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The Silver Chalice

The Silver Chalice is a 1952 historical novel by Thomas B. Costain. It tells a story about the Holy Grail, the "silver chalice" of the title, the apostle Luke, and Simon Magus.

It was made into a 1954 movie that marked the rather unpromising début of Paul Newman as "Basil the Defender," whose task was to defend the Holy Grail. It also features Virginia Mayo, and Jack Palance as Simon Magus, the villain. Victor Saville was the director. Apart from being Paul Newman's first picture, this sword and sandal movie that would be a Biblical epic is remembered chiefly for the curious domes in the unusual set designs; and for its film score by Franz Waxman, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Paul Newman is apparently not proud of his performance. When the film was broadcast on television in 1966, he took out an advertisement in a Hollywood trade paper apologizing for his performance, and requesting people not to watch the film. This backfired, and the broadcast received unusually high ratings. The film is sometimes referred to as Paul Newman and the Holy Grail.