Although he lacked the artistic vision and psychological insight of D.W. Griffith, Cecil B. DeMille was one of the great innovators in the history of American movies. De Mille not only had a fondness for monumental subjects but a monumental style of making movies that has rarely been equalled, and this story of Christians suffering persecution during the reign of Nero offered a perfect showcase for his talents. After the Roman commander Marcus Superbus (Fredric March) falls in love with the Christian girl Mercia (Elissa Landi), he tries to intercede on the behalf of the persecuted sect, and ultimately follows her to a martyr's death in the arena. But the most memorable performances are contributed by Charles Laughton as the psychotic Nero and Claudette Colbert as his depraved consort Poppaea. The picture begins in medias res with the burning of Rome as Nero looks on, and the action never falters right up to the final scenes of the Christians awaiting their execution in prison. De Mille was irresistably drawn to stories of high-class debauchery, and Sign of the Cross supplied ample scope for his febrile imagination to run amok.
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The review of this Movie prepared by Dave C