Mount Vernon, Washington
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Tuesday, Jul 23, 7:00 pm

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Join us at the Lincoln Theatre for our film series Anything Goes! Sinful Cinema of the Pre-Code Era.

Before the enactment of the Hays Code in 1934, filmmakers got away with content that they wouldn't be able to return to for several decades. Sex, violence, and a general flouting of social norms abound in these films -- sometimes they seem quaint now, and other times shocking. Come see four of the movies that brought down the hammer on Hollywood and caused the code to become the law of the land!


July 23: The Sign of the Cross

After Emperor Nero (a delightfully languorous Charles Laughton) blames the Christians for the burning of Rome, he orders that they be sent to the Colosseum. While rounding them up, military leader Marcus Superbus (Fredric March) meets pretty young Mercia (Elissa Landi) and he soon finds that his loyalty to his emperor begins to flag in the face of this dangerous new faith. The wicked Empress Poppaea (Claudette Colbert), carrying a torch for Marcus, learns about Mercia -- and employs every machination possible to assure that Mercia is among those fed to the lions!

Squeaking past the censors on the strength of an ostensible faith-based message, the film led to the formation of the Catholic Legion of Decency, and wound up with a lot of footage on the cutting room floor -- including a sapphic seduction dance, portions of Poppaea's notorious "milk bath" sequence, and jaw-dropping savagery in the Colosseum sequence. Finally restored in 1993, we'll be screening the original full-length version.


"This early, pre-code Cecil B. DeMille spectacular is famous for pretending to be a religious epic, while actually being full of sex and violence." —Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid


Directed by Cecil B. DeMille

Starring Fredric March, Claudette Colbert, Charles Laughton, Elissa Landi

United States | English | 1932 | Historical Epic | 125 minutes | Passed


Film Prices

Lincoln Theatre Members get $2.00 off on the following prices with discount code:

General: $11.00
Seniors, Students, and Active Military: $10.00
Children 12 and under: $8.50


All prices include a $2.00 Preservation Fee that goes directly into our capital account for the preservation of the Lincoln Theatre and its programs.