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The Robe (1953)

Unrated | | Drama, History | 4 December 1953 (France)
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In the Roman province of Judea during the 1st century, Roman tribune Marcellus Gallio is ordered to crucify Jesus of Nazareth but is tormented by his guilty conscience afterwards.

Director:

Henry Koster

Writers:

Philip Dunne (screenplay), Gina Kaus (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Burton ... Marcellus Gallio
Jean Simmons ... Diana
Victor Mature ... Demetrius
Michael Rennie ... Peter
Jay Robinson ... Caligula
Dean Jagger ... Justus
Torin Thatcher ... Sen. Gallio
Richard Boone ... Pontius Pilate
Betta St. John ... Miriam
Jeff Morrow ... Paulus
Ernest Thesiger ... Emperor Tiberius
Dawn Addams ... Junia
Leon Askin ... Abidor
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Storyline

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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The first motion picture in CinemaScope--the modern miracle you see without glasses! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 December 1953 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Gewand See more »

Filming Locations:

La Pedriza, Madrid, Spain See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$36,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording) (5.0) (L-R)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer Herb Meadow worked, uncredited, on the script. See more »

Goofs

The characters constantly refer to the province Jerusalem is located in as "Palestine". At the time the film is set (AD 30's), Jerusalem was located in the province of "Judea". Judea would not be called Palestine until Emperor Hadrian renamed it ("Syria Palaestina") in 135 AD at the end of the Jewish Revolt. See more »

Quotes

Emperor Tiberius: For your sake I interfered, when my wife wanted to give you to Caligula. For your sake I brought your tribune back from Palestine. For your sake, I now free you from him.
Diana: Sire, I have no wish to be free.
Emperor Tiberius: Have you gone mad too?
Diana: He had everything then. He could have had me too. I wanted him, but I wasn't sure that I loved him. Now I am sure.
Emperor Tiberius: I see it my duty to forbid you to see him again. As a child you were wise, but now you reason like a woman - foolishly.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Laverne & Shirley: The Society Party (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Slow and ponderous epic, but the acting is decent enough and the CinemaScope is effective
2 April 2010 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

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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