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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
While 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 »
I have the power of life and death over every being in the empire! My power is as great as any god's! True?
Why should I have to die? Who should I have to suffer death like any plebeian, any slave? Is that logical? Is it?
See more »
A sumptuous musical score, in the tradition of Miklos Rosza's Ben-Hur,greets the movie goer who sees "Demetrius and the Gladiator." This 1954 film was a sequel to 1953's Oscar nominated "The Robe."
Victor Mature plays a Christian who denounces his religion when his beloved is killed or so he thinks. Susan Hayward, as beautiful as ever, is the evil Massalina married to an emperor in this film. Ultimately falling for Mature, she will give him up to rule with her husband at film's end for the glory of Rome.
The real acting kudos go to Jay Robinson who portrays Caligula. He is the very embodiment of evil and gives a tour-de-force performance in the tradition of Peter Ustinov's Nero in 1951's Quo Vadis? You feel and almost understand Caligula's insanity which will stop at nothing to achieve his quest of obtaining the religious robe. "Take hostages," he screams to his commanders. He even kills with the robe in his hands in order to see if it works.
Fresh from his sadistic Fatso in "From Here to Eternity," Ernest Borgnine appears as Strabo, a bull-like head of the gladiators school.
In certain respects, this film is far better than the sequel. Hayward shows her usual gutsiness far more than a subdued Lady Diana (Jean Simmons) in the original. Mature is quite appealing, especially in his denunciation scenes of his faith. His ultimate redemption is truly remarkable as well.
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