- 1 hr 43 min
In 1953, the movie Salome was released, starring Rita Hayworth, Stewart Granger, and Charles Laughton. The movie is a take on the biblical tale of Salome, the woman who danced for King Herod and demanded the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Salome is a classic story of lust, sin, and revenge, brought to life by some of Hollywood's most illustrious talent.
Rita Hayworth plays the titular role of Salome, a young princess who is infamous for her beauty and her dancing. Herod (Charles Laughton), the king of Judea, becomes infatuated with her and offers her anything she desires if she will perform the Dance of the Seven Veils for him. Salome agrees to dance but demands the head of John the Baptist (also known as Jokanaan), who is being held prisoner by Herod.
Stewart Granger plays Captain Narbo, a soldier who is sent to bring Salome to Herod's palace. Narbo is immediately smitten with Salome and tries to convince her to abandon her plan to demand John's head. Salome is not interested in Narbo's affections, however, and remains focused on her goal.
The movie is a Technicolor spectacle, with opulent sets and costumes that evoke the splendor of ancient Judea. The Dance of the Seven Veils scene, in particular, is a highlight of the film. Rita Hayworth, who was known as the Love Goddess of Hollywood, performs the dance with sensuality and grace, clad in a series of shimmering veils that reveal ever more of her body.
Charles Laughton gives a robust and over-the-top performance as Herod, the decadent king who is both fascinated and repulsed by Salome. Laughton's Herod is a lascivious and grotesque figure, with a love of wine, food, and women. His scenes with Hayworth crackle with tension and discomfort, as Salome does her best to manipulate him while he struggles to resist her charms.
Stewart Granger is the film's leading man, but he is somewhat overshadowed by the larger-than-life performances of Hayworth and Laughton. His character is less interesting and less complex than either of theirs, although he does get a few moments to shine, particularly in the scenes where he interacts with the soldier guarding John the Baptist.
The movie's score, composed by Mario Nascimbene, is a lush and sweeping orchestral score that contributes to the film's grandeur. The music swells during the film's most dramatic moments, adding to the sense of spectacle and intensity.
Salome was directed by William Dieterle, a German-born director who had worked with Hayworth before, on the 1944 film, "Cover Girl." Dieterle infuses the film with a sense of grandeur and operatic excess, creating a cinematic experience that is both sumptuous and unsettling.
While Salome may not be the most faithful retelling of the biblical tale, it is a vivid and unforgettable interpretation. Hayworth's performance, in particular, elevates the film beyond a mere costume drama and into the realm of classic Hollywood spectacle. The film's themes of desire, sin, and revenge are timeless, and the movie's climax still manages to shock and surprise, even almost 60 years after its release.
In conclusion, Salome is a must-watch film for fans of classic Hollywood and for anyone interested in adaptations of Bible stories. The film's elegant sets, dazzling costumes, and sensational performances make it a feast for the eyes, and the story's themes of lust and revenge ensure that it remains relevant even today.
Salome is a 1953 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 43 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.8.