The Last Days of Pompeii

Synopsis: Peaceloving blacksmith Marcus refuses lucrative offers to fight in the arena...until his wife dies for lack of medical care. His life as a gladiator coarsens him, and shady enterprises make him the richest man in Pompeii, while his son Flavius (who met Jesus on a brief visit to Judaea) is as gentle as Marcus once was. The final disaster of Marcus and Flavius's cross purposes is interrupted by the eruption of Vesuvius.
Genre: Adventure, Drama
96 min

Hail, Gaius.

My dear Lucius. What news from Rome?

Preparations are being made

for the emperor's birthday.

- I'm returning to Rome to see the games

- But we celebrate the birthday too.

Come, Gaius. Miss the games in Rome

for the sake of those in Pompeii?

And why not? There's no finer city

in the whole empire than Pompeii.

Always boasting, you Pompeians.

The beauty of your women,

the trading in your port.

- Even the violence of your earthquakes.

- Stay here. We'll make good our boasts.

What, earthquakes and all?

I hope not. Well, I hope we

shall meet again before you leave.

Halt! Look, your wild man

almost twisted his chain off.

He's dangerous. Do something. Fix it.

The blacksmith can fix it.

Marcus. Marcus, the smith.

- What's wanted?

- Job for you.


Don't wait for us.

Get them up to the arena.

He's worked on this link

till it's almost broken.

He's a terror.

- Prisoner of war?

- From Scythia.

- I picked him out of a batch of 200.

- For the arena?

Yes, I supply the arena

with slaves and wild beasts.

But he's more of a wild beast.

Beat him, flog him.

Only don't spoil him for the arena.

Beat a man held clown

by four soldiers?

Get him on his feet.

Marcus, what happened?

- Are you hurt?

- No, my sweet.

- Gaius Tanno, I hope you're well.

- Well entertained.

The smith should be in the arena.

Did you ever consider

fighting in the arena?


I'm a man of peace.

- For a peace lover, you're a handy fighter.

- That's different.

I can fight if I have to.

But I couldn't fight a man

who'd never harmed me.

You could make money.

Not that way.

I have enough money.

Well, of course.

If you're a rich man,

a few coppers wouldn't interest you.

This is for your work...

...and this is for saving my life.

Just about what the job is worth.

A man in chains...

...going to his death like a caged animal.

Makes a man count his blessings, Julia.

Smith, you interest me.

You said you had enough money.

I never heard anyone say that before.

I have a wife who loves me

and a baby son.

I work hard, eat hearty and sleep sound.

What more could I have?

You remind me of an acrobat

in the arena...

...walking on a rope

stretched high in the air.

- Walking on a rope?

- Yes.

A rope no wider than my thumb.

- I'm not walking on a rope.

- Oh, yes, you are. Every poor man is.

You think you're balanced nicely,

but only money can make you safe.

Some little unexpected thing,

and you're clown.


What does your wife think

of your ideas?

A woman is always ambitious

for her son.

I hope he will grow up

to be exactly like his father.

Idyllic, but impractical.

Here, buy something

for the young blacksmith.

Marcus, a silver piece.

What shall we do with it?

- Let's go to the marketplace.

- Don't you think we ought to save it?

The taxgatherer is coming

in a few days.

I have the money put aside for him.

Oh, this is a windfall.

Let's have a holiday.

We'll take the baby

to see the puppet show.

Oh, Marcus, he's only 6 months old.

Well, he might like the puppets

very much.

- How can you tell?

- I can tell you'd like them very much.

My sweet, the richest man in the world

can't have more than I have... between my hands.

That's a very pretty picture.

Good morning, neighbour.

We've just declared a holiday.

- Gaius Tanno gave us a silver piece.

- Gaius, the rich man?

He's the first noble I ever spoke to.

- Get ready, Julia.

- I'm ready.

- What about the forge?

- If anyone comes...

...tell them Marcus is too rich

to work today.

Julia, how would you like

to have some of that silk?

Silk? To wear when I cook

your dinner? Come along.

- How long before the baby can do that?

- Oh, at least a week.

He can have a ball anyway.

I thought we were going

to the puppet show.

Let's buy him a ball first.

He's never had a toy.

That ball. The white one.

Oh, it's too big.

Look, he couldn't even hold it.

He likes it.

How much?


The doctor. Someone tell the doctor.

Bring him to the forge. Hurry.

How long have I been lying here?

A few days.

The doctor is coming again soon.

- Don't try to talk now.

- The doctor?

What does he say about the baby?

You'll both be well again very soon.

Sleep now.

The doctor says he won't come again

unless he's paid first.

He must come.

I'll pay him when I can.

He says he has plenty of patients

who can pay him now.

Go with Calvus to our house

and get some rest.

- I'll stay with Julia.

- I can't.


Now, look here, Marcus.

This is the second time I've been here.

- This time, I won't go without the tax.

- Don't let my wife hear you.

- Well, where's the tax money?

- I told you, I had it put aside for you.

But it's gone, for the doctor

and for medicine.

Well, I'm here to get your tax.

- Give me a little time.

- Well, you've had it.

Bring the woman out.

Clear out the house.

You can't do it, I tell you.

She's sick.

- You can't put them into the street

- Look, here.

I don't want to do this, you know?

Don't you know anyone with money?

My neighbours are all as poor as I am.

Gaius Tanno. He'll help me.

Know him, do you?

He was very kind.

He gave my son a silver piece.

You just wait till tomorrow.

Gaius will lend me the money.

I'll give you till tonight.

But not another hour.

Ask your wife to stay with Julia.

Are you mad or drunk?

I can't let you in.

- It's life-or-death.

- It is to me too.

What do you suppose Gaius would do

if I let you rush in on his guests?

- He'd have the skin off my back.

- He was kind to me.

I want only a little. I'm desperate.

- It may mean two lives.

- Lives go cheap in Pompeii.

Let me see Gaius.

You start trouble

and you'll go to jail.

Go to the arena if you wanna fight.

That's the place where fighting pays.

- All right, you'll do.

- I'll be paid for this, won't I?

You put up a good fight and please the

audience, you'll get a gold piece or 2.

But remember you've gotta show

them something. Understand?

Now, get your sword and shield.

I have the money. Take it to the doctor.

He'll come now.

- Too late.

- Here's the money.

Marcus, my friend. Too late.

She never knew

when the little son died.

My poor friend.


Poor and a fool.

I've lost all I loved

because I was poor.

A year ago...

...a week ago,

I could have saved them.

- All my life I've been a fool.

- Steady, Marcus.

It cost me this to learn

what the world is really like.

Money is all that matters.

Well, I can get money.

It's easy to get money.

All you have to do... kill.

The god of war himself.

I knew this Marcus

when he was a blacksmith.

I won 1000 gold pieces

on you today.

The Wolf was nearly a match

for him though.

- He was a good fighter.

- Let's go and find Petronius.

- He owes me 500.

- And me 1000.

Wait here.

So even the great Marcus

cannot yet kill with a light heart.

I'm sorry for you.


Sorry for me?

You, a slave?

Every man's a slave.

- I, you, my master there.

- He's a rich man.

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Ruth Rose

Ruth Rose (January 16, 1896 – June 8, 1978) was a writer who worked on several films in the 1930s and the 1940s, most famously the original 1933 classic King Kong. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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