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The Sign of the Cross

The Sign of the Cross (1932)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 2

audience

58

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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 327

My Rating

Movie Info

Director Cecil B. DeMille returned to Paramount Pictures for this typically epic production, which became his first box office hit after the close of the silent era. Fredric March stars as Roman Prefect Marcus Superbus, a noble military leader of the year 64 A.D. Emperor Nero (Charles Laughton) has just burned down the city and blamed the conflagration on Christians, which has exacerbated anti-Christian sentiment. Marcus encounters a beautiful young Christian woman, Mercia (Elissa Landi),

May 10, 2011

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All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (2) | Rotten (4) | DVD (1)

Cast is uniformly good, but only one exceptional performance is registered. That's Laughton's.

January 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not for people with scruples.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Caligula of its day.

August 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

The film's generous helpings of sex and violence are overwhelmed by its general air of condescension and phony piety.

May 3, 2009 Full Review Source: Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus
Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus

It wasn't great when it was first released and it's definitely not improved since.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Audience Reviews for The Sign of the Cross

"the sign of the cross" is one of cecil b. demile's epic flicks, introducing the story of the prosecutions on christianity in the ancient empire rome.

it has charles laughton as the sinisterly merciless niro who enjoys witnessing his palace burned, claudette colbert as the lecherous empress who would arbitrarily disposes of her love rival due to the bitter jealousy, and fredric march as the love-crazed roman official who sacrifice himself for his love toward a fanatic christian woman. colbert exuberates the aristocratic sensuality in the floral bathing pond with her breasts vaguely baring, and lasciviously willful enough to respond her reluctant candidate of paramour "i love you" while he spitefully addresses her as tramp. except the slightly unproper curl bang, colbert paves the stepping stone for her niche of the 1934 cleopatra, another collaboration with director demile.

laughton's obese insolence also savors up (or uglifies) the image of empirer niro. fredric march's gallant is a flat character who could barely move anyone, and his dedication of love could be explained by the proverb "what you can't get is always the best." elissa landi's blonde christian lily is a dreary character with uncomprehesible religious fever. maybe demonstrating how sincere christian martyrs explored the path of this widely converted religion itself is a preachy topic, and it makes you probe how could a former cult with so many stubbornly radical followers get so overwhelmingly popular? the sign of the cross was the the zodiac mark then, and the main difference is it's been validified with pragmatic hegemony today.

demile's trademark is his lush vaudevilles, and the most intriguing one would be the snake-swaying lustful dance from a sedutress clinging to another female while the christian martyrs are marching outside with their jarring gospels. and mostly controversial of all, the circus theater of ancient rome plays various rousingly vile beast-human sequences, such as tiger nibbing child, ape rapping a tied naked woman on the pole, amazonian decapitating midget, crocodiles looming over a confined woman....and the last one, lions devouring christians. they're all disturbingly gory manifested by the stark tone of black and white, with enough explicit insinuations to suggest the brutality of roman mob, and the most unsettling of all, the wailing excitement and morbid amusement on the audience's faces.

you may wonder if christiany is really such a great religion that people are willing to be consumed by wild felines alive for it...is march's last-min pledge out of his sudden elightenment or he's just a romantic steer willing to die with his lover?
February 6, 2008
dietmountaindew
Veronique Kwak

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  • The Sign of the Cross (1932) (UK)
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