Unlike most screen spectacles, Sign of the Pagan's running time is a tight 91 minutes, in which the flash of the Roman Empire period is not permitted to slow down the telling of an interesting action story.

Unlike most screen spectacles, Sign of the Pagan’s running time is a tight 91 minutes, in which the flash of the Roman Empire period is not permitted to slow down the telling of an interesting action story.

Plot [from a story by Oscar Brodney] deals with Attila the Hun, the Scourge of God, and his sweep across Europe some 1,500 years ago. Particularly noteworthy is the treatment of the barbarian in writing and direction, and in the manner in which Jack Palance interprets the character. Instead of a straight, all-evil person, he is a human being with some good here and there to shade and make understandable the bad.

Douglas Sirk’s direction of the excellent script catches the sweep of the period portrayed without letting the characters get lost in spectacle. Representing good in the plot is Jeff Chandler, centurion made a general by his princess, Ludmilla Tcherina, to fight off Attila’s advancing hordes.

With Palance scoring so solidly in his role of Attila, he makes the other performers seem less colorful, although Chandler is good as Marcian.

Sign of the Pagan

Production

Universal. Director Douglas Sirk; Producer Albert J. Cohen; Screenplay Oscar Brodney, Barre Lyndon; Camera Russell Metty; Editor Al Clark; Music Frank Skinner, Hans J. Salter; Art Director Alexander Golitzen, Emrich Nicholson

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Extract of a review from 1954. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Jeff Chandler Jack Palance Ludmilla Tcherina Rita Gam Jeff Morrow George Dolenz

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