- Quo Vadis (1951 film)
Infobox Film | name =Quo Vadis
caption =Original film poster
Henryk Sienkiewicz(novel) S. N. Behrman
John Lee Mahin
starring =Robert Taylor
William V. Skall
Ralph E. Winters
released = flagicon|USA
November 8, 1951
runtime = 171 min.
language = English
budget = $7,000,000 (estimated)
imdb_id = 0043949
amg_id = 1:39930~T0
"Quo Vadis" is an epic 1951 film made by
MGM. It was directed by Mervyn LeRoyand produced by Sam Zimbalist, from a screenplayby John Lee Mahin, S. N. Behrmanand Sonya Levien, adapted from the classic 1895 novel "Quo Vadis" by Henryk Sienkiewicz. The music score was by Miklós Rózsaand the cinematography by Robert Surteesand William V. Skall.
The film stars Robert Taylor,
Deborah Kerr, Leo Genn, Peter Ustinov, with Finlay Currie, Felix Aylmerand Abraham Sofaer.
The title is Latin, meaning "Where are you going?" and refers to the apocryphal encounter between St Peter and Jesus Christ on the
Appian Way. According to the Acts of Peter, Peter, fleeing from the persecutions of the Emperor Nero had a vision of Christ whom he asked "Domine, quo vadis?" (Lord, whither goest thou?). Jesus answered him, "Whither I go, thou can not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards" (John 13:36). Peter understood this to mean that Jesus was going back to Rome to be crucified again. Peter, following his own fate, returned to Rome and was crucified at the foot of the Vatican Hillwhere St Peter's Basilicastands today.
The action takes place in
ancient Romefrom 64-68 AD, during the reign of the Emperor Nero. The subject is the conflict between Christianityand the corruption of the Roman Empire, especially in the last period of the Julio-Claudianline. The characters and events depicted are a mixture of actual historical figures and situations and fictionalized ones.
The film tells the story of a Roman military commander, Marcus Vinicius (Robert Taylor), returning from the wars, who falls in love with a devout Christian, Lygia (
Deborah Kerr). Commander Vinicius becomes intrigued by her and her religion. Their love story is told against the broader historical background of early Christianity and its persecution by Nero ( Peter Ustinov). Though she grew up Roman as the adopted daughter of a retired general, Lygia is technically a hostage of Rome. Marcus persuades Nero to give her to him for services rendered. Lygia resents this, but still falls in love with Marcus.
Meanwhile, Nero's atrocities become increasingly more outrageous and his acts more insane. When he burns Rome and blames the Christians, Marcus goes off to save Lygia and her family. Nero captures them and all the Christians, and condemns them to be killed in the arena. Marcus is also arrested for trying to save Lygia. In prison, Peter (
Finlay Currie), who has also been arrested, marries the couple; eventually, Peter is crucified upside-down, implicitly at his own request ("To die as Our Lord did is more than I deserve"'," he says, and the Praetorian guardsneeringly answers, "We can change that"). Poppaea, Nero's wife, who lusts after Marcus, devises a diabolical revenge for his rejection of her. Lygia is tied to a wooden stake in the arena. A wild bull is also placed there, and Lygia's bodyguard giant, Ursus ( Buddy Baer) must try to kill it with his bare hands, otherwise Lygia will be gored to death. Marcus is tied to the spectator's box and forced to watch, much to the horror of his officers, who also attend the spectacle. When all seems hopeless, Marcus exclaims "Christ, give him strength!", whereupon Ursus is able to break the bull's neck. Hugely impressed by Ursus' courage, the crowd exhorts Nero to spare them, which the emperor is not willing to do. However, Nero's four court retainers Seneca ( Nicholas Hannen), architect Phaon ( D.A. Clarke-Smith), Lucan ( Alfredo Varelli), and Terpnos ( Geoffrey Dunn) vouch for the mob's demands by putting their thumbs up as well. Marcus then breaks free of his bonds, leaps into the arena, frees Lygia with the help of his loyal troops, and announces that General Galbais at that moment marching on Rome, intent on replacing Nero.
The crowd, now firmly believing that Nero, and not the Christians, is responsible for the burning of Rome, revolts. Nero flees to his palace, where he strangles Poppaea to death, blaming her for forcing him to maker martyrs of the Christians. Then Acte, a Christian woman who was once in unrequited love with Nero, appears. Because he lived like a monster, she begs him to die like an emperor by committing suicide before the mob storms the palace. The cowardly Nero cannot bring himself to do it, so Acte drives the dagger into his chest. Marcus and Lygia are now free and find happiness.
* Robert Taylor - Marcus Vinicius
Deborah Kerr- Lygia
Leo Genn- Petronius
Peter Ustinov- Nero
Patricia Laffan- Poppaea
Finlay Currie- Peter
Abraham Sofaer- Paul
Marina Berti- Eunice
Buddy Baer- Ursus
Felix Aylmer- Plautius
Nora Swinburne- Pomponia
Ralph Truman- Tigellinus
Norman Wooland- Nerva
* Peter Miles - Nazarius
Geoffrey Dunn- Terpnos
D.A. Clarke-Smith- Phaon
Rosalie Crutchley- Acte
John Ruddock- Chilo
Arthur Walge- Croton
Elspeth March- Miriam
Strelsa Brown- Rufia
Alfredo Varelli- Lucan
William Tubbs- Anaxander
Pietro Tordi- Galba
Nicholas Hannen- Seneca
Bud Spencer- Imperial guard
Walter Pidgeon- Narrator
Henryk Sienkiewicz's novel has been filmed a number of times, including three earlier silent versions, (1902), (1912), and (1925); a 1985 mini-series starring Klaus Maria Brandaueras Nero and a 2001 Polish mini-series directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz.
Cecil B. DeMillepicture " The Sign of the Cross (film)" has a very similar story, and is based on a theatrical play which may have drawn heavily on the Sienkiewicz novel.
* The film was originally cast in 1949 with
Elizabeth Tayloras Lygia and Gregory Peckas Marcus Vinicius. When the production changed hands the following year, the roles went to Deborah Kerr and Robert Taylor.
* The film was shot on location in
Romeand in the Cinecittà Studios.
* The film holds a record for the most
costumesused in one movie; 32,000.
Peter Ustinovrelates in his autobiography, "Dear Me", that director Mervyn Leroysummarized the manner in which he envisioned Ustinov should play the Emperor Nero, very salaciously, as "Nero...He plays with himself, nights." Ustinov, getting the director's gist, thereafter notes that this depraved manner was the basis of his creation of the character of Nero for the film.
* A 2-Disc Special Edition of the movie is scheduled for release on DVD in the US on November 11th 2008 after a long photochemical restoration process. A Blu-Ray release is anticipated for Easter 2009.
Awards and nominations
"Quo Vadis" was nominated for eight
Academy Awards: twice for Best Actor in a Supporting Role ( Leo Gennas Petronius and Peter Ustinovas Nero), and also for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color, Best Cinematography, Color, Best Costume Design, Color, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, and Best Picture. However, the movie did not win a single Academy Award.
Golden Globe Awards
Peter Ustinov won the
Golden Globe AwardBest Supporting Actor. The Golden Globe for Best Cinematography was won by Robert Surtees and William V. Skall. The film was also nominated for Best Motion Picture - Drama
Worldwide release dates
List of epic films
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Look at other dictionaries:
Quo Vadis (1951) — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Quo vadis? Originaltitel: Quo Vadis Produktionsland: USA Erscheinungsjahr: 1951 Länge: 171 Minuten Originalsprache: Englisch … Deutsch Wikipedia
Quo vadis? (1951) — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel Quo vadis? Originaltitel Quo Vadis Produktionsla … Deutsch Wikipedia
Quo vadis — is a Latin phrase meaning Where are you going? , referring to the time in Christian tradition when Saint Peter met Jesus on his way to be crucified. The phrase may refer to:* Quo vadis as used in the Biblical Gospel of John. * Quo vadis in the… … Wikipedia
Quo Vadis (Begriffsklärung) — Quo vadis (lat. „Wohin gehst du?“) steht für: Quo vadis?, eine historische lateinische Phrase, dem Apostel Petrus zugeschrieben Domine quo vadis?, den populären Namen der Kirche Santa Maria in Palmis an der Via Appia in Rom Film Quo Vadis? (1902) … Deutsch Wikipedia
Quo Vadis ? — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Quo vadis. Quo vadis ? est un roman historique de Henryk Sienkiewicz, publié en feuilleton dans la Gazeta Polska à partir de mars 1895, et traduit pour la première fois en France dans la Revue blanche. Quo… … Wikipédia en Français
Quo Vadis — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Quo vadis, latin pour dire « Où vas tu ? ». Cette question est tirée d un récit apocryphe du martyre de saint Pierre. Alors qu il s… … Wikipédia en Français
Quo vadis ? — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Quo vadis. Quo vadis ? est un roman historique de Henryk Sienkiewicz, publié en feuilleton dans la Gazeta Polska à partir de mars 1895, et traduit pour la première fois en France dans la Revue blanche.… … Wikipédia en Français
Quo Vadis (Film, 1951) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Quo vadis. Quo Vadis Debor … Wikipédia en Français
Quo Vadis (Film 1951) — Quo Vadis (film, 1951) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Quo vadis. Quo Vadis Debor … Wikipédia en Français
Quo Vadis (Film) — Quo Vadis (film, 1951) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Quo vadis. Quo Vadis Debor … Wikipédia en Français