Constantine and the Cross
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Top Customer Reviews
One of the more notable scenes in which historical fact comes together with a fudging of Constantine's life is the arena scene. In this segment, Constantine jumps down into a pit where Christians are maliciously being slaughtered. Historically, the feeding-the-Christians-to-the-lions motif is right on. Under the emperor Galerius (ruled 305-311 A.D., shortly before Constantine ascended to the throne), Christian persecution was at its height. While it is untrue that Constantine slew lions to save Christians, the arena scene nevertheless serves as an excellent depiction of incidents which really happened.
The really notable quality of this movie lies in its portrayal of major historical happenings. As a previous reviewer noted, Diocletian and Maximian really did abdicate the throne in 308. It is also true that his mother, Helena, was a Christian (although the details re: his relationship w/her in the movie are fictional). He did marry Fausta (although he had her and his eldest son Crispus put to death for treason in 326 - long after the time period covered in this movie). The inclusion of Constantine's "divine vision" before his battle with Maxentius is essential; perhaps one of the defining moments in the entire history of Christianity. The actual battle itself is also given accurate treatment as Maxentius' cavalry was ambushed and trapped by Constantine's forces, just as the film claims.Read more ›
Well, how does it stack up 34 years after the first viewing? Suprisingly, not as badly as I would have thought. It's an Italian-American co-production starring Cornel Wilde as Constantine and a bunch of Italian sword-and-sandles stock players, made circa 1960 to cash in on the "Ben Hur" biblical epic craze. The budget was obviously pretty slim, and the cinematography, costumes and sets all have the standard Italian budget production look. Despite this, the script is suprisingly literate. I was amazed at the amount of real history the makers crammed in, resisting the temptation to "dumb down" one of the most complex and fascinating eras in history, the early 4th Century AD. At any one time, there were as many as six Emperors ruling different parts of the Empire, and the scriptwriters make a creditable stab at sorting through this confusion.Read more ›
I first saw Constantine and The Cross three years ago on an EP recorded videotape released by DEC. Now with the DVD, I've noticed a few changes. First, the main titles and prologue were rife with print damage: tears, scratches, etc. It looks like they've gone back and cleaned it up by running still images of each title card over the original music. The prologue text following it looks video generated, evidenced by the black dropshadow that wasn't there in the original text. Otherwise, the DVD is about the same as the tape, with the faded color and print damage mentioned by the first reviewer. Also worth mentioning is how the movie(both DVD and VHS) is letterboxed at a ratio significantly less than the 2.35 to 1 ratio of its Totalscope process. 2 to 1 at best, and everyone is a little on the thin side, suggesting then that the anamorphic print was not fully "unsqueezed".
The technical issues aside, I must say that Constantine and The Cross is a good movie that separates itself from other Italian spectacles with an intelligent script and capable actors. The production values seem higher than most of that era, though it does suffers from lethargic and poorly staged battles like other peplum.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great movie. Christians are finally accepted after so many years of suffering the wrath of the Roman Empire. 300 AD
was a major historic event. Read more
This is a good historical film about Constantine and how countries vied for land and power. It is an older film and the color was not as vivid as today's films are, but the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mary K. Minjeur
Extremely POOR quality film. Many films of the 1950s have been restored or preserved to maintain film degradation. Read morePublished 5 months ago by markparisi
I did not like this movie because of the poor quality of the transfer. There are scratches and lines through out the film. The show is faded and a bit blurry. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Bwhami