The Sign of the Cross

The Sign of the Cross ★★★★★

“I hear Christians aren’t digestible.”

This is it, the pre-code holy writ. Epic Bible porn by the only man who could do it. Daddy DeMille disguising his sex and violence kink as a Christian martyr bedtime story. His indiscreet dreams brought to life on the silver screen.

Charles Laughton’s campy queer Nero playing the lute while Rome burns sets the stage for a whirlwind of delicious debauchery: a lesbian milk bath (with two areola slips—I was looking, for research), child screams from the torture dungeon, a little girl trying to pull an arrow from her dead mother’s side, a head crushed by elephant foot and a gored man posing in death like a Caravaggio saint. To name a few.

Fredric March gives the best/worst performance as prefect Marcus, absolutely single-minded in the pursuit of what he wants (virtuous Christian pussy). Claudette Colbert is at her wickedest, throwing everyone to the literal lions so she can have glam rock Freddie March all to herself. Elissa Landi is…okay (her blonde hair shines properly, angelically white under the bright lights). But the man in the gorilla suit, seen for five seconds dancing around a half-nude Jesus freak tied to a stake, lust in his faux-simian eyes, you’re a star.

“I saw the Master.”

➡️ Pre-Code Essentials 📚

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