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After several years of wartime austerity, the Italian film industry returned to spectacle with Fabiola. French actress Michele Morgan plays the title role, the daughter of a Roman aristocrat (Michel Simon) during the takeover by Emperor Constantine. As a reaction to Constantine's Christian conversion policy, many old-line Romans are persecuting the city's Christian community, killing the believers off before Constantine marches into town. Fabiola is loyal to her Christian-sympathizing father but is irresistibly drawn to a Roman gladiator (Henri Vidal). All works out for the best when it is revealed that the gladiator is secretly working on behalf of Constantine. Originally released in 1949 at a length of 183 minutes, the French/Italian co-production Fabiola was distributed to the U.S. two years later in a 96-minute version, retaining the action highlights but cutting the plot footage to incomprehensible ribbons. … More
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