In eighteenth-dynasty Egypt, Sinuhe, a poor orphan, becomes a brilliant physician and with his friend Horemheb is appointed to the service of the new Pharoah. Sinuhe's personal triumphs and... See full summary »
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 »
We traveled here together from Galilee, persuading people to give up their lives for a beautiful dream.
[he attempts to hand a goblet of wine to Peter]
Take it Peter. It's real... hot spiced, with cinnamon and cloves.
[chuckles and looks towards Messalina]
Did you know that Jesus could turn water into wine? And that was only one of his tricks.
Yes, only one. Anything that was base, He could make noble. He found a leper and made him clean. He found death and He made life. He found you a slave, and...
[...] See more »
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.
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