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Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)

Approved | | Action, Drama, History | 1954 (UK)
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In 1st century Rome, Christian slave Demetrius is sent to fight in the gladiatorial arena and Emperor Caligula seeks Jesus' robe for its supposedly magical powers.

Director:

Delmer Daves

Writers:

Philip Dunne, Lloyd C. Douglas (based on a character created by: in "The Robe")
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Victor Mature ... Demetrius
Susan Hayward ... Messalina
Michael Rennie ... Peter
Debra Paget ... Lucia
Anne Bancroft ... Paula
Jay Robinson Jay Robinson ... Caligula
Barry Jones ... Claudius
William Marshall ... Glycon
Richard Egan ... Dardanius
Ernest Borgnine ... Strabo
Charles Evans ... Cassius Chaerea
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Storyline

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 <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It begins where "The Robe" left off!

Genres:

Action | Drama | History

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1954 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Gladiators See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$26,000,000
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)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Jay Robinson (Caligula), the break in principal photography between The Robe (1953) and this film was only three weeks. This would account for "The Robe"'s opening shot of the gladiatorial arena, a scene lifted from its sequel. The scene features Victor Mature and Robinson, in addition to Ernest Borgnine, William Marshall, Richard Egan and Susan Hayward; these last four were not in "The Robe". See more »

Goofs

When Claudius and Messalina were interviewing Demetrius on his Christian beliefs, the parrot on the perch next to Messalina's couch was a sulfur crested cockatoo, indigenous to Australia. Australia was unknown to the western world in the first century AD. Therefore, such birds would never have left their native habitat, much less be captive pets in Ancient Rome. See more »

Quotes

Messalina: There's one thing about your religion that still puzzles me: why should one want to live out a dull life forever?
Demetrius: To be a Christian these days is anything but dull.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An encompassing drama of what happened to "The Robe"
28 December 1999 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

The film opens with Emperor Caligula (Jay Robinson) calling for his guards to find him the robe to bring him eternal life… Caligula stakes his life on the loyalty of the Praetorian Guards… So if they can keep him alive at all, why not forever?

Peter (Michael Rennie) gave Demetrius of Corinth (Victor Mature) their master's robe to keep for him… As we all remember, Demetrius took the robe from the foot of the cross before Jesus died…

By order of Caligula, 20 pieces of gold were authorized to pay for information concerning the robe that Jesus wore to the cross… Defending Lucia (Debra Paget) from malicious attack of a Praetorian Decurion, Demetrius is caught and sentenced to train as gladiator in the Claudian school…

Being fully a Christian entails having a commitment: Demetrius, obviously, is condemned to death because he can't take a man's life… Puzzled by his religion, and fascinated by his magnificent physique, and wanting to find out if Demetrius will kill or not his opponent, Messalina asks to be put in the arena against the king of swordsmen the Nuban Glycon (William Marshall).

The dramatic moment of the film comes when Lucia (Debra Paget)—Demetrius' sweetheart—sneaks in and is attacked by Dardanius (Richard Egan) and other gladiators... His faith shaken, Demetrius makes several kills, renounces his god, and succumbs to Messalina's charms...

Susan Hayward looked gorgeous as the wicked Messalina… The part, however, was not developed... It might have been an ideal role for this beloved actress... This was Hayward's second movie with the radiant Debra Paget, who was still considered a promising starlet, but, again, they were never together in a scene...

Future Academy Award winners Ernest Borgnine and Anne Bancroft had small parts... Michael Rennie and Jay Robinson were excellent in their respective roles... Julie Newmeyer was one of the dancing girls, long before she became Julie Newmar and played Howard's rival in "The Marriage-Go-Round."

"Demetrius and the Gladiators" is a lively, efficient sequel to "The Robe," with emphasis less on religiosity than on the brutality of the arena…


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