Marcus Vinicius meets Lygia in Rome and falls in love. But she is Christian and doesn't want anything to do with him. Marcus decides to kidnap her but Ursus, her bodyguard, catches Marcus. ... See full summary »
Returning to Rome after three years in the field, General Marcus Vinicius (Robert Taylor) meets Lygia (Deborah Kerr) and falls in love with her, though as a Christian, she wants nothing to do with a warrior. Though she grew up Roman, the adopted daughter of a retired General, Lygia is technically a hostage of Rome. Marcus gets Emperor Nero (Sir Peter Ustinov) to give her to him for services rendered, but finds himself succumbing gradually to her Christian faith.Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
As Petronius is committing suicide, one of his friends lays his head down on the table in grief. From one angle, it's a friend on the right side of the table. From a similar angle, it's a friend on the left side of the table, and it does not appear to be the same actor in the scene. See more »
Why do you stare at me, Acte?
My lord, I can only say... when all this sets with the final sun, remember the look of Acte.
Why should I remember you?
No one loves you as I love you.
I command you to *stop* loving me!
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The DVD release restores the original overture and exit music, which, up until that point, was only heard in the original roadshow release and in the 1964 roadshow re-release. See more »
Lives up to your expectations...Leo Genn and Peter Ustinov steal the acting honors...
Ancient Rome never looked so good--especially in the gorgeous MGM technicolor of 1951. Costumes, sets, photography and music are all of a high order--and all of the performances are competent with two outstanding ones by Leo Genn (Petronius) and Peter Ustinov (Nero). Ustinov reminds me of an overbaked Charles Laughton in some of his mad scenes, but he is a convincing weakling as Nero. Leo Genn has some of the wittiest dialogue and handles his lines with professional ease, his eyes flashing with humor as he pretends to agree with Nero on certain points. Robert Taylor is stalwart in the lead giving his usual dependable performance and Deborah Kerr is lovely (if a bit British in manner) as Lygia.
All the action and excitement you want from a spectacle--the burning of Rome, Christians in the arena thrown to the lions, the triumphal marches accompanied by Miklos Rozsa's mighty score--and scenes with sentimental and religious overtones (sometimes too extended and talky) --all combine to make the kind of lush spectacle MGM knew would be popular at the box-office. Although discriminating critics found fault with certain factors, it won eight Academy Award nominations with Ustinov and Genn both nominated for supporting roles.
Grand scale spectacle--but don't expect anything deep.
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