In the early 1900's Tennessee, a loving family undergoes the shock of the father's sudden, accidental death. The widow and her young son must endure the heartache of life following the ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
The film rights to this film had originally been bought by RKO Radio Pictures in 1943, at the time of the novel's initial publication. Because of wartime austerity, and RKO's shaky financial situation, the studio shelved the expensive historical epic, eventually selling the rights to Twentieth-Century Fox. See more »
The Emperor Tiberius' wife, Julia, puts in an appearance complaining about Diana being considered "too good for Caligula" and Tiberius mentions his "30 years with Julia". Actually, his wife, Julia, the daughter of his predecessor, the Emperor Augustus, had been permanently exiled by her father for lewd behavior long before Tiberius even became Emperor. By the time "The Robe" opens, in the last years of Tiberius' reign, Julia had been dead and forgotten for decades. See more »
[Marcellus has just been sentenced to execution; Diana leaves the podium to stand at his side]
Sire, Marcellus is my chosen husband. I wish to go with him.
Stand back! You're not on trial! There's no evidence against you!
Then if it please you, sire, I'll provide evidence. I have no wish to live another hour in an empire ruled by *you*! You dare to call yourself a Caesar. Once the Caesars of Rome were noble, but in you, noble blood has turned to poison. You corrupt Rome with your spite and ...
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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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