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Quo Vadis (1951) [VHS]
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Product Description

"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

Customer Reviews:

  • I don't understand.....
    I did not purchase this, so do not understand why I'm being asked to review it....more info
  • Quo Vadis
    Excellant 1950's epic, loved the sets and actors were great. A classic worth collecting as computer generated movies today just don't match the REAL casts of hundreds in a scene and the lavish costumes and sets used in these grand displays portrayed. Love the movie and hope others will enjoy who have never seen it....more info
  • Wonderful
    I recieved this item with the most prompt service ever. Thankyou so much. I waited a long time for this Movie.
    (\o/)\o/ angel hugz
    Pastor Kim
    ...more info
  • The french version
    Well I just received The french version of Quo Vadis.The Discs are the same as the American Version, but the two Folios of Glossy Pictures are Great. You get about 30 Pictures of Lobby pictures, Posters, behind the scenes, The Souvenier Program from the Road Show and the best is a cast posed picture on the Set. Why couldn't the American Version have done that....more info
  • Quo Vadis
    An excellent film. Magnificent music. Wonderful historial detail in costumes,furtniture, props. Great fiction with history added. Note* Bible never mentions Peter in Rome...only Paul....more info
  • The greatest Epic of them all.
    This is just a wonderful movie. Well filmed and very well acted. For me the movie is worth its price for Peter Ustinov alone. He is simply wonderful. Evil, cowardly, and completely deadly, he steals the show as Nero. The entire movie is very well done, music, sets, acting, all come together in one of the best epics. It is interesting in that there is a great deal of comedy also, not to mention some delightful sarcasm. The story of the Roman General (Robert Taylor) and his love for a slave girl (Deborah Kerr) is the main theme, but it is closely tied in with the begining of Christianity. All of this takes place in Nero's Rome. I have the VHS, and Laser disc versions, I cannot wait for the DVD to be released. Do see this movie, you will not regret it....more info
  • great acting wonderful story,
    great acting wonderful story,i have a copy on vhs,enjoyed it very much,would love to see it on dvd,when will it become available?...more info
  • Rome, but not in her best hour
    Picking up not long after I, CLAUDIUS leaves off, this film puts us in the latter epoch of the rule of Nero. Peter Ustinov's memorable portrayal of the eccentric (and probably downright mad) emperor is how most of us picture him these days. In fact, Ustinov might be the #1 reason people should buy this epic.

    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....more info

  • Quo Vadis
    The "Quo Vadis" film (i just finished watching it awhile ago) will help good student historical viewers on their Church history/ Roman history and it could challenge some spiritual and faith issues. This is one of the great film for all seasons. ...more info
  • Peter Ustinov saved Quo Vadis
    Quo Vadis was shot in full aperture 1:33 and from that format, they go dow to the 1:33 Academy aperture. They shot full aperture 1:33 to have a bigger negative, but they had to go down to academy aperture 1:33 to have room to put the sound track.
    Resulting in better picture with sound.
    Of course, Quo Vadis without Peter Usinov would not be Quo Vadis (the only real stage actor full of emotion and interpretation. A genius) R.Taylor is good in Roman Commander. The production is very hollywood style. Beautiful costumes (Too beautiful to be true !) But I liked the movie. Of course I preffer Gladiator . Better movie and acting (Except for Ustinov in Quo Vadis).
    Quo Vadis is a good movie. Too bad that we can notice his age. Too hollywood for me!...more info
  • A Real Christian Movie For Once
    Quo Vadis is a movie Ive seen many times and never tire watching. It has beautiful and panoramic scenes making it worthy of an epic. I loved Ustinov playing the evil demonic Nero and Laffan playing Nero's Empress wife. Truely I rarely see such great acting in our films of today.
    The greatest attributes of the film are the colliseum scenes in which the Christians are slaughtered for falsley being blamed for the burning of Rome. Nero was fully responsible for this horrid act. The scenes of Nero's court are entertaining and funny to see. Watching all of Nero's men cowtowing to their emperor and at the same time showing contempt for Nero's actions.
    The sets are great for 1951 standards and even by todays standards. The Roman Legion formations and custumes were excellent. Taylor's acting is medicore but sufficient and Debra Kerr is a beautiful woman who portrays the poor Christian slave convincingly. It is so so convincing, you would think she was a devout Christian in her private life to her credit as an actress. Also the costumes deserve a five star rating!
    The only negative thoughts to the film are the historial accuracies which reveal how short of time the Christian persecution lasted. It didn't end with the end of Nero. Don't let this keep you from buying a great film which does show some Roman and early Christian history and how Roman society existed during Nero's rule. I can't wait for the DVD production of this film. I only wish Hollywood would show films of this quality....more info
  • Classic Beauty
    This is a magnificent film, a true work of art, profound, beautiful and pleasing in plot and content. I would rate this film as an all time masterpiece, certainly not to be missed. I would also note that this film embodies "legendary" acting, there would be no need for spectacle, as the acting and plot suffice, although it does contain a spectacle for the eyes....more info
  • Where's the DVD
    That's my only cooment where is the DVD? It's a waste to let this film be forgot, PLEASE WE WANT THE DVD....more info
  • 'Quo Vadis' DVD Extras
    A little while ago today I just got the 2-disc DVD and gave it a quick look over. It's been a LONG wait. The agony is over. Now the pleasure begins!

    No need to say much about this epic masterpiece itself. Just DVD stuff here, quick & dirty.

    First off, Miklos Rozsa's Overture and Exit music are returned to their rightful places. They do not disappoint. Finally, things are intact. I am relieved that there are people at WB who care about such vital details and can make them happen.

    The 'Making Of' featurette is very welcome to fans like me, but even at about 45 minutes, it seems short. I would rather have seen more production clips and photos than seeing the faces of the interviewees, but they were all credible and respectful. I was delighted to see how much director Mervyn LeRoy was acknowledged and appreciated - at last. John Huston is one of the greats, but I agree that he would have been wrong for 'QV'. LeRoy, long underappreciated as a director, really pulled off a stupendous achievement, which is obvious. There should have been more info on producer Sam Zimbalist. No mention of cameramen Surtees and Skall, or much about the art direction, though there was a good bit about FX artist Peter Ellenshaw. Liz Taylor's cameo isn't mentioned, either. On the whole though, an excellent documentary on a subject where anything at all is welcome.

    Haven't heard F.X. Feeney's commentary during the picture yet, but in the documentary, he seems a decent pick.

    One of the points made was that with DeMille's 'Samson and Delilah', 'QV' launched the '50s-'60s epic film cycle. I would add Henry King's 'David and Bathsheba', also from '51, in the mix. Not as spectacular, but just as meaningful. And its score, by Alfred Newman, is just as important and influential as Rozsa's for 'QV'.

    The original trailers (2 of them) are classy and exciting, to say the least. MGM went all out. In the main trailer, the approach is almost scholarly. No trace of kitsch.

    I have always wondered why MGM never inserted an intermission. Approximately the final third is on Disc 2, so viewers can fake an intermission, (though without Rozsa accompaniment!). I read somewhere that because of the high resolution of the restoration, the coding takes up more DVD space, but it could be because there wasn't enough extra stuff to make a second disc indispensable, so they stretched it over two anyway.

    But what the heck - I'm just ecstatic to see this magnificent picture returned to glory, and that there are a lot of people who care about it. Thank you WB Home Video!

    Only tech reservation: the first sequences look a bit washed out, but maybe it's just my monitor. Have yet to mount it on TV.
    ...more info
  • "...Yes Divinity...It's A Work Of Singular Genius." "Are you sure Petronius...?"

    After 3 tortuous years in the making and adapted from Henryk Sienkiwicz's huge book, "Quo Vadis" was unleashed on the public in early 1952 - just in time for maximum exposure at the Oscars in March. Costing a staggering $7 million dollars (a figure that even now seems extravagant), the sandals and sand epic did huge box office business in a post-war world hungry for pure escapism - and even managed to garnish eight Oscar nominations along the way. Unfortunately - 57 years later - time has not been kind to this bloated beast of a thing.

    But first to the picture quality - as the word "Overture" sits stubbornly on your screen for a few minutes, it's clear that major restoration work has been done here - and then when Robert Taylor (Marcus Vinicus) does turn up riding his chariot into the outskirts of Rome after two years of campaigns, the colour and clarity is BEAUTIFUL. It stays pretty much this way for the whole of the movie - and as you can imagine with this much money spent on it - the outdoor and indoor sets are sumptuous - the BLU RAY image revealing colour and detail everywhere you look.

    The problem for me is that the film itself - no matter how good it may look now - is a crushing bore - and if it weren't for Peter Ustinov's fabulously over-the-top turn as the loony and crass Nero, "Quo Vadis" would be unbearable. The normally lovely Deborah Kerr looks suitably bathed in Christian light and full of love for humanity as you can imagine, but I find her po-faced performance as Lygia to be tedious and strangely dead - and again as a lead, she is acted off the set by a supporting actor - the Oscar nominated Leo Genn. British born Genn plays the artful Petronius - a courtier to the harp-playing, poetry composing, grape-eating Divinity. Petronius uses intelligence and cunning to effortlessly dance around Nero's increasingly ludicrous claims and word games. He - of all the cast - feels the most real - Taylor and Kerr seem to be merely doing their jobs. "Quo Vadis" is three hours long - and for me - I felt too many instances where I wanted to reach for the fast-forward button...Ustinov and Genn kept me from doing so.

    However, for lovers of the film and period buffs, the Blu Ray purchase is a no-brainer. It looks great - and if you have a home cinema kit or better still a projector and large pull-down screen - then this will transport you back to the opulence of Fifties MGM overkill in a way that the DVD never could.

    Great to look at then - but for me - not really a great movie......more info
  • One of the First - And Best - of the Biblical Epics of the 1950's!
    The Biblical epic is a fascinating genre in cinematic history, fusing secular and sacred factors of diverse history and religious mythology into a panorama of lush spectacle and hard-hitting emotional impact, always delivering a poignant message about the purest ideals of the human condition triumphing over evil. Considering that World War II had come to a close and a new conflict - the Cold War - with new enemies - the communist USSR - began soon enough, it would be reasonable that American audiences in the 1950's desired to escape into the legends of ancient empires and Biblical times, therefore reclaiming not only a sense of wonder, but a higher degree of faith within themselves.

    Although the genre had been established in cinema during the silent era, and was resurrected by Cecil B. Demille with his film SAMSON & DELILAH in 1949, it was with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's 1951 adaptation of Henryk Sienkiewicz's novel QUO VADIS (produced by Sam Zimbalist) that the enormously successful trend of Hollywood-produced Biblical epics during the 1950's really took off. And even though it's not as faithful to the novel compared to the more recent 2001 Polish version (save for the bare-bones narrative and a number of duplicated scenarios involving Nero and the Imperial Court), and therefore not as historically accurate (Sienkiewicz made a meticulous effort of researching the Roman Empire at the time of the emperor Nero, while fusing it with the religious undertones of the New Testament within his narrative), it has, along with later films of a similar nature like THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and BEN-HUR (also produced by Zimbalist), stood the test of time as one of the most colossal (as billed in the trailers), earnest and emotionally-powerful productions ever forged. Truth be told, it even holds its own when put up against similar, but less-earnest, modern-day epics like GLADIATOR, TROY and KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, films that rely on their visual styles to carry a somewhat emotionally hollow plot line. (The only epic in recent times to really pull off QUO VADIS' style perfectly is the LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy, although the more recent ALEXANDER and 300 DID make admirable attempts to enhance the level of the human condition within such spiritual/mythological/theological territory).

    As with the book, the film is set in Rome during the year 64 A.D., about 30 years after the Crucifixion of Christ. Enter Marcus Vinicius (Robert Taylor in a performance that he has failed to top since), commander of the 14th legion, who returns after three years service against the native tribes in Briton for a full period of relaxation in his estate in Sicily. Upon his return, he is introduced to the Lygian hostage Lygia Callina (talented British rose Deborah Kerr, pre-FROM HERE TO ETERNITY and THE KING & I), whom he desires with an erotic intensity - while being completely unaware of her position as the member of the ever-growing Christian sect within Rome. Through the machinations of his uncle Caius Petronius, Nero's arbiter-of-elegance (Leo Genn giving a dignified Oscar-nominated performance), Marcus intends to have Nero legally assign Lygia to him as his property, but through the aid of her sect she escapes. In tracking her down, Marcus eventually discovers the nature of her sect, and upon finally meeting her, in a fit of humility confesses his true love for her, as she does for him. However, he faces the hard decision of whether he should abandon her in order to uphold Nero's rule and the Roman way of life, or forsake his Roman background and join the sect so that he can remain with her. That decision is made for him when Nero (the scenery-chewing Peter Ustinov, who tied with Leo Genn for a nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category, one he would eventually win in SPARTACUS), chooses to fulfill his dream as the "true artist" by having his Praetorian guard burn Rome so he can rebuild it as part of his "epic", then chooses to pin the blame on the Christians in order to escape being fatally punished by the Roman mob.

    QUO VADIS, while it may not be perfect, works on so many different levels that it's Herculean to find something that tops its style (in my book, it surpasses both GONE WITH THE WIND and TITANIC). While those looking for a romance will definitely be smitten by the chemistry between Taylor as Marcus and Kerr as Lygia, the real acting magic lies in the scenes between Genn as the humanly-cynical Petronius and Ustinov as the self-pitying (not to mention matricidal) Nero, particularly those scenes where Petronius is forced to tolerate Nero's ineptitude as a poet in terms of writing and vocal performance. They are aided immeasurably by a strong supporting cast of characters, including Finlay Currie (as Apostle Peter), Ralph Truman (as the corrupt Praetorian commander Tigellinus), Buddy Baer (as Lygia's body-built guardian Arsus), and Patricia Raffan (as the conniving harlot empress Poppoea).

    Mervyn LeRoy's direction makes excellent use of bright, saturated Technicolor cinematography within the Academy aspect ratio of 1.33:1 that, when combined with the superb sets, costumes and special effects (the latter factor co-created by Tom Howard of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY fame), result in some of the most overwhelming visuals ever generated on screen, especially during those scenes depicting the burning of Rome and the martyrdom of the Christians thrown to the lions and burned on crosses within the Colosseum. It's a truly breathtaking experience of heightened scale, and proves to be even more authentic given that was all accomplished long before CGI took hold of creating such sequences.

    Also notable is the vibrant score by Miklos Rozsa, at the time a former composer of music for film noir and standard dramas (including his Oscar-winning music for SPELLBOUND and A DOUBLE LIFE), which captures in full essence the love between Marcus and Lygia, the march of the legions, the thrilling action scenes and the relentless spiritual faith of the Christians. Rozsa's score was a first - it created the distinctive theme that many people usually associate with epic motion pictures, and one which he would put to further use in other Biblical epics during the decade, climaxing with a third Oscar win for his music in BEN-HUR. Those epics not scored by Rozsa (which curiously did NOT include THE TEN COMMANDMENTS or SPARTACUS), imitated his sound to perfection, and later composers such as John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Basil Poledouris, Hans Zimmer, and Howard Shore have all paid respective homage to Rozsa ever since, in particular Williams within the STAR WARS & INDIANA JONES films, and Shore in the LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy.

    Don't miss it, especially if it's released on the big screen. Whether you like it or hate it in the end, QUO VADIS is still a must-see that will remain memorable long after most commercial successes today have faded from memory.

    ...more info
  • The Old Fashioned Way
    Watching an epic like QUO VADIS really makes you marvel at the sheer scale of such films -- and why, in that form -- they will never been seen again. GLADITOR, with it's CGI, would probably have cost five or six times as much had it been done with real sets and thousands of extras. The actual making of this movie is, in itself, an incredible epic of a film long delayed but when finally realized, a crowning achievement. Robert Taylor probably gives one of his best performances here along with Deborah Kerr (whom I've always loved since her films with Stewart Granger) and a really over the top performance by Peter Ustinov. A great edition and addition to any home video library! ...more info
  • Two Great Performances
    In addition to the outrageously wonderful performance of Peter Ustinov as Nero in this film, there is the smoldering and lascivious Patricia Laffan (spelling?) who plays his wife, Poppaea. This movie is worth buying just to watch these two. I particularly remember Poppaea lolling about with a cheetah or leopard or tiger on a chain, uttering insolent remarks and casting lustful glances at Marcus Vinicius (Robert Taylor). There is much spectacle and wonderful sets....more info
  • Overlong 1951 epic. Worth seeing for Peter Ustinov
    Spectacular sets. Peter Ustinov steals movies as Nero. Leo Genn always the finest supporting actor. Robert Taylor is wooden as usual. Deborah Kerr just stands around looking prettily made up. Almost 3 hour film is just too long. Contents do not justify it's length. Worth seeing once....more info
  • Still spectacular
    The previews for this movie on the VHS tape tout it as being 12 years in the making, with a cast of 30,000, and promises to be the movie spectacular of a lifetime. Well, 51 years later I'd say it's still pretty spectacular and has aged surprisingly well. I'd never seen it until now, except for bit and pieces here and there, and it's still a pretty impressive movie. The fine performances by Kerr, Ustinov, Genn, Currie, Taylor and many others still resonate, and some of the scenes, such as the burning of Rome, the Coloseum scene with the lions and Christians, still compare to anything that's been done since, and as a result, the movie has lost little of its drama, glitter, and glamour. Despite the almost 3 hours in length, the movie rarely, if ever, seems to drag or get boring. All in all, still a great movie. Big Steve says go see it and (or in this case, rent it or buy it) and don't Bogart the popcorn....more info
  • FINALLY ! ! !
    Well, why did it take so long? This film that MGM spent a fortune on has been sadly neglected by "the powers that be". But now it's FINALLY available in all of its Techincolor glory. The 'extras" ars so-so, the comentary is by a dolt who fails in every department(a schlock movie hack). This is the decades most LAVISH production, and this fool is way out of his element - moronic. But don't let this fools ramblings deter you - This is a magnificent bundle of Technicolor fun - Day dont make em like dis no mo.
    It's now, at long last, beautifilly restored. I'd like to have seen what was left on the cutting-rooom floor. Rozsa's MAGNIFICENT score is no small part of this films attraction. The soundtrack was destroyed in a studio fire. Rerecordings don't have the primitive ferocitey of the original soundtrack - They are versions of Rozsa's "concert" revisions and can't hold a candle to the soundtrack sessions - much was lost!)). The mostly British cast proves Taylor's wooden preformance "out of their league" - Ustinov & Laffan are evil delights, Kerr, delicate & simpering, Currie, a Scotish Peter (who else rolls those R's like Currie - no one could say RRRome like Currie.
    The sets & costumes have NEVER been equaled - lavish in the extreem (a joy to freeze-frame). This MGM extravaganza really started the 1950's epic series (to pull 'em away from TV) - But everything, (THE ROBE - LAND OF THE PHARAOHS, (the absurd) SIGN OF THE PAGAN, the terrifically tacky; THE PRODIGAL, were trashy & cheap compared to QUO VADIS - Perhaps the pinnacle had been reached with this super production - Ben Hur is it's ONLY equal for pure spectacle.
    In any case, this is a long awaited release - GET IT - It's a wonderful extravagance!

    ...more info
  • Wonderful spectacle, but way too short for what the story tries to tell
    A beautiful print of this good film. The film is not quite as good as the original book though. But decent, considering that Mervyn Leroy was behind the wheel of this super-production, so it could hardly fail. The best is the crisp and beautiful cinematography, the real sets, the colors, the whole spectacle of it. The weakest is the shortage of running time: the story has been shortened way to much from the original. There is no time for transitions, no character development. The heroine meets the hero and in no time he's become a Christian and they are married. It makes no sense. For the story to work properly it should have had, at least, one more hour only for character development; and then more for lots of facts that matter and are not even told in the film. For instance: the Greek character who is paid to go and pass as a Christians to later on betray them to the Romans. There's a lot of stuff that goes untold in the film. Therefore the film is just a great spectacle, but no more. Saved by the sheer audacity of a good director.

    Oh, what it could have been with more time, and more money!...more info