4.7/10
1,292
50 user 15 critic

The Silver Chalice (1954)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 20 December 1954 (USA)
A Greek artisan is commissioned to cast the cup of Christ in silver, and sculpt around its rim, the faces of the disciples and Jesus. He travels to Jerusalem and eventually to Rome to ... See full summary »

Director:

Victor Saville

Writers:

Thomas B. Costain (novel), Lesser Samuels (written for the screen by)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Virginia Mayo ... Helena
Pier Angeli ... Deborra
Jack Palance ... Simon The Magician
Paul Newman ... Basil
Walter Hampden ... Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph Wiseman ... Mijamin
Alexander Scourby ... Luke
Lorne Greene ... Peter
David J. Stewart David J. Stewart ... Adam
Herbert Rudley ... Linus
Jacques Aubuchon ... Nero
E.G. Marshall ... Ignatius
Michael Pate ... Aaron Ben Joseph
Natalie Wood ... Helena as a Girl
Peter Raynolds Peter Raynolds ... Basil as a boy
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Storyline

A Greek artisan is commissioned to cast the cup of Christ in silver, and sculpt around its rim, the faces of the disciples and Jesus. He travels to Jerusalem and eventually to Rome to complete the task. Meanwhile, a nefarious interloper is trying to convince the crowds that he is the new Messiah, by using nothing more than cheap parlor tricks. Written by Dan Weckerly

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

EVERY BREATHLESS MOMENT OF THOMAS B. COSTAIN'S BEST-SELLER! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 December 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Basilus - Held von Rom See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (magnetic prints)| Mono (RCA Sound System) (optical prints)

Color:

Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film received a huge premiere in Saranac Lake, New York. The premiere was a "prize" to the town that sold the most Christmas Seals in a countrywide competition. The weekend consisted of a parade with the director and stars of the movie (with the exception of Paul Newman, who did not attend), and a gala premiere at the Pontiac Theatre in Saranac Lake hosted by Art Linkletter. See more »

Goofs

The bald eagle is not native to Italy. See more »

Quotes

Kester: There's no place like Rome...
See more »

Crazy Credits

and introducing Paul Newman See more »

Connections

Referenced in Death in Hollywood (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pretty odd, pretty awful...Paul Newman's debut is best forgotten...
28 November 2006 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

I have to agree with the negative comments on this one. First of all, let's begin with the good points. It got two Oscar nominations--one for William Skall's color cinematography and the other for Franz Waxman's tasteful background score. Indeed, the only tasteful thing about the film is that score.

PAUL NEWMAN at least doesn't have to be ashamed of how he photographed in color because he makes a handsome film debut (physically) but was apparently given no directions from Victor Saville on how to play the role of a man who worked on the framework for The Silver Chalice. His is a bland performance at best and it is undercut even more when he has to share the screen with the terribly miscast VIRGINIA MAYO.

Mayo looks as though she just left the chorus line of The Goldwyn Girls and had the artists paint her eyebrows in what someone must have assumed would resemble women of antiquity. She saunters around in her veiled costumes as though she is about to break out into a burlesque queen's rendition of a bump and grind song number.

JACK PALANCE steals the show with his overwrought, maniacal performance as a magician who begins to believe in his own ballyhoo (or his own press clippings) and thinks he can actually fly without any contraptions aiding his flight. Oddly enough, his caricature of a role fits into the scheme of things, seeing as how the stylized sets and costumes suggest nothing more than comic strip vision.

Adding to lack of credibility is the casting of NATALIE WOOD as the young Helena who turns into Mayo as an adult. Now that would take the work of a major magician. LORNE GREENE, in his film debut, and E.G. MARSHALL struggle with poorly defined roles in the supporting cast.

Summing up: Dismal. The only question is, what inspired Franz Waxman to write such a pleasing background score?


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