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Sign of the Pagan (1954)

With the Roman Empire divided, Attila the Hun hopes to conquer. In his way are a brave centurion, a beautiful princess...and Christianity.

Director:

Douglas Sirk

Writers:

Oscar Brodney (screenplay), Barré Lyndon (screenplay) (as Barre Lyndon) | 1 more credit »
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Attila (1954)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Attila, the leader of the barbarian Huns and called by the Romans "The Scourge of God", sweeps onto the Italian peninsula, defeating all of the armies of Rome, until he and his men reach the gates of the city itself.

Director: Pietro Francisci
Stars: Anthony Quinn, Sophia Loren, Henri Vidal
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Chandler ... Marcian
Jack Palance ... Attila
Ludmilla Tchérina ... Princess Pulcheria (as Ludmilla Tcherina)
Rita Gam ... Kubra
Jeff Morrow ... General Paulinus
George Dolenz ... Emperor Theodosius
Eduard Franz ... Astrologer
Allison Hayes ... Ildico
Alexander Scourby ... Chrysaphius
Howard Petrie ... Gundahar
Michael Ansara ... Edecon
Leo Gordon ... Bleda
Moroni Olsen ... Pope Leo I
Fred Nurney Fred Nurney ... Chamberlain
Sara Shane ... Myra
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Storyline

Roman centurion Marcian is captured by Attila the Hun en route to Constantinople, but escapes. On arrival, he finds the eastern Roman emperor Theodosius plotting with Attila to look the other way while the latter marches against Rome. But Marcian gains the favor of Pulcheria, lovely sister of Theodosius, who favors a united Empire. As Attila marches, things look bleak for the weakened imperial forces. But the conqueror has an awe of the power of the Christians' God... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Against the ravaging hordes of ATTILA...stood a warrior's might and a people's faith! Against his ruthless pagan lusts...the power of a woman's love!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Atila frente a Roma See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Moroni Olsen. See more »

Goofs

All of the mounted troops have stirrups, which would not come into use in Europe for at least another four hundred years. See more »

Quotes

Pope Leo I: [to Attila] If God is with *you*, then Rome *will* be destroyed!
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the list of actors at the start of the film it says: "AND Statesmen, Citizens, Soldiers of the Armies of the Roman Empire and the Hordes of Attila" See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Long Day Closes (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Attila's feats in the Western and Eastern Roman Empires with a lot of historical incorrectness
15 April 2016 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This is a 1954 Universal International film titled Sign of the Pagan , full of historic inaccuracy and being well starred Jack Palance as Attila . It results to be an epic adventure yarn set in 5th-Century about the chieftain Attila the Hun who was a leader of the Hunnic Empire , a tribal confederation consisting of Huns , Ostrogoths , and Alans among others, on the territory of Central and Eastern Europe . There a Roman centurion called Marcian (Jeff Chandler) is captured by en route to Constantinople , but he flees . On arrival, he meets the eastern Roman emperor Theodosius (George Dolenz) scheming with Attila to look the other way while the latter marches against Rome . But Marcian (who really was emperor and succeeded Teodosio) gains the favor of Pulcheria (Ludmilla Tchérina of Red slippers) , lovely sister of Theodosius , who favors a united Empire and plotting against Attila . As Attila marches across Empire to Rome and things look bleak for the weakened imperial forces . Emperor Valentinian III sent three envoys, the high civilian officers Gennadius Avienus and Trigetius , as well as the Bishop of Rome Leo I (Moroni Olsen) , who met Attila at Mincio in the vicinity of Mantua and as the conqueror had an awe of the power of the Christians' God , he obtained from him the promise that he would withdraw from Italy and negotiate peace with the Emperor . Against the ravaging hordes of Attila stood a warrior's might and a people's faith! . Against his ruthless pagan lusts , the power of a woman's love!

This spectacular movie contains action , breathtaking battles , thrills , romance , hokey historical events and the crowed scenes of the Huns are impressively made . Big production design , lavishly produced , brilliant photography and rousing soundtrack as you'd expect from Universal International at the time . There takes place a fictitious battle of wits and wills between Attila/Jack Palance and Marcian/Jeff Chandler . Jack Palance dominates with his overacting this historical adventure , while Marciano being grumpily performed by Jeff Chandler . Marcian's character bears remarkable resemblance to General Aecio who vanquished Attile in Chalons . And Pulcheria , who really married emperor Marciano , being decently played by Ludmilla Tchérina . Great support cast provide some solid secondary interpretations such as Allison Hayes as Ildico who was actually wife wife to Attila , Rita Gam , Alexander Scourby , Michael Ansara , Leo Gordon , Eduard Franz as Astrologer , Jeff Morrow and final film of Moroni Olsen . Colorful cinematography in Cinemascope by Russell Metty . Evocative as well as thrilling musical score by two Hollywood classic composers , Hans J. Salter and Frank Skinner . The motion picture was professionally directed by melodramas expert , Douglas Sirk , though it has several flaws , gaps and historical mistakes .

The picture is partially based on historical events about Attila , Marciano , Valentiniano , Pulcheria and emperor Teodosio . During his reign , Attila was one of the most feared enemies of the Western and Eastern Roman Empires . He crossed the Danube twice and plundered the Balkans, but was unable to take Constantinople . His unsuccessful campaign in Persia was followed in 441 by an invasion of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire , the success of which emboldened Attila to invade the West. He also attempted to conquer Roman Gaul (modern France) , crossing the Rhine in 451 and marching as far as Orleans before being defeated at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains . He subsequently invaded Italy , devastating the northern provinces, but was unable to take Rome. He planned for further campaigns against the Romans but died in 453 . After Attila's death his close adviser Ardaric of the Gepids led a Germanic revolt against Hunnic rule, after which the Hunnic Empire quickly collapsed . Other films dealing with this historical character are the followings : ¨Attila¨(1953) Pietro Francisci with Anthony Quinn , Sofia Loren and Henry Vidal as general Aecio . ¨The Nibelungos , vengeance of Siegfried¨ (1967) by Harald Reinl with Herbert Lom as Attila . And "Attila" (2001) miniseries by Dick Lowry with Gerard Butler as Attila the Hun , Powers Boothe as Aetius , Simmone Mackinnon as Ildico and Red Rogers as Valentinian .


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