38 user 13 critic

Salome (1953)

Approved | | Drama, History | 16 April 1953 (Argentina)
After her banishment from Rome, Jewish Princess Salome returns to her Roman-ruled native land of Galilee where prophet John the Baptist preaches against Salome's parents, King Herod and Queen Herodias.


William Dieterle


Harry Kleiner (screen play), Jesse Lasky Jr. (story) (as Jesse L. Lasky Jr.) | 1 more credit »

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video



Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Nightclub singer and her brother-in-law try to find her husband's killer.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, Alexander Scourby
Adventure | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A beautiful but amoral gypsy girl entices a young dragoon to betray his honor and get cashiered from the service, and for her sake he soon turns to a life of crime.

Director: Charles Vidor
Stars: Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, Ron Randell
Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A photographer for Life magazine comes to London to do a story on a local theater troupe which never missed a performance during World War II. Flashbacks also reveal the backstage love ... See full summary »

Director: Victor Saville
Stars: Rita Hayworth, Lee Bowman, Janet Blair
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The friendship between two tramp boat owners is threatened by the arrival of a beautiful and seductive passenger.

Director: Robert Parrish
Stars: Rita Hayworth, Robert Mitchum, Jack Lemmon
Cover Girl (1944)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Rusty Parker wins a contest and becomes a celebrated cover girl; this endangers her romance with dancing mentor Danny.

Director: Charles Vidor
Stars: Rita Hayworth, Gene Kelly, Lee Bowman
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Courtroom drama about an adulterous pair who is charged with murdering the outraged husband of the cheating woman.

Director: Clifford Odets
Stars: Rita Hayworth, Anthony Franciosa, Gig Young
Thunder Bay (1953)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Shrimpers and oilmen clash when an ambitious wildcatter begins constructing an off-shore oilrig.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: James Stewart, Joanne Dru, Gilbert Roland
Rio Conchos (1964)
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A former Confederate officer and a Mexican try to prevent a former Confederate colonel from selling stolen rifles to renegade Apaches in Mexico.

Director: Gordon Douglas
Stars: Richard Boone, Stuart Whitman, Anthony Franciosa
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In order to cover up his philandering ways, a married Broadway producer sets one of his dancers up on a date with a chorus girl for whom he had bought a gift, but the two dancers fall in love for real.

Director: Sidney Lanfield
Stars: Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Robert Benchley
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In Apache territory, a supply Army column heads for the next fort, an ex-scout searches for the killer of his Indian wife, and a housewife abandons her husband in order to rejoin her Apache lover's tribe.

Director: Ralph Nelson
Stars: James Garner, Sidney Poitier, Bibi Andersson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The stories of several people are told as they stay at a seaside hotel in Bournemouth which features dining at "Separate Tables."

Director: Delbert Mann
Stars: Rita Hayworth, Deborah Kerr, David Niven
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Illiterate peasant Juan Gallardo rises meteorically to fame and fortune in the bullfight arena only to sow the seeds of his own fall.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Stars: Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Rita Hayworth


Complete credited cast:
Rita Hayworth ... Princess Salome
Stewart Granger ... Commander Claudius
Charles Laughton ... King Herod
Judith Anderson ... Queen Herodias
Cedric Hardwicke ... Tiberius Caesar (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Basil Sydney ... Pontius Pilate
Maurice Schwartz ... Ezra
Arnold Moss ... Micha
Alan Badel ... John the Baptist


In the reign of emperor Tiberius, Gallilean prophet John the Baptist preaches against King Herod and Queen Herodias. The latter wants John dead, but Herod fears to harm him due to a prophecy. Enter beautiful Princess Salome, Herod's long-absent stepdaughter. Herodias sees the king's dawning lust for Salome as her means of bending the king to her will. But Salome and her lover Claudius are (contrary to Scripture) nearing conversion to the new religion. And the famous climactic dance turns out to have unexpected implications... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Passion and Pageantry... Unparalleled in all the pages of love and evil! See more »


Drama | History


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

16 April 1953 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

Salome: The Dance of the Seven Veils See more »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This was the last film produced by Rita Hayworth's production company, the Beckworth Company. Hayworth later called her "Dance of the Seven Veils" in this film, "the most demanding [dance] of my entire career," and said it required "endless takes and retakes." See more »


The Roman horses are equipped with stirrups, which did not exist at that time. See more »


John the Baptist: The day has come when men must cease to march from one evil to another and know not the Lord.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: After the death of Julius Caesar, Rome ruled the world under the dictatorship of Tiberius Caesar.

In the conquered province of Galilee, King Herod and Queen Herodias held the throne.

So wanton was Herod's court, the Queen sent the young Princess Salome to Rome.

And it came to pass that a man appeared in Galilee who many thought was the Messiah.

This was the Prophet known as John the Baptist . . .

See more »


Remade as Salomé (1978) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Dance of the Six Veils
21 March 2014 | by JamesHitchcockSee all my reviews

Epic films based upon the Bible were popular in the 1950s, but sometimes they were only very loosely so based. "Salome" is a case in point. The "damsel" whose seductive dance before King Herod led to the execution of John the Baptist is not actually named in the New Testament, but tradition has identified her with Princess Salome, the daughter of Queen Herodias and the niece and stepdaughter of Herod. She has traditionally been painted as the ultimate Bad Girl, a wanton teenage temptress whose thoughtless cruelty led to John's death.

Well, in this film Salome is no longer a teenager but a mature beauty in her mid-thirties. (Rita Hayworth would have been 35 in 1953). More importantly, she is no longer a Bad Girl. (The studio, apparently, did not want Rita to play a villainess). To begin with, she is proud and independent-minded, but gradually softens under the influence of John's teaching and eventually converts to Christianity. (A "Salome" is numbered among Christ's followers in Mark's Gospel, but this is generally believed to have been a different person). Yes, she still gets to perform her sexy "Dance of the Seven Veils", but her motives for doing so are the precise opposite of those attributed to her in the Scriptures. In this version she is dancing in the hope that she can thereby influence the King to spare John's life.

As the film opens, Salome is living in Rome, where she has lived for most of her life. She has fallen in love with Marcellus, nephew of the Emperor Tiberius, but he forbids their marriage, not wanting a member of his family to marry a "barbarian", and exiles her back to Galilee. Once there she finds herself in a complicated political situation, made more complex by the teachings of the Baptist who condemns Herod's rule and his adulterous marriage to his brother's wife. Herodias is furious, and demands that her husband condemn the Baptist to death for treason, but he is reluctant to do so, believing that he will be cursed if he does; his reluctance makes their already unhappy marriage even more strained. In the meantime, Salome has found a new boyfriend, the handsome Roman soldier Claudius, who shares her interest in John's teaching.

Some later Biblical epics were an odd mixture of godliness and sexiness, combining an improving Christian moral with plenty of bare flesh on display. An example is "Esther and the King" in which Queen Vashti (who in the Bible is banished for refusing her husband's command to "show the people and the princes her beauty") gets into hot water for quite the opposite offence, that of showing them more of her beauty than she should by stripping down to her panties in the Royal Palace. In 1953, however, the Production Code was more rigidly enforced, so "Salome" is, on the surface at least, more godly than sexy. Hayworth's dance is really a Dance of the Six Veils, as she never removes the seventh and therefore remains fairly modestly clad to the end.

Below that surface, however, there is a lot going on. Hayworth, as lovely in her thirties as she had been a decade earlier, was gifted enough, both as an actress and as a dancer, to convey a great deal of erotic allure even when fully clothed, and although the censors could come down hard on any explicit displays of nudity, this sort of subtle sexuality was much more difficult for them to control. "Salome" is far from being Rita's greatest film (that was probably "Gilda"), but that dance is one of her greatest moments. (She later claimed it was "the most demanding of her entire career" as the director William Dieterle demanded endless retakes).

Among the other actors, the best contribution comes from Charles Laughton as the slimily lecherous Herod. Laughton had a tendency to overact, but in a role like this overacting is not necessarily a bad thing. Easily the worst comes from Alan Badel, playing John the Baptist not so much as a prophet as a swivel-eyed religious maniac, the first- century Galilean equivalent of a Hyde Park soapbox preacher. Judith Anderson is good as Herodias, but Stewart Granger is a bit wooden as Claudius, possibly because his character does not have much to do except stand around to provide a love-interest for the leading lady.

"Salome" will never, in my opinion at least, rank alongside the grand epics like "Ben-Hur" or "Spartacus"; there is too much of the smell of cheesy Hollywood sanctimoniousness about it. It does, however, have its virtues, and is certainly better than the likes of "Esther and the King", "The Silver Chalice" or "Sodom and Gomorrah", all of which do not just smell of sanctimoniousness but positively reek of it. It makes enjoyable, if undemanding, watching on a Sunday afternoon. 6/10

Some goofs. Claudius and Pontius Pilate refer to their military service in Britain, but Britain was not a Roman province during the reign of Tiberius. And whatever persuaded the scriptwriter that Gila monsters (natives of Mexico and the American South-West) are to be found in Israel?

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 38 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed