Somewhere about 1900 BC, the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah got brimstoned because, says St Paul, of the “vile affections” of their inhabitants – principally the perversion to which Sodom has given its name.
Hence to make a film about Sodom and Gomorrah without being too specific about their perversions presents a few problems. But not for Italian producer Goffredo Lombardo. He spent around five million dollars reducing a story of sodomy to the terms of a swords-and-sandals matinee movie.
As he tells it, the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were too busy avoiding the expertly wielded shepherd’s crook of the athletic Hebrew prophet, Lot (Stewart Granger), to have much time for sex, orthodox or otherwise.
True, Queen Bera (Anouk Aimée) casts a knowing look at her handmaiden, and her scheming brother Astaroth (Stanley Baker) occasionally nibbles on her fingertips. But this appears more from finger-nibbling interest than incest.
Stewart Granger’s Lot is a lot too English, while the rest of the cast is resolutely Mediterranean.
There is a fairly spectacular lengthy battle scene early on (it’s great to see hundreds of actual real people fighting on the screen in these days of CGI), and the last reel’s holocaust – done with miniatures – is worth the cost.
Shot over 11 months, it’s basically another excursion down the old Cecil B De Mille stream with plenty of gee whiz, but not much Genesis.
Sergio Leone was hired to direct the second unit but left shortly after production began. To this day, it is unclear whether he quit or was fired.
Giacomo Rossi Stuart
Anthony Steffen (as Antonio De Teffe)
Feodor Chaliapin Jr