- Actors: Deborah Kerr, Leo Genn, Peter Ustinov, Patricia Laffan
- Directors: Mervyn Le Roy
- Writers: S.N. Behrman, John Lee Mahin, Sonya Levien, Henryk Sienkiewicz
- Format: NTSC, Subtitled
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English
- Region: Region A/1
- Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
- Number of discs: 2
- Canadian Home Video Rating : Parental Guidance (PG)
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Warner Bros. Home Video
- Release Date: March 24 2009
- Run Time: 174 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- ASIN: B001PMR2US
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #46,968 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
Quo Vadis [Blu-ray] (1951) (Bilingual)
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Quo Vadis(1951) - BD/BIL
"Welcome to Nero's House of Women" greets a concubine to a slave girl, Lygia (Deborah Kerr). Later this self-same greeter reveals that she, too, like Lygia, is really a fellow Christian neophyte. And it's that mixture of tawdry Hollywood sex and a strong Christian message that makes this film an enjoyable "gentiles and gladiators" flick. Marcus Vinicius returns home after conquering the Britons to find that Rome is infected with a crazy new sect called Christians and that his beloved emperor Nero (Peter Ustinov, roly-poly and wicked) has become increasingly wacky. Marcus tries his centurion wiles on Lygia, and she's smitten, but she's also a Christian convert and begs Marcus not to force her to choose between him and her god. The Christians have a tough go of it, with martyrdom in the Coliseum as punishment for belonging to the new religion in town. Though three hours long, director Mervyn LeRoy's film always has something going on. It could help you enjoyably kill any rainy Sunday afternoon. --Keith Simanton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
With the advent of television in the early 1950's Hollywood fought back with splashy, lavish productions that could not be matched by the flickering black and white image of television in it's infancy. "Quo Vadis", lent itself perfectly for this purpose and an already shaky MGM put all of it's resources into the filming of this elaborate production. The story centres around cocky Roman soldier Marcus Vinicius (Robert Taylor) who after three years of successful campaigning returns to savour the delights of Nero's Rome. Detained at the villa of a retired Roman general Marcus falls for the simple charms of the general's adapted daughter Lygia (Deborah Kerr) who unbeknown to Marcus is secretly a Christian. Seeing her love for him but not understanding the families belief in the love of a single god and in loving your fellow man despite their background or race Marcus has Lygia taken to Rome and placed in Nero's "House of Women" and seeks to make her is own. Lygia escapes and is taken in by other believers but in the meanwhile Marcus finds himself the focus of the unwelcome and quite dangerous affections of the Empress Poppaea (Patricia Laffan). Meanwhile Nero's meglomania continues to grow and he develops a wild scheme to rebuild Rome to his own glory and secretly sets the city on fire. The backlash from this act however sets Nero to find a scapegoat and thus begins the persecution of the Christian sect that are, to the amazement of the Romans, the disciples of a simple young carpenter from Galilee who was executed for his beliefs. Marcus finds Lygia however both are imprisoned together as Christian believers to become the sport of Nero's festivities in the arena. The appearance of the Apostle Peter who has been called to Rome by Christ's message gives the Christians the strength to endure their ordeals and Marcus and Lygia are married by him just prior to his own matrydom on Vatican Hill. Nero however goes too far in his persecution and the mob turns on him resulting in his fall from power and suicide and the reins of power being taken over by the more level headed General Galba.
While "Quo Vadis", in some areas is not always accurate historically the faults are not glaring ones and it does give a vivid picture of the growth of the early Christian movement and the persecution it endured which of course went on long after Nero's death. First and foremost it is inspiring and dramatic viewing and is the classic example of old style movie making at its most lavish. The film is filled with unforgettable images, for example the huge crowd scenes during Marcus' triumpiant entry into Rome, and the burning of the city by Nero which incredibly was done on both full sized and miniature sets. The cold blooded destruction of the Christians in Nero's Circus of course is probably the most vivid image in the film and is riverting in it's horror and accurate depiction of people being eaten by lions or being used as human torches. These scenes in "Quo Vadis", have I believe never been bettered in depicting the insanity and brutality of Nero and his regime. Performances are uniformily fine here. As the two lovers Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr are just perfect as the two illmatched lovers from different worlds. Finlay Currie does a most inspirational piece of work as Peter and special mention must go to Patricia Laffan who is perfect in a chilling performance as the evil Empress Poppaea. Directed by MGM veteran Mervyn LeRoy, who was responsible for such diverse MGM productions as "Waterloo Bridge", and "Blossoms in the Dust", here he is still just as at home with this super scale type of film and his directoral integrity is evident in every frame of this film. "Quo Vadis", ended up being nominated for 8 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Peter Ustinov.
I always find "Quo Vadis", a moving viewing experience generally around Easter time when my thoughts often go back to the earliest years of my religion. Liking the older style of movie making I can also appreciate the film on its superb technical achievements and massive historical recreation. This however never submerges my appreciation of its very simple message that all people need to love each other despite their differences for the world to be a happier place. Take time soon to view this epic production of "Quo Vadis", you wont regret it.
The story depicts the plight of the early Christians. It is true that they were persecuted and tormented after Nero blamed them for the great fire of Rome. The film tends to be pro-Christian and anti-Roman, but it does do a good job of presenting a few notable Romans as just and virtuous.
Of course, in this day & age non-Christians are not so prone to feel sympathetic with these early practitioners of the religion. After all, by far & away more Pagans and Muslims were killed by Christians during the Crusades than Christians killed by Pagans / Romans (not to mention all of the Protestants burnt @ the stake by the Catholics). That is even including the genocide under the reign of Diocletion.
That said, there is a broader message that lies in this movie, and that is the tendency towards cruelty and violence that has haunted man since the beginning, religion & politics or not. The film does an agreeable job of detailing this facet of human existence, and it's something that even the greatest cynics can't help but appreciate.
The single best aspect of QUO VADIS? is that it takes us back to ancient Rome. The sets are lavish & spectacular. The representations of the Roman bathing rituals and victorious TRIUMPHS are exceptionally accurate. We also get to observe the likes of the orator Seneca, the apostle Paul, the Praetorian guard leader Tigellinus and the future emperors Nerva and Galba. Wonderfull stuff!
Aside from Ustinov, most of the rest of the acting is stilted. As far as the all-important "screen-presence" goes, Robert Taylor scores a resounding zero. He over-acts his part & displays no dynamic at all. All of his lines come out in almost the exact same tenor, and he tends to talk too fast.
Despite the less-than-stellar acting, I would highly recommend this film to all persons who are even remotely interested in Roman and / or Christian history. Here is a film that will take you on a journey thru the ages and will drop you off @ the Year of Four Emperors.
I suppose the sticking point, for me, was Nero not only ordering Rome to be burned, but actually playing the lyre while it burned. The truth is that there is no evidence he had anything to do with the fire, and had in fact raced back to the city to try stopping the blaze from destroying the entire city (probably the one decent thing he'd done in his entire life.) Nevertheless, the story was entertaining, and it was quite fun watching Ustinov (in his younger days!) playing the Mad Emperor. Definitely worth watching, just for the lavishness of the costumes and sets, and the sheer spectacle.