Returning to Rome after three years in the field, General Marcus Vinicius meets Lygia 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 to give her to him for services rendered but finds himself succumbing gradually to her Christian faith.Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
John Huston was the original director, under the supervision of producer Arthur Hornblow, of a cast headed by Gregory Peck as Marcus, and Elizabeth Taylor as Lygia. The studio was dissatisfied with the footage Huston was sending back from Rome, and production chief Louis B. Mayer, an arch-conservative, unhappy with the script, which used Nero's persecution of the Christians as an allegory for the anti-Communist witch-hunts to which Hollywood was then being subjected. After a couple of weeks' shooting, MGM shut down the production, ordered a new script written, recast the film, and persuaded Mervyn LeRoy to assume direction of the picture. See more »
When Nero plays his lyre as Rome burns, the seams and stitching of the night "sky" behind him are clearly visible. See more »
[Nero begins to sing again, and his voice is horrible]
Body of Bacchus, I've been listening to *that* since morning!
He seems in rare voice!
See more »
Superb set and costume design. Ustinov outstanding.
I first saw this film as a re-run in 1964--on the big screen. Much is lost, I think, when viewing it on television. Peter Ustinov's portrayal of the emperor Nero raises the bar for anyone else who is ever cast as an unbalanced and corrupt Roman emperor. Certainly, we don't see this style or quality of acting in newer films such as "Gladiator." I focus on the "Nero" character more than others because Ustinov was truly able to get inside the role, and appeared to stay very focused. Robert Taylor was fine in the movie, but his role could have been handled by nearly any leading man of the time. Ditto for Deborah Kerr. The remaining cast was very, very good. The set designs and costumes were sheer artistry and the score was effective and complimentary. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in spectacles and studying fine acting techniques (i.e., Ustinov's).
38 of 57 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this