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Sign of the Pagan (1954)

With the Roman Empire divided, Attila the Hun hopes to conquer. In his way are a brave centurion, a beautiful princess...and Christianity.

Director:

Douglas Sirk

Writers:

Oscar Brodney (screenplay), Barré Lyndon (screenplay) (as Barre Lyndon) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Chandler ... Marcian
Jack Palance ... Attila
Ludmilla Tchérina ... Princess Pulcheria (as Ludmilla Tcherina)
Rita Gam ... Kubra
Jeff Morrow ... General Paulinus
George Dolenz ... Emperor Theodosius
Eduard Franz ... Astrologer
Allison Hayes ... Ildico
Alexander Scourby ... Chrysaphius
Howard Petrie ... Gundahar
Michael Ansara ... Edecon
Leo Gordon ... Bleda
Moroni Olsen ... Pope Leo I
Fred Nurney Fred Nurney ... Chamberlain
Sara Shane ... Myra
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Storyline

Roman centurion Marcian is captured by Attila the Hun en route to Constantinople, but escapes. On arrival, he finds the eastern Roman emperor Theodosius plotting with Attila to look the other way while the latter marches against Rome. But Marcian gains the favor of Pulcheria, lovely sister of Theodosius, who favors a united Empire. As Attila marches, things look bleak for the weakened imperial forces. But the conqueror has an awe of the power of the Christians' God... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Against the ravaging hordes of ATTILA...stood a warrior's might and a people's faith! Against his ruthless pagan lusts...the power of a woman's love!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Atila frente a Roma See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Moroni Olsen. See more »

Goofs

During the wrestling scene, no matter how much the handle of the spit is turned, the meat carcass never moves. See more »

Quotes

Pope Leo I: Rome is a Christian city, and the Temple of God!
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the list of actors at the start of the film it says: "AND Statesmen, Citizens, Soldiers of the Armies of the Roman Empire and the Hordes of Attila" See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Long Day Closes (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Palance's Presence Makes This a Watchable Epic
16 October 2006 | by ragosaalSee all my reviews

"The Sign of the Pagan" is a pretended swords and sandals epic film about Attila the Hun's attack on the remains of a divided Roman empire. The screenplay tries somehow to follow historic facts and show us some events in the Hun King's life that we know about (his merciful attacks on villages while marching against Rome, his meeting with Pope Leo, his contacts with the Romans -he had been a hostage in Rome as a young boy- and his death by the hand of slave girl Ildico).

But in all the movie lacks a sense of greatness and the big spectacle other films of the same genre that were released about the same time achieved ("Quo Vadis" and "Helen of Troy" are clear examples).

The cast is not very accurate either. Jeff Chandler was always a standard actor but no more than that (perhaps his best performance was that of Apache chief Cochise in 1950's western "Broken Arrow"), and he looks wooden and unconvincing as the Roman Centurion that tries to defeat Attila. Ludmilla Tcherina was not much of an actress either and her Princess Pulcheria character is too simple. Rita Gam clearly overacts as Palance's daughter that starts to question his father's ideas about Rome. What makes this film worth a watch is Jack Palance's performance as the Hun chief; he has the proper "physiche du rol", some make up helps him too but he manages to transmit the strength and conviction a warrior leader like Attila was supposed to have.

Too many indoor shooting doesn't help the picture either. I think Douglas Sirk was a fine director but he felt more comfortable in contemporary dramas such as "Written in the Wind".

"The Sign of the Pagan" is just for fans of the genre or to watch a fine performance by Jack Palance as an historical figure. Not much more in my opinion but superior to the Italian try on Attila's whereabouts starring Anthomy Quinn and Sophia Loren released almost at the same time).


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