Before The Ten Commandments, before Ben-Hur, before Spartacus (and of course Gladiator and 300) there was Quo Vadis!!!!!!!
Yes Quo Vadis, one of Hollywood’s biggest and most lavish biblical epics, has finally come to Blu-ray!! Granted there are many who won’t have the vaguest idea of this movie, let alone what the title means (if my two years of latin aren’t too rusty, I believe it means “Where are you going?”, in reference to a line spoken in the film). However, it is certainly a lost gem ripe for rediscovery.
One would think recounting the story of a Roman general (Robert Taylor) seeking the love and devotion of an adopted christian daughter (Deborah Kerr) of a King would be a fairly lack luster event, however, MGM’s massive 171 minutes epic from 1951 is anything but. With the crown jewel of the piece naturally being Peter Ustinov as Nero, one can see many of the mannerisms he would later perfect in Spartacus, truly a delight to witness. Quo Vadis is an epic treasure which surely deserves a rerelease into theaters to better appreciate its magnificence as a classical Hollywood production, with a cast of nearly 30,000!! Its true splendor in its sprawling, beautiful vistas is something CG can never touch, and it is what will allow the film to endure and only become more popular with age.
On Warner Bros. beautifully restored Blu-ray, the film looks immaculate. However that is not to say there aren’t some issues, as the richly saturated colors of this three strip technicolor film tend to bleed over each other from time to time. However, as with all Blu-rays, this is merely a highlighting of what is already present in the print itself. Its sound, while true HD, is only stereo, however this maintains the original integrity of the soundtrack and is more than ample.
In the special features department there is an excellently informative and fun commentary by film historian F.X. Feeney, as well as a brand new featurette titled In the Beginning: Quo Vadis and Genesis of the Biblical Epic, and some trailers rounding it out.
Overall a truly delicious forgotten Hollywood epic that deserves a look from the both film lovers and casual viewers a like. Hopefully this DVD/Blu-ray release will give it the credit and esteem it deserves.