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Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)

Approved | | Action, Drama, History | 1954 (UK)
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In 1st century Rome, Christian slave Demetrius is sent to fight in the gladiatorial arena and Emperor Caligula seeks Jesus' robe for its supposedly magical powers.

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, (based on a character created by: in "The Robe")
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Messalina
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...
Lucia
...
Paula
Jay Robinson ...
...
...
Glycon
...
Dardanius
...
Charles Evans ...
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Storyline

The story picks up at the point where "The Robe (1953)" ends, following the martyrdom of Diana and Marcellus. Christ's robe is conveyed to Peter for safe-keeping, but the emperor Caligula wants it back to benefit from its powers. Marcellus' former slave Demetrius seeks to prevent this, and catches the eye of Messalina, wife to Caligula's uncle Claudius. Messalina tempts Demetrius, he winds up fighting in the arena, and wavers in his faith. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

messalina | caligula | arena | robe | faith | See All (73) »

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It begins where "The Robe" left off!

Genres:

Action | Drama | History

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1954 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Gladiators  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Jay Robinson (Caligula), the break in principal photography between The Robe (1953) and this film was only three weeks. This would account for "The Robe"'s opening shot of the gladiatorial arena, a scene lifted from its sequel. The scene features Victor Mature and Robinson, in addition to Ernest Borgnine, William Marshall, Richard Egan and Susan Hayward; these last four were not in "The Robe". See more »

Goofs

Whilst Caligula (Jay Robinson) is talking to Claudius and Messalina about the death of Marcellus and Diana, he draws a dagger and plays with Claudius by threatening to stab him with it. When he puts it back in the scabbard, the scabbard and dagger inadvertently turn upside down sticking out at an odd angle and irritating Jay Robinson, who tries twice and finally rights the scabbard at his waist and goes on. See more »

Quotes

Messalina: Why did you run? I don't think you're a coward. You had no real chance of escaping, you must have known that!
Demetrius: This is a place where men are trained to kill each other like animals!
Messalina: And men aren't animals?
Demetrius: No!
Messalina: We admire a magnificent animal who fights. Why not a man who fights ?
Demetrius: Because God did not put man on earth to destroy his own kind. Nor a woman to enjoy their agonies as they die.
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User Reviews

 
Quite enjoyable.
23 July 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I am not a huge fan of the religious epics of the 1950s. For every good one, such as "Ben Hur", there seemed to be two turkeys--such as "David and Bathsheba" or "Samson and Delilah". Because of that, I have avoided watching "Demetrius and the Gladiators" for many years. However, after completing the task, I am surprised that I actually enjoyed the film very much.

When Twentieth Century-Fox filmed "The Robe", they already knew that it would be followed up by "Demetrius and the Gladiators". In fact, the movies were filmed like one huge film and then separated into two as the studio was THAT confident that "The Robe" would be a big hit--which it was. And, for that matter, so was its sequel. Fortunately, you can watch either without watching the other.

The film begins with a clip from the previous film--just before the two main characters (Richard Burton and Jean Simmons) were executed. Soon you learn that the Apostle Peter and his followers (including Demetrius--Victor Mature) are the keepers of the robe that Jesus wore to the cross. Oddly, however, the Emperor Caligula is very fascinated by the robe and insists he must have it. When Demetrius tries to hide it, he's sentenced by this loony emperor to become a gladiator--a sure death since Demetrius has vowed never to fight now that he's become a Christian. However, the lure sexy Messalina (Susan Hayward) and his own desire to live make it difficult, if not impossible, to fulfill this oath. What's next? See for yourself.

There's no doubt about it--this film is a spectacle. It has huge scenes, huge gladiatorial fights and lots of beautiful sets and costumes. While it's not a fantastic film, the action is there and the film is fascinating. Part of this is due to the supporting performances. William Marshall shows what a wonderfully unsung actor he was. Had he been born later, his wonderful voice and acting skills would have made him a top star--something not possible for a black actor during this age. Additionally, while Jay Robinson's version of Caligula is not in the least bit subtle, it IS very entertaining and fun to watch. All in all, a decent film that is far better than I'd suspected.

UPDATE: Since this review, I've finally seen the precursor, "The Robe", and was surprised just how bad it was compared to "Demetrius and the Gladiators. It's an odd example of a film whose sequel was better--much better.


3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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