Sins of Rome (1953)



Director:  Riccardo Fredo

Starring:  Ludmilla Tcherina (Amitys), Massimo Girotti (Spartacus), Gianna Maria Canale (Sabina Crassus), Yves Vincent (Ocnomas, Spartacus'lieutenant),  Carlo Ninchi (Marcus Licinius Crassus), Vittorio Sanipoli (Marcus Virilius Rufus), Carlo Giustini (Artorige), Umberto Silvestri (Lentulus), Teresa Franchini (Spartacus' Mother).

Country:  Italian film


The worse of the three films on Spartacus.

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire movie.

74 B.C. Thrace, though conquered, refuses to accept defeat by the Romans.  The Councilor of the City tells the Roman commander Rufus that the Romans should stay off the road because it is sacred.  Rufus kills the Councilor for his audacity.  This brings the ire of the man's daughter Amitys down on Rufus.  When Rufus threatens to kill Amitys, Spartacus fights with Rufus and stops him.  This infuriates Rufus and he brings charges against Spartacus. 

Spartacus is brought before Crassus.  Spartacus is a Thracian merchant serving under Rufus.  Crassus is told that Spartacus is a traitor.  Crassus is about to sentence Spartacus to death when Sabina, the daughter of Crassus, speaks to her father about another matter, thereby distracting him.   Spartacus is not sentenced to death, but he will be a slave. 

Thracian slaves are brought to Rome.  Spartacus sees his mother who is already a slave.   He goes wild in trying to free his mother.  He is finally forced to stop fighting at spear-point.  Lentulus, the manager of the gladiators, is interested in having Spartacus in the arena.  The manager will get a lot of money from the bets that will be put on the new man.  But when Lentulus speaks harshly to Spartacus, Spartacus talks back for which he is thrown into a jail cell.  Spartacus is whipped as an extra punishment. 

Amitys is the slave of Sabina.  Rufus visits Sabina, who he really likes.  Rufus tells Sabina that Spartacus was flogged.  Later Sabina visits Spartacus.  She tells him:  "If you listen to me, you can go free."  Spartacus responds to her entreaties with "Yes, you're lovely, but I hate you."  Sabina tells him that she has bought his mother and that both of them could go free if he would be good to her (Sabina).  When Lentulus shows up, Sabina objects to the way he has been treating Spartacus.  She explains that she has bet a lot of money on the new man and she does not want to lose it. 

Sabina creates a new plot for the new gladiator games.  Amitys stars as the dancing girl on a boat propelled by oarsmen.  Sabina explains that the story is one in which the dancing girl is to be put to death at the end and that the ending will be real.  Amitys is tied to the boat.  The caged lions are let into the arena.  The lions, climbing onto the ship, attack the gladiators.  Spartacus, informed that Amitys is in danger, rushes into the arena.  He is able to chase the big cats back to their cages.  Spartacus is now a hero to the crowd and it is the audience that saves him from Sabina's ire.  He frees Amitys from her ropes.  Spartacus and Amitys are granted their freedom, but Spartacus refuses to accept liberty while his brothers are still in slavery. 

Spartacus kills Lentulus and leads a revolt of the gladiators and the slaves.  Spartacus heads along the road to Naples.  Thousands of slaves come with him.  Spartacus chases after what he thinks is an enemy horseman on a hill.  The "horseman" turns out to be Amitys on horseback.  The are happy to see each other. 

Rufus is leading a legion of Roman soldiers against Spartacus.  Spartacus out scouting the environment runs into Rufus's advance guard.  They chase after Spartacus, but he is able to get away from them.  He is, however, hurt in the escape.  Very weak, he manages to get to Sabina's place.  Sabina says to her staff "I'll look after him myself."

Back with the rebels, the camp has run out of water. Octavius, Spartacus's lieutenant, tells Amitys that they will have to move on even without Spartacus.  Amitys tells him that they should wait for Spartacus, but Octavius ignores her, saying "We are forced to move."

The next morning, Spartacus is up and about.  Sabina works her wiles on him and he kisses her.  But then he hears a commotion caused by the flogging of a slave.  He tells Sabina that the cry of the slave has broken her spell over him.  While telling her he is free of her at last, Rufus arrives to visit Sabina.  He asks her to marry him, but she is not interested.  She says good-bye to him and then searches for Spartacus.  But Spartacus has already gone.

Spartacus is upset when he learns that the decision was made to move the camp against his orders.  He tells his command that "We will attack."  At night they head to a Roman fortification.  They knock out the guards and pour into the fortification.  They burn the enemy tents and kill many of the Roman soldiers.  They then burn the fortification itself. 

Rufus makes up an excuse to explain his being caught off-guard saying that since they were taken by surprise, treachery must have been involved.  The Romans suffered 2,000 dead and Spartacus got their equipment and supplies.  Crassus says that he himself will now go out after Spartacus. 

Sabina arrives in the slave camp to see Spartacus.  She tells Spartacus that she brings a proposal.  Spartacus says he will go with Sabina, but will return tomorrow.  Amitys comes to Spartacus's tent, only to be told by Octavius that Spartacus left with Sabina.  He claims that Spartacus has abandoned his men.  (Octavius is motivated by love for Amitys and jealousy of Spartacus.) 

In a meeting with Spartacus, Crassus says he has ten times the number of men Spartacus has.  He asks the rebel if he thinks he and his slaves will be able to capture Rome and Spartacus answers in the affirmative.  Crassus can't believe his ears.  He informs Spartacus that Caesar is in the north and that ten legions are coming from Spain.  Spartacus is unmoved. 

Back at camp, Amitys, believing that Spartacus has abandoned his people and her, tells the assembled slaves that "We must destroy Rome.  Follow Octavius."  The slave army begins its assault on the Romans.  Spartacus returns in time to join the fighting, but still the Romans deliver a terrible defeat to the slave army.  Amitys discovers Spartacus among the dying and dead.  She finds him just before he dies of his wounds. 

Pretty poor movie.  The movie is short, one hour and ten minutes, and has very little truth to it.  The story is pretty much all  made up.  They throw in the daughter of Crassus, Sabina, to make a triangle of two women fighting for the love of Spartacus.  Spartacus wins one victory by surprising the Romans and is totally destroyed in the second battle.  The fellow barely gets started before he's dead.  In real life, Spartacus was a much greater threat to the Romans than portrayed in this movie.  Try a different Spartacus movie, not this one.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 


Historical Background:


See Spartacus (1960) .



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