Monday, February 7, 2022

By the Gods!

Salome (Rita Hayworth) is greeted by King Herod (Charles Laughton ) and his entourage in SALOME (1953)

After the success of QUO VADIS (1951) and SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949), and the eventual success of THE ROBE the same year SALOME was released, Hollywood went full in with spectacular movies set in Antiquity, mainly based on stories from the Bible. The character Salome is a well known Biblical figure and making a movie based on her story starring Rita Hayworth almost seemed like an inevitability. But since this is a Columbia Pictures, the scale of the movie itself wasn't as gargantuan as those movies listed above. The mostly studio bound movie doesn't look that different than other Columbia releases back then, like SLAVES OF BABYLON (1953). The production is very good but nowhere near something like QUO VADIS. In fact, costumes from QUO VADIS were re-used for this movie. What sets this one apart from the Columbia 'cheapies' is the excellent cast: Charles Laughton, Judith Anderson (far left), Stewart Granger (Roman), Cedric Hardwicke, etc. All A listers. I like this movie but it is limited by its budget. I got a copy of this in HD and it is so much better than the one from the DVD. It actually looks almost spectacular, like the scene above. Details are excellent and the movie looks less like some TV episode. The dance of the seven veils, the movie's highlight, looks like a work of art now. The movie was never released on Blu-ray in the US but it is available in HD at Amazon US


Anonymous said...

Despite it not being as expensive as the others it was the most expensive movie Columbia had made since Lost Horizon. There was a lot of location photography done in the Holy Land for this movie. I have many photos of director William Dieterle filming there. The movie is out on Blu-ray in the U.S. as part of a Rita Hayworth box set and it looks stunning. I had no idea some of the costumes were from Quo Vadis.
I would think only the Roman armor for the extras (probably rented from Western Costume) as the rest were designed by Jean Louis.

PEPLUM TV said...

You can't buy the Blu-ray alone. I don't dislike her non-PEPLUM movies but I would only be interested in buying that one which is a shame.

It has some nice location scenes but the bulk of the movie was shot in studios, including the John the Baptist scene when Salome first sees him.

Costumes from QUO VADIS ended up in this movie, and not just the Roman armor.

Anonymous said...

I bought the set only for Salome and Loves of Carmen but the other movies were also enjoyable. It is really an inexpensive set considering how many films you get and the great quality of all of them.

I have a nice stand alone DVD of Salome that I got years ago from England.