Demetrius and the Gladiators - 1954 (Not Rated)


Year of Release: 1954
Rated: Not Rated
Director: Delmer Daves
Approx. Running Time: 102 minutes
Format(s): DVD
My Rating: 3 stars (Out of 5)


From Back Cover:

This enormously successful sequel to The Robe continues the story of Demetrius (Victor Mature), the Greek slave who, after the death of his master, is sentenced to train as a gladiator in the Roman arena. There, his newfound Christian faith is put to the test when he has to contend with not only swordsment and wild beasts of the arena, but also the evil and sensuous Messaline (Susan Hayward) and the mad emporer Caligula (Jay Robinson). Crammedc with astonishing action and fight sequences, this heroic epic is not to be missed!

My Comments:

Victor Mature - that oh-so-sexy hunk of a man (yeah right) - reprises his role of former slave "Demetrius," a man of deep Christian faith and staunch morality. He finds himself sentenced to fight as a gladiator, but his beliefs do not allow such violent acts and he refuses to fight. His faith is tested, however, as he witnesses what he believes to be the killing of his love, Lucia. Turning away from his beliefs, he becomes lover to Messalina, wife of the emporer's uncle Claudius and is elevated from slave to tribune of the praetorian guard.

As such, he is given an order by emporer Caligula to recover the robe worn by Jesus on the cross, because Caligula believes it to have magical powers. Upon finding the robe, Demetrius is confronted with the reality of what happened to his beloved Lucia and is forced once again to question his choice of faith.

The plot of the film itself deals with a lot of questions of faith and morality - as do many films from this period - but the quality of the idea is hampered a bit by poor acting (particularly by leading man Victor Mature) and even poorer special effects (note gladiators wrestling with obviously stuffed tigers). Still, if you're into the whole swords-and-sandals, pomp-and-spectacle genre of film, you'll probably enjoy this one. I did.

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Not Rated (MPAA)
3 Stars
1950s (Year of Release)
Historical Features
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