Sheba and the Gladiator

Sheba and the Gladiator (Italian: Nel Segno di Roma) is a 1959 historical drama film loosely pertaining to the Palmyrene Empire and its re-annexation back into the Roman Empire.

Sheba and the Gladiator
French film poster
Directed by
Produced byEnzo Merolle[1]
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Francesco De Feo
  • Sergio Leone
  • Giuseppe Mangione
  • Guido Brignone[1]
Music byAngelo Francesco Lavagnino[1]
Edited byNino Baragli[1]
  • Giomer Film
  • Lux Film
  • Societe Cinematographicque Lyre
  • Tele Film GmbH
  • Dubrava Film
  • Filmiski Studio[1]
Release date
  • 5 March 1959 (1959-03-05) (Italy)
  • 2 October 1959 (1959-10-02) (West Germany)
Running time
98 minutes[1]
  • Italy
  • France
  • West Germany
  • Yugoslavia[1]



Sheba the Gladiator was shot in 1958.[2] Director Guido Brignone fell ill during the production on the film leading to two other directors to enter the production to help complete it: Michelangelo Antonioni and Riccardo Freda.[3] For Antonioni, he visited Brignone in the hospital and reported on what he filmed and received instructions for the next day.[3] Freda was in charge shooting the battle scenes which he did with cinematographer Mario Bava and Antonioni working with cinematographer Luciano Trasatti shooting the indoor scenes.[3] Other people credited to the film included Sergio Leone as a screenwriter.[3]

Mimmo Palmara commented that Antonioni was "couldn't care less" about the film and "didn't direct the actors."[2] Freda had an argument with Palmara and unsuccessfully tried to court Chelo Alonso on set.[2]


Sheba and the Gladiator was distributed in Italy on March 5, 1959.[1][2] It was released in West Germany as Im Zeichen Roms on 2 October 1959.[4]

American International Pictures acquired the American rights to the film and re-titled it Sign of the Gladiator and cut 18 minutes from the original running time.[5] It was released in September 1959 in the United States.[2] American International Pictures added an end title song called "Xenobia" sung by Bill Lee which was released on AIP Records.[6] The film grossed a total of $1.25 million in rentals.[7]

See also



  1. Curti 2017, p. 296.
  2. Curti 2017, p. 169.
  3. Curti 2017, p. 168.
  4. "Im Zeichen Roms" (in German). Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  5. McGee, Mark (1996). Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures. McFarland. p. 154.
  6. Smith, Gary A. American International Pictures: The Golden Era. Bear Manor Media. p. 117.
  7. "Rental Potentials of 1960", Variety, 4 January 1961 p 47. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.


  • Curti, Roberto (2017). Riccardo Freda: The Life and Works of a Born Filmmaker. McFarland. ISBN 1476628386.

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