20 March 2019 | SimonJack
Fair film about Constantine's rise and the early church of Rome
"Constantine and the Cross" is an historical film set in the fourth century of the Roman Empire, and the last days of its pagan and mythological cults. It covers the period when Constantine became emperor and ended the persecution of the young Christian faith. It gives a good rendition of Constantine's rise and the battles that led to his reunification of the empire.
The film is a British-Italian production, filmed in Italy. Cornel Wilde plays Constantine. Most of the rest of the cast are Europeans actors - Italians making up the bulk. The sets, costumes and battle scenes are well done. But the screenplay is very choppy, and the direction and editing seem slipshod. Wilde and others who play Roman soldiers are wooden much of the time. The rest of the cast give just so-so performances.
The movie lacks energy and seems to drag on in many places. Only those interested in history and the survival of early Christianity are likely to enjoy it.
A nice plus that boosts this film's rating is its scenes of the catacombs in Rome. Very few films have been made that show the catacombs. But they were a crucial aspect of the early Christian church and its survival and growth in Rome.
I toured two different catacombs in Rome in 1963. With so many sites and things to see in Rome, many tour groups skip the catacombs. I recommend a visit to at least one. Especially to those interested in history or the first four centuries of Christianity.