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>
This film was first telecast on US television on Easter weekend,1968 on ABC. Not only was the telecast aired at an early hour (7:00 PM EST) to facilitate family viewing, but, unusually, it aired with only one commercial break (for Ford Motor Co.). See more »
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 »
The widescreen version carries the credit "Twentieth Century-Fox presents A CinemaScope Production" before the title actually appears onscreen. The "flat" version, sometimes now shown on American Movie Classics, simply says "Twentieth Century-Fox presents 'The Robe'". See more »
There seems to be little interest in this movie today but when originally released in 1953, it created a sensation and threatened, for a while, to replace "Gone With the Wind" as the highest-grossing film in history. And it was the first movie in CinemaScope -- "The Modern Entertainment Miracle You See Without the Use of Glasses!" Its opening half still plays well, even some 50 years later, but the second half tries to convincingly present the religious conversion of Marcellus -- a tricky proposition since it deals with an internal process -- and the result plays like a well-intentioned but rather simplistic Sunday sermon. Richard Burton was Oscar-nominated for his work but is clearly outshone by, of all people, Victor Mature as the slave, Demetrius. The scene of a sweaty, nearly naked Demetrius groaning and writhing under torture in a Roman dungeon helped establish Mature as "the back that launched a thousand whips." (The book "Lash! The Hundred Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies" is dedicated to him.) Mature played Demetrius again in one of the rare big-budget sequels of the 1950s, "Demetrius and the Gladiators," which wasn't very good but which was livelier and more "fun" than its pious predecessor.
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