Most films with a script as ludicrous as that created for Salome would be sunk from the first utterance -- but most such films don't have Rita Hayworth to portray a sultry, earthy yet naïve sex symbol. Hayworth and Salome were meant for each other, and it doesn't matter how much ridiculous dialogue or outrageous Hollywood plot changes one has to wade through, as long as the climactic "Dance of the Seven Veils" is worth the trip. Hayworth makes it worth the trip and more; as an added bonus, she handles the rest of her characterization skillfully as well. It's a bit overwrought, of course, but that's what is demanded by the screenplay, and she obliges in the most entertaining way possible. The oily, unctuous, and delicious Charles Laughton and the conniving, malicious, and equally delicious Judith Anderson also make an asset out of over-the-top acting, making up for the atrocious performance of Alan Badel. Stewart Granger turns in a relatively subdued portrayal that works, even if it does seem a bit out of sync with the larger theatrical style surrounding it. William Dieterle's direction is heavy-handed, understandable under the circumstances, but it could have benefited from greater imagination. Filled with delightfully lurid color, Salome is a fun wallow, even if it's far from great art.
by Craig Butler review