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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Harry Shearer appears uncredited in the role of David, the disabled friend of Jonathan, the boy to whom Marcellus gives the donkey. 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 »
Production of this film had already started when 20th Century Fox chief Darryl F. Zanuck decided that this was to be the first film shot in CinemaScope (2.55:1 aspect ratio). Thereafter shooting continued in both the new format and "Academy ratio" (1.37:1 , non-wide-screen) for use in theaters not yet using wide-screen projection. Each time a shot was completed for the scope version, the actors had to do another take for the "flat" version. The most jarring differences are the performances of Richard Burton (Marcellus) and Jay Robinson (Caligula) that are actually improved in the 'Flat' version. There has also been a 'pan & scan' version on video that is not to be confused with the 'Flat' version. The Fox Movie Channel will sometimes air the 'Flat' version; this was the version that was broadcast on TV during the 60's and 70's before the advent of home video. For many years,the "standard" screen version was the one usually shown on TV; therefore, no loss of image by "cropping" the picture's sides resulted such as in "pan and scan" conversions from scope prints. Other films also captured in both aspect rations included Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Sign of the Pagan and The Black Shield of Falworth. See more »
This film has much that makes it stand out among the cross and sandals epics of the fifties and sixties. based on the best selling novel by Lloyd C. Douglas, helmed by Hollywood first rank director Henry Koster, the work has a string of memorable performances. Richard Burton, admittedly not a favorite actor of mine does a credible turn in the lead role of Marcellus, while the lovely Jean Simmons is incredible as the young woman he loves, Diana. Michael Rennie is a quiet but forceful Peter, while Jay Robinson steals the picture as the depraved Emperor Caligula. The minor roles are also well acted. The cinematography is magnificent, while the film is tied together beautifully by the eerie and haunting musical score of Alfred Newman, a prim film composer of his day. Altogether a very watchable movie that even the most fundamental Christian could not find fault with.
If there is one failing with the story, and it is a minor one, Emperor Tiberias is presented as an honorable ruler and not as the depraved lecher he really was. He only comes off looking as well in history as he was because his grandson Caligula was so much worse.
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