Marcus Vinicius meets Lygia in Rome and falls in love. But she is Christian and doesn't want anything to do with him. Marcus decides to kidnap her but Ursus, her bodyguard, catches Marcus. ... See full summary »
Returning to Rome after three years in the field, General Marcus Vinicius (Robert Taylor) meets Lygia (Deborah Kerr) 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 (Sir Peter Ustinov) to give her to him for services rendered, but finds himself succumbing gradually to her Christian faith.Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
Nero (Sir Peter Ustinov) remarks on the idea of creating an experience in order to gain inspiration, and complains that for his "conflagration", he has not yet seen a burning city. Petronius (Leo Genn) replies; "A burning city? That would be carrying art for art's sake too far." "Art for Art's Sake" is the English translation of "Ars Gratia Artis", which is the motto of MGM, the studio that produced and released this movie. See more »
Vinicius is described as both a victorious Military Commander and a Military Tribune. In fact, a Military Tribune was a junior staff officer in his mid 20's. There were typically 10 in every Legion of 6,000 men. They were basically aids to the Legion's C.O., the Legate. See more »
[when asked how his army defeated the Gauls and the Britons]
We fought with our bowels! Try it sometime!
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The DVD release restores the original overture and exit music, which, up until that point, was only heard in the original roadshow release and in the 1964 roadshow re-release. See more »
Larger-than-life production with breathtaking scenarios and exciting scenes
During 63 a.d. a Roman official prefect named Marco Vinicio (Robert Taylor) returns from Gaul wars and goes home Petronius (Leo Genn and enamored the gorgeous slave played by Marina Berti ), adviser of emperor Nero (Peter Ustinov) . Vinicio confess him he has fallen in love from Ligia (Deborah Kerr) , a virginal and mysterious young whom has known in the Plautus's home (Felix Aylmer and wife Nora Swinburne) . Meantime , the Christians are accused by Nero (Peter Ustinov) , along with Poppea (Patricia Laffan) and Tijelinus (Ralph Truman) of burning the ancient Rome . Depraved emperor Nero wants to get rid the Christians followed by Apostle Peter (Finlay Currie) and Paul (Abraham Sofaer) and then orders burn on stakes and use them as meat for hungry lions . Vinicio helped by Ursus (Buddy Baer) risk their lives to save her .
This huge epic film gets lots of crowd scenarios, fabulous gowns, dramatic scenes and is realized on a giant scale , spectacular sequences and Christians' bloody martyrdom as lions attack in arena and cruel crucifixions . Originally cast in 1949 with Elizabeth Taylor as Lygia and Gregory Peck as Marcus Vinicius . But as the production changed hands the following year , the roles were recast with enjoyable Deborah Kerr and robust Robert Taylor . Among the many actresses who tried out for a role in the film : a pre-stardom Audrey Hepburn. Peter Ustinov's overwhelming hammy acting , he gives an immortal and unforgettable performance . Film debut of Bud Spencer , who plays one of the Emperor's guards and as extra appears Sofia Loren and her mother . The film was an epic colossal with big financial success , 32,000 costumes were used in the film ; besides , spectacularly and colorfully photographed by Robert Surtees and magnificent musical score by Myklos Rozsa . The movie was very well directed by Mervyn Leroy . The motion picture is the ultimate version of the classic novel by the Polish Henryk Sienkiewicz . Remade for television by Franco Rossi (1985) and inferior version (2001) by the Polish Jerzy Kawalerowicz .
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