Marcellus is a tribune in the time of Christ. He is in charge of the group that is assigned to crucify Jesus. Drunk, he wins Jesus' homespun robe after the crucifixion. He is tormented by nightmares and delusions after the event. Hoping to find a way to live with what he has done, and still not believing in Jesus, he returns to Palestine to try and learn what he can of the man he killed.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Caligula is depicted in this movie and its sequel "Demetrius and the Gladiators" as persecuting Christians. However, he reigned from 37 to 41, while Christianity was still a nascent religion with most of its followers in the eastern Mediterranean. The first mention of Christians from the perspective of the Roman government, according to the Roman historian Suetonius, wasn't until the reign of his successor Claudius (reigned 41-54). The first major incidents of persecution of Christians did not occur until the reign of Nero (reigned 54-68). See more »
In 1997 the opening credits were altered to give top writing credit to Albert Maltz. Maltz had written the initial screenplay when the project was at R.K.O. Maltz's credit did not appear on prior prints because he was one of the "Hollywood Ten" who was blacklisted. See more »
Slow and ponderous epic, but the acting is decent enough and the CinemaScope is effective
I had mixed feelings watching the Robe. By all means it isn't a bad film, but it isn't great either. While there are some good things, there is a lot wrong with it as well.
PROS: The plot about a Roman officer winning Christ's robe in a game of dice during the Crucifixion is a nice idea to work with and comes off decently on screen. The film for its time has nice production values, with lovely costumes and sets. The Robe is best known for the first film to be shot in CinemaScope, which was put to effective use here. The music is very good, and the acting is decent. There have been times when I have found Richard Burton wooden, but there have also been films like Nineteen Eighty Four where he has been remarkably good. Here, he does look handsome in Roman garb. Jean Simmons, rest in peace, has been better, but she looks lovely as Diana and does a decent job acting. Torin Thatcher is a marvellous Senator Gallio, while Jay Robinson is unforgettably melodramatic as Caligula.
CONS: There are things wrong with this film, and unfortunately pacing comes at the top of this list. This is not the first film to suffer from this problem, but The Robe seems to move at only one speed which is slow and ponderous. The film is also very awkwardly directed by Henry Koster, and the dialogue ranges from adequate to laughable, as if the writer was being very careful in order not to offend. Victor Mature has a tendency to take it TOO seriously as Demetrius, and in a rather uneven performance it shows. There are also parts where the action and romantic subplot are a little unconvincing and where some scenes are overlong.
Overall, worth watching in general but I don't necessarily recommend it. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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