Based on Victorien Sardou's drama, this film focuses on the Byzantine empress Theodora (Rita Jolivet), who began life as a liontamer's daughter and worked her way up from courtesan to empress of the Roman empire, alongside Emperor Justinian (Ferruccio Biancini). It is Theodora who really does the ruling. Her one big downfall is her affair with Andreas, the leader of the revolution (René Maupré). Andreas is so firm in his convictions that he comes to denounce Theodora, and she angrily releases the lions on an agitated mob. Because of this romance she loses her throne and her life. Even at a long ten reels, there was apparently a lot cut out of the film, since the first couple of reels seem truncated and rely heavily on title cards. Spectacle abounds -- there are murders, pillaging, an earthquake, and brutal games held in a giant amphitheater. The film reportedly had a cast of 25,000 people, took three years to make, and cost three million dollars.
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