Morgan ... Fabiola
Henri Vidal ... Rhual
Michel Simon ... Senator Fabius Severus
Louis Salou ... Fulvius Petronius
Elisa Cegani Elisa Cegani ... Sira
Massimo Girotti ... Sebastian
Gino Cervi ... Quadratus
Sergio Tofano ... Luciano
Rina Morelli ... Faustina
Paolo Stoppa Paolo Stoppa ... Proconsul Manlius Valerian
Carlo Ninchi ... Galba
Franco Interlenghi ... Corvino
Guglielmo Barnabò Guglielmo Barnabò ... Antoniano Leto
Aldo Silvani Aldo Silvani ... Cassiano
Silvana Jachino ... Lucilla
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Storyline

In ancient Rome a love story blossoms between Fabiola, daughter of a senator, and Rhual, a gallic gladiator. When Fabiola's father is killed, the Romans blame the Christians and the persecution begins. Rhual confesses to be a christian and is accused of the murder and sentenced to fight to death in the arena. Written by Giancarlo Cairella <vertigo@imdb.com>

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Goddess of Love in a City of Sin!

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Drama | History

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Trivia

British Lion submitted the 97-minute US version to the British Board of Film Censors on 4 June 1951 and were given an "A" certificate, suitable for children if accompanied by an adult. Following a test run at the Savoy, Dublin from 31 August 1951 (which was reported to have broken the house attendance record), Fabiola's UK public premiere was held at the Grand, Southport from 13 September 1951. After further sneak previews in Jersey and Nottingham the film finally reached the capital on 30 November 1951 with a three-week run at the London Pavilion. British Lion used the original title "Fabiola" throughout the 1950s, but on 3 November 1960 New Realm re-submitted the film to the BBFC under a new title "The Fighting Gladiator and Fabiola," hoping to cash in on the Italian epic craze. However, only ABC's Empire in Longton seems to have announced the full, cumbersome title. Everywhere else shortened it to simply "The Fighting Gladiator." As such it continued to get sporadic showings up to the end of 1966. See more »

Alternate Versions

Italian version runs 164 minutes; shortened (96 minutes) and re-edited English-dubbed version was released in the USA in 1951. See more »

Connections

Featured in Gladiators: Bloodsport of the Colisseum (2001) See more »

User Reviews

European "Quo Vadis"
19 December 2003 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

I quite understand the precedent user.Boiling down a 165 min movie into a 98 min one is necessarily a disaster.It's all the more appalling as the screenplay of "Fabiola" is relatively complicated ,including a lot of supporting characters and subplots galore.

The movie was first divided into two parts when it was shown in the movie theaters in Europa.

First part is called "mirage of Rome".A young gladiator (the athletic Henri Vidal)is heading for Rome where he thinks he will find fortune and glory.He stops at the villa of Fabius Severe (Michel Simon) and his daughter ,the beautiful Fabiola (Michèle Morgan;at the time ,she and Vidal were the ideal couple for the young girls of the era:their love was not only on the screen).Oddly ,the plot takes a whodunit turn with a Roman Agatha Christie flavor as Severe is murdered in the middle of the night. In parallel,we see the Christian faith rise,mainly among the slaves.

Second part is called "blood of the martyrs" ,and quite rightly so,because sadism in the tortures easily equals Cecil B De Mille .We also attend the martyrdom of a muscular Saint Sebastian (Massimo -spelled Maximo- Girotti,who,just before he dies,tells the soldiers a story of long ago and far away ,away in a manger. This second part begins with an interminable summary of the first part,which tends to show that the two parts were not shown at the same time (eg you had to pay twice when it was first released in theaters).Then a trial (yes!) ,a very long trial,of course iniquitous , at the end of which the Christians become scapegoats.Then ,on with the show,that is to say the circus is in town,in the arena, where the director describes the executions in lavish detail.

Do not get me wrong:"Fabiola" is one of the best (maybe simply the best )peplum Europa has ever produced .Morgan is lovingly filmed ,particularly in that scene where Vidal mistook her for a statue. The tempo is fast,leaving the viewer no respite.The historical background includes the antagonism between Constantin,the Christian emperor -although some historians claim he was christened just before he died-,and Maxence ,the pagan one.All in all it compares favorably to "quo vadis" and shows more imagination than,say "gladiator".


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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

1 June 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fabiola See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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