Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Sign of the Cross (1932)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Sign of the Cross (1932)

In director Cecil B. DeMille's spectacular, pre-censorship epic:

  • the display of Rome's sins and depravities (homosexuality, orgies, nudity, and murder) in multiple ways and memorable scenes
  • debauched Emperor Nero's (Charles Laughton in his first American film) wicked mistress Empress Poppaea (Claudette Colbert) bathing unabashedly in asses’ milk
  • the attempted corruptive seduction scene of virginal, blonde Christian Mercia (Elissa Landi) by Ancaria (Joyzelle Joyner) with a lesbian-tinged dance of the "Naked Moon" that visibly aroused its audience
  • the scenes of semi-naked women condemned to slaughter in the Arena while Nero watched distractedly from the side, including:
    - one rope-stretched screaming female victim awaiting hissing crocodiles
    - and another flower-garlanded-tied nude female Christian martyr awaiting death in a Roman arena from a devouring silverback gorilla


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