Salome (1953)

102-103 or 105 mins | Drama | March 1953

Director:

William Dieterle

Writer:

Harry Kleiner

Producer:

Buddy Adler

Cinematographer:

Charles Lang Jr.

Editor:

Viola Lawrence

Production Designer:

John Meehan

Production Companies:

Beckworth Corp., Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

Working titles of the film were Dance of the Seven Veils and Salome--the Dance of the Seven Veils . A 13 Feb 1952 LAT news item announced that Robert Ardrey would be writing the script, but his contribution to the final film has not been determined. The same item stated that the film was to be based on the novel Good Tidings by William Sidney, but there is no indication that that author ever published a book by that name. Director William Dieterle did write a novel in 1950 titled The Good Tidings , but it is not known if Dieterle's book has any connection to the film. According to New Testament accounts in the books of Matthew and Mark, the real Princess Salome (1st century A.D.) was the granddaughter of Herod the Great (73--20 B.C.) and daughter of Herodias and Herod Philip. Unlike the story presented in the film, after Salome's dance for her stepfather Herod Antipas, she requested the head of John the Baptist at the behest of her mother.
       Rita Hayworth's father, Eduardo Cansino, was cast in a small role as a Roman guard. A HR news item adds Peter Brocco in the cast, but he was not identifiable in the print viewed. The picture marked the American feature film debut of English actor Alan Badel. Information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that studio head Harry Cohn worked closely with the PCA to minimize protests from the Catholic Legion of Decency about the portrayal of "a lascivious dance in a picture dealing ... More Less

Working titles of the film were Dance of the Seven Veils and Salome--the Dance of the Seven Veils . A 13 Feb 1952 LAT news item announced that Robert Ardrey would be writing the script, but his contribution to the final film has not been determined. The same item stated that the film was to be based on the novel Good Tidings by William Sidney, but there is no indication that that author ever published a book by that name. Director William Dieterle did write a novel in 1950 titled The Good Tidings , but it is not known if Dieterle's book has any connection to the film. According to New Testament accounts in the books of Matthew and Mark, the real Princess Salome (1st century A.D.) was the granddaughter of Herod the Great (73--20 B.C.) and daughter of Herodias and Herod Philip. Unlike the story presented in the film, after Salome's dance for her stepfather Herod Antipas, she requested the head of John the Baptist at the behest of her mother.
       Rita Hayworth's father, Eduardo Cansino, was cast in a small role as a Roman guard. A HR news item adds Peter Brocco in the cast, but he was not identifiable in the print viewed. The picture marked the American feature film debut of English actor Alan Badel. Information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that studio head Harry Cohn worked closely with the PCA to minimize protests from the Catholic Legion of Decency about the portrayal of "a lascivious dance in a picture dealing with John the Baptist and Christ." The PCA also closely monitored Hayworth's wardrobe for the dance, to avoid the suggestion of a "striptease." The Legion gave the film a "B" rating upon its release. Columbia came under strong criticism by the Allied States Association of Motion Picture Exhibitors for limiting prerelease engagements of Salome to qualifying theaters in cities of 75,000 people or more and charging higher admission prices.
       The story of Salome has been filmed many times. American versions include the 1918 Fox film Salome starring Theda Bara and directed by J. Gordon Edwards (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ); a 1922 Allied Productions film starring Nazimova and directed by Charles Bryant; and a 1923 George H. Wiley film starring Diane Allen and directed by Malcolm Strauss (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Mar 1953.
---
Box Office
14 Mar 1953.
---
Daily Variety
13 Mar 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
13 Mar 53
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 1952
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jun 1952
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 1952
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 53
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
13 Feb 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 Mar 53
p. 1757.
New York Times
22 Mar 53
sec. II, p. 5.
New York Times
25 Mar 53
p. 37.
Variety
21 Jan 1953
p. 7, 24.
Variety
18 Mar 53
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
and introducing
William McCormick
Eddy Fields
Tris Coffin
William Wilkerson
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Men's cost
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus for dances
SOUND
DANCE
Dance for Miss Hayworth created by
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech consultant
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Dance of the Seven Veils
Salome--The Dance of the Seven Veils
Release Date:
March 1953
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 24 March 1953
Production Date:
mid June--early August 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Beckworth Corp.
Copyright Date:
28 January 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2233
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
102-103 or 105
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16050
SYNOPSIS

In the province of Galilee, under the rule of Rome's Tiberius Caesar, King Herod and Queen Herodias sit on the throne and are condemned by a prophet known as John the Baptist. Herodias bitterly resents John's denunciation of her marriage to the king, her former husband's brother, and the Baptist's claim that she is an adulteress. Herod, however, takes no action against John's seditious preaching, fearing that John may be the messiah foretold by prophecy. In Rome, Tiberius appoints Pontius Pilate as governor of Judea, where he is directed to maintain the peace. Caesar then rejects a petition from his nephew, Marcellus Fabius, who requests permission to wed the beautiful daughter of Herodias, Princess Salome, who has lived in Rome since childhood. Caesar reminds Marcellus that he must marry a Roman and, calling Salome a barbarian, banishes her back to Galilee. Salome departs Rome for Galilee on the same ship on which Pilate sails. During the voyage Commander Claudius flirts with Salome, but she remains aloof. Upon arriving in Judea, Salome and her escort, led by Claudius, come across a crowd of people by the river, who are being baptized by John. Claudius, who is a secret convert to the prophet's new religion, saves John when he is attacked for preaching against Rome. That night, Claudius slips away from Salome's camp and visits John, who warns him never to risk his life for him again. The next day at the palace, Herodias joyfully receives word of Salome's arrival, but worries about keeping her daughter safe from her stepfather Herod's well-known lechery. That evening at a formal supper welcoming the new governor, Herod ... +


In the province of Galilee, under the rule of Rome's Tiberius Caesar, King Herod and Queen Herodias sit on the throne and are condemned by a prophet known as John the Baptist. Herodias bitterly resents John's denunciation of her marriage to the king, her former husband's brother, and the Baptist's claim that she is an adulteress. Herod, however, takes no action against John's seditious preaching, fearing that John may be the messiah foretold by prophecy. In Rome, Tiberius appoints Pontius Pilate as governor of Judea, where he is directed to maintain the peace. Caesar then rejects a petition from his nephew, Marcellus Fabius, who requests permission to wed the beautiful daughter of Herodias, Princess Salome, who has lived in Rome since childhood. Caesar reminds Marcellus that he must marry a Roman and, calling Salome a barbarian, banishes her back to Galilee. Salome departs Rome for Galilee on the same ship on which Pilate sails. During the voyage Commander Claudius flirts with Salome, but she remains aloof. Upon arriving in Judea, Salome and her escort, led by Claudius, come across a crowd of people by the river, who are being baptized by John. Claudius, who is a secret convert to the prophet's new religion, saves John when he is attacked for preaching against Rome. That night, Claudius slips away from Salome's camp and visits John, who warns him never to risk his life for him again. The next day at the palace, Herodias joyfully receives word of Salome's arrival, but worries about keeping her daughter safe from her stepfather Herod's well-known lechery. That evening at a formal supper welcoming the new governor, Herod is fawning over Salome, when a report arrives that John has entered the city. To Pilate's and Herodias' dismay, Herod refuses to order any action. Salome is puzzled by her mother's fear of John and remains skeptical when Claudius later reveals that he believes John is a prophet. A few nights later, Salome disguises herself in plain robes in order to attend a sermon delivered by John. When the Baptist condemns Herodias for ignoring the law, Salome defends her, but is startled when John recognizes her and warns her not to get caught up in the wickedness at court. Returning to the palace, Salome visits Herodias, who explains that if John is the messiah, as Herod believes, prophecy forbids that he be harmed. Salome suggests that her mother leave Herod, but Herodias reveals that she has remained only to ensure Salome's inheritance of the throne. Salome then pleads with Claudius to arrest John to appease her mother. Claiming that he has no authority to do so, Claudius refuses, leaving Salome hurt and disappointed. Desperate to put a stop to John's public accusations, Herodias arranges for an assassin to strike at John's next sermon, but Claudius, disguised as a local shepherd, intercedes and demands the assassin be taken to Herod. Although the man refuses to confess, Herod realizes Herodias is behind the attack and decides to bring John before the ministers for speaking treason. The following day, John's arrest stirs the people, and Salome, believing Claudius is responsible, is content. In the ministers' chamber, John declares that he is not the messiah and can only preach the truth, but the ministers, under Herod's coercion, find him guilty. Privately, Herod offers to save John's life if he will stop his denunciations, but John refuses and is imprisoned. Claudius beseeches Herod to free John as his imprisonment will bring about an uprising by the people, and when Herod refuses, the commander hurries to Jerusalem for an audience with Pilate. Claudius advises Pilate that a rebellion in Galilee may spread to the other provinces, but Pilate wants John executed. When Claudius urges Pilate to turn away from using force and try more peaceful methods, the governor realizes that Claudius has been converted. Because of their long friendship, he resists placing Claudius under arrest, but orders him back to Rome on the next available galley ship. Shortly thereafter, Claudius witnesses a sermon and healing of the sick by a carpenter who has been gaining reputation in the countryside. In Galilee, Herodias anxiously watches the growing public agitation for John's release and shocks Salome by asking her to gain Herod's favor by performing a dance at the feast that evening, then having him destroy John. Appalled, Salome seeks out Claudius, who takes her to John's cell and describes how the carpenter raised a man from the dead. Upon learning this, John declares that the carpenter is the prophesized messiah. Overcome, Salome confesses her sins and the Baptist blesses her. Claudius then tells Salome that he will risk his rank to free John, but she insists that she will perform for Herod and request John's freedom. That night, Salome dances for the king, who is mesmerized. Herodias then suggests he give her the Baptist's head and her advisor, Micha, quickly takes an executioner to John's cell, where Claudius' soldiers battle the palace guard. John is taken by Micha's men and beheaded, and his head is taken to Herod and the queen. Horrified, Salome denounces her mother and flees with Claudius to the countryside, where they find solace in the words of the carpenter. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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