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When Roman tribune Marcellus Gallio (Richard Burton) is sent to Jerusalem, one of his assignments is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Marcellus, a cynical and hardened man, wins the robe Jesus wore to the crucifixion while gambling with other Roman soldiers underneath the dying savior. He later becomes convinced that his hallucinations and violent outbursts are the result of a curse received from the robe, which is now in the possession of his escaped slave, Demetrius (Victor Mature), somewhere in the Middle East. He sets out to find Demetrius in order to destroy the robe and the curse and finds faith instead, converting to Christianity. This was the first movie to be filmed in CinemaScope, and won Oscars in 1953 for costume design, art direction, and set decoration. The visual aspects of the film are stunning, and it may be worth viewing for that alone; however, the script and acting leave much to be desired, and you won't find inspiration in these areas if that's what interests you. If, however, you are more interested in this film for its religious matter, the story of the conversion of the hardened Marcellus is inspiring. --James McGrath
- the robe
This is one of the better bibliacl movie made. It shows how the Romans were in command and how someone could be changed by the words of someone else. It also had enough action in it not to overdo it....more info
- An inspirational, entertaining classic
Twentieth Century Fox's adaptation of the classic Lloyd Douglas novel, "The Robe," has often been overshadowed by one important fact: it was the first film released in CinemaScope. Actually, Fox filmed "How To Marry A Millionaire" with Bette Grable, Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, William Powell, etc., before it filmed "The Robe," in CinemaScope. It is said the studio thought it would be more appropriate, and possibly more financially rewarding, for the studio to release "The Robe" as the first release in the new widescreen process.
It is well known that all of the major studios were trying to deal with the impact of television in the early 1950s, especially since many people were staying home and watching the small, black and white screens, which offered FREE programs in a family's own home. The studios decided to offer things that weren't available on television: first, stories that couldn't be told because of the stricter censorship the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) imposed on television compared to the motion picture production code (which became more open to provocative stories as time went by); second, films could tell longer, more detailed stories, with obviously bigger budgets; and third, color, stereophonic sound, and wide screen processes were only possible in movies since the technical aspects of television were still being developed.
CinemaScope came after the introduction of Cinerama and 3-D in 1952. All of these processes had been developed and demonstrated years earlier; for some reason, the use of the costly processes, along with color film, did not become widely used until the 1950s. Technicolor itself began more economical and practical with the introduction of a more compact camera that used a single strip of film compared to the three strips required from 1934 until 1954. (The last film shot in three-strip Technicolor was Universal's "Foxfire" with Jane Russell and Jeff Chandler.)
Lloyd Douglas' Biblical novel, set in the first century, loosely discussed what might have happened to the robe of Jesus Christ, after he was crucified outside the city of Jerusalem. It also showed the initial impacts of Jesus' life and ministry, including the deep devotion of His followers. Douglas focused particularly on what happened to the tribune who supervised Jesus' crucifixion, as well as the impact of his Greek slave; both men ultimately became Christians and were put in conflict with the deeply troubled emperor Caligula.
The film which Fox made is a lavish, lush production and is generally faithful to Douglas' book. It was enhanced by vivid color photoraphy, impressive sets and costumes, and the inspirational musical score by Fox's musical director Alfred Newman.
When "The Robe" was finally shown on television, it was usually presented in the conventional version that had been prepared for theaters not equipped to project the film in CinemaScope. This was typical of most widescreen films presented on television, until the advent of larger screens and high definition television. Now it is possible to see "The Robe" in the proper aspect ratio, which is particularly impressive in the large crowd scenes and the chase scene which features a wagon pulled by four magnificent stallions.
It has been incorrectly stated that Alfred Newman's famous fanfare, with the extension he wrote in 1953 to introduce CinemaScope films, was first used in "The Robe." Actually, the film has the familiar Fox logo, still used today, and the words "CinemaScope" appear on the screen for the first time during the opening credits. The music is a special hymn-like tune, with a wordless chorus, that sets the stage for this ambitious epic production.
It remains highly entertaining and indeed inspirational. One wishes that Hollywood still made such deeply moving films. The sincerity of the story cannot be questioned and it is presented with some spectacular scenes that are based on Douglas' vivid descriptions in the original book, including the impressive sword fight between the tribune and a centurion who questions his authority.
The performances are generally quite good, too. This is Richard Burton (as Tribune Marcellus) when he was a handsome young actor who could certainly challenge Fox's reigning swashbuckler, Tyrone Power, especially in the fight scenes. Jean Simmons brings a sweetness and sincerity that remains quite charming and appealing. Victor Mature, as usual, has considerable strength and dedication, as he portrays the slave (Demetrius) who encounters Jesus. Michael Rennie is the "Big Fisherman," Simon Peter, who displays physical strength that is tampered by devotion to Jesus, as well as honesty when he admits to Burton his own personal failings. Jay Robinson is the delightfully wicked Caligula, representative of the decline of the Roman Empire. One will also notice a brief but impressive performance by a young Richard Boone as the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, who is already troubled by sentencing a man to death who he obviously believes may be innocent of the charges presented by Judea's religious leaders.
- Fiction posing as religion
Let's face it, the only people who may be swayed by any review are those wanting to know if this is a good period piece; I would say it is highly telling of its times, but not in a good way. It just makes me sad that people would make and buy such dubious stuff. I agree that the writing and acting leaves much to be desired, and if this is good, it's largely in the "so bad it's good" category. Seems to me that making fictional biblical stories is a backhanded slur on the bible; it's like saying the stories that ARE in the bible are inadequate. There are scenes with the robe that remind me of fabric softener commercials. I agree that the fight scenes are pretty good, but of course they are only momentary detours from the bogus story....more info
- Movie good! New restored transfer no!
Not worth double dipping if you have the old dvd.
This new transfer has a lot of blurry color scenes.
Stick with the old copy at least the movie doesn't change in color....more info
- The Robe Is A Visual Delight On Blu-Ray
i was wary when i read that THE ROBE would be released on blu-ray. i mean the original master/negative is 56 years old. but i am quite happy to report 2oth Century Fox has done a first rate job of restoring the
film. for blu-ray. the film is decidedly on the corny/hokey side but
quite enjoyable nonetheless. an added bonus is listening to Alfred
Newman's classic score in crisp clear high def glory. the reason the
score wasn't even nominated for an Oscar is simple. the piece of music played during Demetrius's rescue from the torture chamber was in the
eyes of the music branch of the Academy way to similar to the music
played during Esmeralda's rescue in the 1939 version of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME.
also Jean Simmons is as far as i know alive and well so why in God's
name was she not interviewed for the making of documentary? 2Oth Century
blew the opportunity big time. ...more info
- A man coming to grips with his soul
Richard Burton is great in this. His portrayal of a hard-bitten member of the killing machine that was the Roman army is classic and the conversion of that soldier to Christianity wonderful. A great film from the era of Biblical Epics and if you've never seen it you owe it to yourself to watch....more info
- Biblical Epic
When a Roman Centurian, Marcellus Gallio(Richard Burton), is ordered to oversee the crucifixion of Jesus and wins his robe while gambling at the foot of the cross; his life is changed forever. Supported by an all star cast and a spectacular score, this first Cinemascope film truly paves the way for this medium and in turn, remains one of the screens greatest biblical epics....more info
- The Robe
Thank you for the DVD - arrived in good time and great shape!
Gail Hindorff...more info
- The Robe
Sadly disappointing. Some fact mingled with fiction, not really what I expected... Hollywood's version of post-crucifixion events. The reality far supercedes anything Hollywood could trump up. ...more info
- One of the Best "Biblical Epics"
This 1953, multiple-Academy Award winning film is easily one of the best of the Biblical Epics, and was the "prequel" to "Demetrius and The Gladiators," which continued the story precisely where it left off in this presentation. Featuring some of the most powerful performances to that time, it is the inspirational tale of the conversion of Marcellus Gallio, the Roman Centurion (superbly portrayed by Richard Burton) who supervised the crucifixion of Jesus, and the price he and his lady-love (Jean Simmons) paid for their faith. In the story, Marcellus and the freed Greek slave Demetrius (Victor Mature) come into guardianship over the robe worn by Jesus at the crucifixion, a situation around which the story is woven. Though the performance is much-criticized as being "over the top," Jay Robinson's portrayal of the Emperor Caligula will grab your attention, and does reflect the thoroughly evil and dominant position that this emperor occupied at the time. It would be a mistake to own this film without also possessing the sequel. A very touching and inspirational movie classic. ...more info
- WHO IS THIS ONE THEY CALL THE MESSIAH??
THE ROBE is the first film ever released in CinemaScope, a major innovation in film at the time, basically wide screen instead of a box shaped picture on the screen. It is the story of Roman Tribune Marcellus Gallio, who falls into disfavor with the Emperor and is assigned to the 'pesthole' of the Roman Empire, Palestine. He brings his personal slave, Demetrius, with him. His first assignment is to carry out the Crucifixion of a man named Jesus. Marcellus has never driven spikes thru a man's wrists and ankles before. At the Crucifixion site, he wins the robe of Jesus by throwing dice. Something about the whole experience starts to drive him mad and he is sent back to Rome to recover. He realizes he must recover the robe and get to the bottom of who is this man Jesus, called Messiah & Son of God by His followers. What happens to him as a result of this search is at the heart of the film. This film has a much broader base than just simply those who profess to follow this man who claims to have risen from the dead. It is an intriguing story and the movie, the set and the music were all excellent. The picture quality in the special edition is sharp and almost as good as today's quality (it's available in blu-ray). Fun to see Richard Burton and Richard Boone (Pilate) in their younger days. Also, the insights into life in the Roman Empire at that time are interesting. Well worth spending an evening viewing this classic. Lu G. for Lu's Reviews....more info
- movie review
I love this movie because it portrays an example of Christ's influence on various peoples lives, from kings to commoners and everyone in between. I thought it a perfect depiction of the conflict between man's conscience and the conviction of Christ's spirit. helps if you like Victor Mature also...more info
- wont hold up over time.
You pretty much have to be a Christian to enjoy this movie. Its more a propaganda piece than a historical drama. All the allusions to the greatness of Christ gets to be chore and a bore. This large scale production lacks much artistic and historic sensibilities (still see it in today's movies) as well. Outcome: cheese.
If you wish to watch something Roman oriented avoid this. And if it Christian/biblical theme you want there are plenty of other movies that are better out there.
The highlights of the film are the direction, the acting is adequate and the writing is well, insulting if you know anything about ancient Rome. Also the sound on the DVD is poor. The loud scenes are TO LOUD and the low volume scenes are TO LOW (pick one or the other).
- Enjoyable 1950's Style Roman Movie
I will leave the pomposity of the movie critics where it belongs. This review is that of an ordinary person who has seen the movie many times. Long before the days of cable TV, this was traditionally shown around Easter on network television. It is a story of a Roman Tribune who officiates at the crucifixion of Christ, and is transformed by the physical touch of the robe He wore. Filmed in 1953, it would be done differently today (the same can be said of almost all movies from the 1950's.) Today's teens will be bored within 5 minutes--given their attention span and need for constant stimulation. However, if you enjoy historical pieces, in this case Roman civilization in the first century A.D., you will enjoy this movie. Richard Burton plays the main character, Victor Mature plays Demetrius, his Greek slave. The story involves Burton's personal inner transformation after overseeing Christ's crucifixion. Jean Simmons plays his love interest. Jay Robinson does a great job as the mad Caligula (try to recognize him in a 1992 movie--"Bram Stoker's Dracula"). I found the costumes and sets delightful. The transfer to DVD is of reasonably good quality and is in widescreen, which I prefer. The transformation undergone by Burton's character is of course directly related to the Christ and much of the movie relates to the early christians of that time. Those who are not religious will still find the movie entertaining. It is not the best acting I've seen Burton do but is acceptable. Overall, this is a production which can appeal to a wide range of viewers, but those looking for an "American Pie", Teen-Slasher, or "Gladiator" type of movie will be disappointed. You may also be interested in a movie released a year or two later, "Demetrius and the Gladiators" which is a sequel starring Victor Mature. ...more info
- Mythology is fun.
No historians of the time mention Jesus. Suetonius (65-135) does not. Pliny the Younger only mentions Christians (Paulists) with no comment of Jesus himself. Tacitus mentions a Jesus, but it is likely that after a century of Christian preaching Tacitus was just reacting to these rumours, or probably talking about one of the many other Messiah's of the time. Josephus, a methodical, accurate and dedicated historian of the time mentions John the Baptist, Herod, Pilate and many aspects of Jewish life but does not mention Jesus. (The Testimonium Flavianum has been shown to be a third century Christian fraud). He once mentions a Jesus, but gives no information other than that he is a brother of a James. Jesus was not an unusual name, either. Justus, another Jewish historian who lived in Tiberias (near Kapernaum, a place Jesus frequented) did not mention Jesus nor any of his miracles. It is only in the evidence of later writers, writing about earlier times, that we find a Jesus.
- Best picture ever
I've always loved this film and have had every version of it in Beta tape, VHS, Laser Disc, DVD and now BLU-RAY. I was expecting a little better picture but was blown away by it's richness. It took me back to the first time I saw this movie as a child of 9 sitting in the front row of the JUMBO theater in Philadelphia (1954) I believe, and the screen exploding in front of me for my first experience of glorious Cinemascope.
- "The Great Stone Was Rolled Away"
Before movie blockbusters like Ben-Hur awed the film going audience with amazing chariot races in '59, or 'The Ten Commandments' miraculously parted the Red Sea in '56, the 'The Robe' won over the Christian audience in '53 with a poignant though fictitious appendium to the story of Jesus of Nazareth. It may not have been quite as grand in scale as the two epics to follow, but it was every bit as attractive and compelling.
Plot: Marcellus Gallio (Richard Burton), a Roman tribune from a weathy and prominent Roman family is sent to serve in far away Jerusalem after an altercation with Caligula (Jay Robinson), the future emperor. While in the Holy Land Marcellus' last official act before returning home is to oversea the crucifixion of Jesus. While Jesus slowly dies on the cross Marcellus plays a game of dice with the soldiers, wining the robe of the would be Messiah in the process. Moments later Jesus dies, the sky darkens, thunder strikes and a downpour begins.
Marcellus' slave Demetrius (Victor Mature) leaves the tribune, taking the robe with him to return to the Christian community and Marcellus returns to Rome a vastly different man. Emotional disturbed by the experience of Jesus' crucifixion he is on the verge of a complete mental breakdown. Is there power in the robe, maybe a curse placed on it by this man who called himself Messiah? For the sake of his sanity Marcellus returns to the site of his obsession to recover the robe and discern the source of its hold on him.
Comments: I love everything about this film. Burton and Mature are at their best, Burton's love interest Jean Simmons (Diana) has never looked lovelier and Jay Robinson in the role of Emperor Caligula gives one of the greatest supporting performances that has ever graced the movie screen....more info
- It's still worth watching
"The Robe" was an Easter tv tradition when I was growing up and I continue to watch the DVD at least a couple of times a year. Yes, Richard Burton is a little on the hammy side but overall he brings credibility to the part of a Roman who's whole life is turned upside down. There are a number of very moving scenes, particularly Demetrius's (Victor Mature) reaction at the foot of Jesus's cross. This is a "religious" movie worth owning....more info
- Great edition of a classic!
Just in time for the Easter, 20th Century Fox offers up a newly-remastered, special edition release of the 1953 Biblical epic The Robe on DVD and Blu-Ray. This is a review of the DVD release. Based on the novel by Lloyd C. Douglas, The Robe is the story of Marcellus Gallio (Richard Burton), a Roman tribune who is sent to Palestine as a punishment for antagonizing Caligula (Jay Robinson) and threatening to rival the volatile emperor-to-be for the affections of the beautiful Diana (Jean Simmons). He arrives just in time for Passover, and within days he is ordered to oversee the execution of the recently tried and condemned teacher Jesus. After the crucifixion, the soldiers cast lots for Jesus's clothing and Marcellus wins the robe. Acquiring the robe sends Marcellus into a downward spiral of fear and paranoia, and fearing he might destroy the garment, Marcellus's slave Demetrius (Victor Mature), interested in Jesus's message, steals the garment. Marcellus begins to believe the robe itself is cursed, and recalled by the emperor, he reports on Jesus's teachings and followers - it's a new doctrine of freedom that the emperor finds threatening. Marcellus returns to Palestine to find and destroy the robe and to ferret out the seeds of rebellion that might grow with the spread of this new "Christian" faith. As Marcellus gets to know Jesus's followers, he finds his life transformed by the truth by the life and legacy of the man whose execution he oversaw. Becoming a believer brings the power of the Roman political establishment to bear against Marcellus, and soon he must decide what he's willing to sacrifice in order to follow his new spiritual king.
When given the chance to review this new DVD release of The Robe, I jumped at the opportunity - after all, it's what you might consider the "grandfather" of all Biblical epics. It's the first film that was released using CinemaScope technology, which completely changed the way films could be conceptualized and viewed. Suddenly there was nearly twice as much space available in which to visually tell the story. Long before widescreen was the standard, The Robe paved the way by taking every advantage of the new technology. Every frame of The Robe is filled with eye-popping color, detailed sets, and gorgeous costumes. Thanks to a superb remastering job, The Robe has probably never looked (or sounded) better. The DVD is padded with a handful of special features, including a brief introduction by Martin Scorsese, an isolated music track highlighting Alfred Newman's sumptuous score, a commentary track with David Newman and three film historians, and still galleries. Personally I found the thirty minute The Making of The Robe featurette to be the most interesting. It gives an excellent overview of The Robe's ten-plus year journey to the big screen, touching on the filmmakers, studio changes, casting process, and the film's legacy. It also gives the film some historical context by discussing how the Black List, McCarthy trials, and the general politically volatile climate of the time as a whole informed the way the story was brought to the screen.
If you're a fan of big, splashy epics The Robe is definitely worth checking out. Sure, it's not without its shortcomings - the dialogue is occasionally a little clunky and the whole introduction of the robe as a sort of talisman comes off a bit contrived - but it's an absorbing film, especially fascinating to view in light of how it informed later film classics like The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur. The real strength of the story is in Marcellus's transformation from a hardened secularist to a man of faith. That journey is handled with a deftness and grace that makes his story timeless and authentic over fifty years after the film was made. And if you've only seen the film, it's worth checking out the novel which is still in print. It's highly readable, and over the course of 500 pages Marcellus's character and faith transformation are given even more room to develop and grow....more info
- Were you out there?
This is the first picture ever made in Cinemascope where the screen is twice as wide as it is tall. After being given the Blu-Ray treatment, and remastering there are some spectacular scenes in this film yet we also concede that many scenes were made on the film stage that should have been in the natural world. The background music does not seem to suffer from this problem. Be sure to notice Diana's theme.
The story starts out in the 18th year of our Emperor Tiberius (Ernest Thesiger.) Marcellus Gallio (Richard Burton) after snubbing Caligula is sent to an outpost from whom few have returned. There he is given the minor task of dispatching the King of the Jews in a cross manner. After the deed is done, Marcellus wins Jesus' robe and a dice game. Due to stormy weather, he places the robe upon his head. He has an instant negative reaction. Is this some strange form of sorcery? Or just plain guilt? Only time and the unfolding of the story shall tell. We shall take the journey together.
The movie based on a story by Lloyd C. Douglas, though not quite historically correct, is of choices and circumstances. The problems or their time is still the problems of our time so it is easy to relate.
"And by the gods you shall go. Both of you. Into your kingdom.", "They are going to meet their king" Caligula (Jay Robinson)
The Blu-ray DVD has a commentary by film composer David Newman (son of Alfred Newman) and film historians Jon Burlingame, July Kirgo and Nick Redman that is worth listening to. Blu-ray has been out for quite some time so there normally is nothing exceptional about remastering old films. In this case however the original Cinemascope and exceptional sound. Still you can see that they did not have a handle on Cinemascope for another year or so.
- The Robe
VHS Tape was ok, it had been used more than I thought it would have been according to the seller but I was still satisfied with my purchase....more info
- 2009 SPECIAL EDITON: THE ROBE
In this 2009 Special Edition re-release of "The Robe" we are presented the very best possible restoration of this classic 20th Century-Fox film which with the wonderful extra features make this a very special experience.
The film itself remains what it always has been, a rather wooden but still entertaining epic of the foundation of Christianity in the 1st Century A.D. The performances range from subtle and engaging as by Jean Simmons, to surprisingly effective as in the under-rated Victor Mature. The uneven performances move on to the theatrical and unschooled in film style of Richard Burton and finally lands with a huge splash and lots of color everywhere with the over the top Jay Robinson as Caligula.
But on with what is superb about this DVD release. And that is the Extras! And I don't mean the thousands of people on the roman sets. The commentary is delicious by film historians Jon Burlingame, Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman (of Film Score Monthly) and film composer David Newman (son of The Robe's composer Alfred Newman). Mostly the talk about the magnificent music of the film, the history of the studios fabled music stage, the musicians. But also a lot is given over to the actors, director and the making of the film. I must say that Julie Kirgos observations on Victor Mature's performance gave me a new insight into his work. But for me the most wonderful extra was the music only option. You can view the film with only the score playing. With the dialog and sound effect missing your ears open up to the massive and splendiferous score by Alfred Newman. It is fascinating to listen to and to hear the voices at the end to the cues of the composer and orchestra members.
Also included is a short feature on the making of the film, which is fantastic. The Robe may not be the best picture in the Epic genre, but historically important for changing movies forever with the introduction of Cinemascope and Stereophonic sound. To round out the entire Special Edition, the film has been restored to its fabulous Technicolor splendor as is pointed out in a brief and interesting introduction by Martin Scorsese.
- Okay, would be different with LIKEABLE characters
Marcellus is an unlikable Roman tribune whose chance meeting of an old flame in the slave market sparks Caligula's jealousy. Sent to Jerusalem as punishment, Marcellus plays dice as Jesus is crucified- ending up with Jesus's robe which he believes is cursed. Marcellus' man-hunk servant runs off with the robe leaving his master to suffer.
I liked the first part and the ending of the Robe. But this film would be VASTLY improved if Marcellus and his doughty Greek slave had been the least bit nice people. As it was,
I felt no empathy for either of them, and just shrugged as Marcellus suffered pangs of guilt, and the Greek slave was tortured. The only sympathetic characters in the film was Marcellus' girlfriend Diana, and his estranged family.
3 stars. Would've been better with some of the preachy middle-bits toned down and if time had been invested to make the two male leads more likeable....more info
- ONE OF THE BEST HOLIDAY MOVIES
I've always been a big fan of Richard Burton and Jean Simmons. This is a wonderful movie and a beautiful story that takes place around the events that took place in Jesus' life just before and after the crucifixion. It's a wonderful movie to watch especially during the Easter and Christmas holidays....more info
- A lavish, spectacular pageant of the story of Christ and his conflict with the Roman Empire...
"The Robe" deals with Christ's torment-stained robe which was gambled away under his Cross by the Roman soldiers... Inevitably the 'robe' leads to Rome, and along the way turns strong heathens into weak Christians, bringing love, happiness and death to the patrician Roman Converts as an insane Caligula rants across the breadth of 'CinemaScope' while the martyrs march out to their death, happy in the life hereafter and an invisible great choir seems to promise a sequel...
It is notable that Jesus of Nazareth is seen from far away in a white robe on his triumphal 'palm' entry to Jerusalem and as a 'tortured' figure, impossible to discern lying beneath the heavy cross... Henry Koster restraints with dignity the recreation of the execution carried out at Calvary, outside Jerusalem...
The spirit of the age is present in "The Robe" as the divine inspiration first developed upon the muscular Greek slave and then upon the arrogant tribune... And, of course, the splendor display of the Roman empire: The slave market and the traffic of human souls; the auction; the massage relaxing area; Jerusalem, the disputed Holy City; the wilderness of Judea; the terrifying meeting of Demetrius with Judas; the spectacular sword fight between Marcellus and the Centurion; and the trial of Marcellus...
Richard Burton is perfect as the strong unshaken Roman tribune Marcellus Gallio in charge of the Crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth who wins Christ's robe in a dice game...
Jean Simmons is lovely as the faithful Diane, the wise Roman maiden who stands firmly besides her love...
Victor Mature is brave and spirited as the early Christian convert Demetrius...
Michael Rennie is serious and profound in thoughts and manners as Peter, the Big Fisherman...
Jay Robinson is terrific as the psychotic high-pitched and piercing young Caligula...
Dean Jagger is full of devotion and reverence as the humble and honest Justus...
Richard Boone is good as Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator of Judea who gives Jesus up to be crucified...
Ernest Thesiger is efficient enough as the austere Tiberius who greatly strengthen the Roman Empire...
Betta St. John is so sweet as the disabled believer Miriam...
Torin Thatcher is seen too helpless as the proud Senator Gallio..
Directed by Henry Koster, "The Robe" is a solemn epic from Lloyd C. Douglas' novel... It is the first motion picture ever filmed in CinemaScope... The film won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration...
- Historically inaccurate portrayal of early Christians
"The Robe" is a movie I would not recommend purchasing or watching whether you are wanting to see it because of the Christian theme or because you love good, classical films. From a historical standpoint, this movie is almost entirely false. It portrays the persecution of early Christians as being led by Rome and especially by the Emperor Caligula. Unlike Mel Gibson in his "Passion of the Christ," this movie does not show the complex relationships that led to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It basically simplifies the issue by making it seem that all persecution of Jesus and the Christians came from the Romans. This of course is in opposition to the Acts of the Apostles which showed that the initial persecution was from the Sanhedrin and those loyal to it such as Saul (later Saint Paul). The Roman emperors did not bother much with Christians until the Emperor Nero (who succeeded Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius). The Emperors Tiberius and Caligula were wicked and depraved human beings, but they did not persecute Christians. That is a historical fact.
Film-wise this movie is boring and poorly acted. Yes, there is Richard Burton, but he cannot save the movie from bad directing and simply a horrible script. I love classical movies, but I had trouble finishing this movie without falling asleep....more info
- A timeless classic
Absolutely one of the best films ever made!
This move encapsulates the essence of what Jesus died for! We watch a pompous tribune turn from being a self centered angry gambler and drunkard to a man tortured by his crimes against humanity when he crucifies Christ. When he sees the Light, his life is changed, and in the end he makes the ultimate sacrifice for the one thing worth dying for: one's faith in Christ!
How tremendously sad that this movie was so moving in it's initial release that it won several academy awards, yet nowadays, the majority of people in Hollywood would be amongst the crowd at the end yelling "death" I was moved to tears at the attributes so clearly defined in all characters. The picture of what occurred during the first century in relation to Christianity was clearly painted. What a marvelous movie.
- Great movie!
This movie is one of the all time greats! Anyone who doesn't own it needs to get it. If you're religious it will renew your faith--and if you're not, it may just make you be. I highly recommend it for all ages....more info
- Inspring Epic
It's nice that a lot of the reviewers are commenting on the restoration of "The Robe". It certainly looks and sounds great. I think it is commendable that the first Cinemascope feature emphasized plot and character. If you don't have a great movie to go with your new technology so what. Think Cinerama, 3-D, and Sensurround. For starters the melding of fact and fiction from the time of Christ's Passion is both intelligent and moving. I can only imagine the worst cynic being unimpressed with the power of the film's message. The intensity of young Richard Burton's performance sears the screen. Burton doesn't seem as affected as a lot of young actors of his generation and his work here is almost indistinguishable from his later roles. Victor Mature, an underrated actor if there ever was one, equals Burton. A good portion of the film hinges on the conversion of Mature's character, Demetrius, and his conversion and Mature serves as a conduit to the audience the sincerity of his passion. Also not to be overlooked is Jay Robinson's take on the demented emperor, Caligula. Robinson in a small amount of screentime suggests the depravity of Caligula moreso than Malcolm McDowell did in the epic porno. "The Robe" is usually trotted out around Lent but it can most certainly be appreciated any time of year. ...more info
- Treasured Memories
This was great fun and nostalgia for my wife and I. The cast was especially good for this type of movie....more info
- A Story About Persecution
The film begins in the 18th year in the reign of Emperor Tiberius. Rome has conquered the world and receives tribute [taxes] from its conquered lands. The market place shows the glory of Rome, whose economy is based on the cheap labor of slaves to work in the latifundia of the rich nobles. [Have things changed much since then?] The film shows the life of Tribune Gallio. There are political implications in his behavior towards Caligula. Marcellus is ordered to Palestine, an inhospitable land. His father the Senator advises him to be a man of honor.
There is a political problem in Palestine. A man is preaching to the people and causing dissension. He must be arrested in a stealthy manner. The Romans know the tricks. Pilate has a job for Marcellus, who only follows orders. Three criminals have been condemned, the Romans use the cruelest method they know. Who will win the homespun robe? Marcellus has developed an illness since leaving Palestine. The Soothsayer knows the cure: Marcellus must find the robe and destroy it. He must get the names of all of the followers too! Marcellus returns and searches the provinces to find that robe. He finds Demetrius and the robe and is cured of his fears. The Roman Centurion presents a new problem; Marcellus handles it.
Marcellus has returned to Rome and is now a follower of the Christians. Caligula says they are all traitors. [They do not worship Caligula as divine!] Diana visits the catacombs to find Marcellus and tell of Demetrius' capture. They have a plan to remedy this. Caligula's anger suggests madness. The Roman physician is astounded by Demetrius' recovery. Demetrius escapes, but Marcellus is captured and put on trial. Those Christians are taken from the lowest classes. There is a dramatic speech by Diana; she will join Marcellus as martyrs for their beliefs.
This film was adapted from the novel by Lloyd C. Douglas.
- A bit corny, but grand and awe inspiring too with great music!
My wife just finished reading the novel and she wanted to see the movie, so we watched this DVD last night. That was fine by me, as I remember seeing bits and pieces of this movie throughout my childhood (I think it was one of the many "bible movies" that got rerun every Easter back in the early years of television) but I never actually sat through the entire movie from start to finish.
I must say that I truly did not remember just how visually stunning this movie is. Right from the get-go, I really believed I was in ancient rome. The first thing I admired was the costumes. For the first time I genuinely understood why there is an academy award for costume design, and color-me-surprised The Robe won it.
The Robe also won Best Art Direction Set Decoration and that was richly deserved too. A person shouldn't have to have a Christian belief system just to gawk at some of the visuals in this movie.
Now, one of the fun things I could do that most people can't is sit there and ask "is this in the book?" of someone who had just read the novel. I was saddened to learn just how much the screenplay adaptation changed the book. I think the book had a much better story, but it might have taken a mini-series to tell it. (Now there's a remake idea!)
The movie has some legendary actors, but I thought some of the acting was a bit over-the-top. Jay Robinson as Caligula must be the most whiney and annoying Roman emperor ever. The only mistake in casting I could stick my neck out and mention would be Richard Boone as Pontius Pilate. His performance was so deadpan I wondered if he knew the camera was rolling.
Of course, Jean Simmons as Diana was downright enchanting. A Roman who sounds British? Who cares!
On a historical note, if you are a Christian this movie might make you wonder just how many amazing events and stories unfolded in all those little villiages in Israel after Christ was crucified. How many little kids really got free donkeys and then gave them away? We'll never know, but I'll stuff like that really happened.
And finally, the use of music really left an impression with me. For some raeson I was nearly mesmerized by the opening credits music. It was much darker and foreboding than I expected, and creepy-cool too!
Also, I was rather moved by the scene in the village where the paralyzed woman plays a lyre (I think) and sings a hymn. It looked and sounded very authetic from what I know of the music of ancient Israel. It reminded me of Paul in 1 Corinthians encouraging believers to teach and admonish with "Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs". I'll bet stuff like that happened too. ...more info
- Entertaining Christian film for the family
"The Robe" is a biblical epic the whole family can enjoy. The set design is beautiful and the acting is good as well. One thing that makes "The Robe" a true family film is that it is not nearly as violent (although there is some violence) as some other religious epics. There isn't the brutality of "The Passion of the Christ" or the darkness of "Barabbas" (I liked those films considerably but they weren't suitable for young children). Overall, "The Robe" is a very good film....more info
- Great CinemaScope Epic!
Great to see this in hi-def! Fox has done a wonderful job with the transfer (the full 2.55:1 AR). There are audio commentaries, featurettes, and other goodies.
My greatest disappointment is that they did not include the "flat" version this time out. For many years, that version was the only one seen on television. The flat version was filmed alongside the CinemaScope version, with different takes and angles. Fox chose to offer a "Bonusview" Picture-in-Picture feature, which shows some talking heads interspersed with corresponding scenes from the flat version. The PIP is so small on my monitor that I really can't see any details. The positioning of the PIP is irritating as well. Anyway, the point is academic, as I doubt we'll ever have another chance to see the flat version on video. There is actually a precedent, however: Warner Home Video released 7 BRIDES FOR 7 BROTHERS in both 2.55 and 1.85 ratios on DVD for the title's second or third release in that format! I actually enjoyed seeing the flat version of that one--the set ups for some of the numbers is quite different.
Anyway, this is a great hi-def debut for this stalwart classic. Among the audio options is a new DTS 5.1 remix or the original 4-track stereo mix....more info
- Very Happy Customer
I am very happy with the survice I received from Amazon. I not only received the dvd before Christmas (it was not guaranteed to arive before Christmas) but it is also the movie I remembered from my teenage years.