The Robe - 1953 (Not Rated)


Year of Release: 1953
Rated: Not Rated
Director: Henry Koster
Approx. Running Time: 135 minutes
Format(s): DVD
My Rating: 3 stars (Out of 5)


From Back Cover (of VHS):

Richard Burton and Jean Simmons star in this legendary Academy Award winner. The first movie ever filmed in CinemaScope, it's the inspiring story ofthe miraculous robe Jesus wore on the cross, brought to life in a sweeping spectacle that ranks among the greatest Hollywood productions of all time.

Richard Burton stars as Mercellus Gallio, the Roman centurion in charge of the crucifixion who wins the robe gambling at the foot of the cross - and whose life is forever changed. Jean Simmons is Diana, the women he loves, but whose beliefs have come between them. And Victor Mature is Gallio's slave Demetrius, a man who flees to serve a higher master.

This 1953 masterpiece was nominated for Best Picture and Best Actor(Burton), and won Oscars for Best Costume Design (Color) and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Color). An all-star cast, spectacular production and superb spiritual score combine to make the unforgettable and moving account of Christ's conflict with the Roman Empire one of the screen's greatest biblical epics.

My Comments:

As stated on the back cover of this film, The Robe is indeed a Biblical Epic. While its story may not necessarily be taken directly from the Bible, it has an overtly religious message.

Richard Burton plays Marcellus Gallio, a centurion of the praetorian guard who is assigned to crucify Jesus, afterwhich he wins the robe worn by Jesus on the cross.

He later is tormented by nightmares and delusions, and believes that they are somehow caused by the robe. After his slave, Demetrius, flees to serve his newfound Christian faith (taking the robe with him), Marcellus tracks him down and upon finding him, he comes to realize that his horrific visions were caused by his own guilty conscience, and not by the simple cloth.

Although I am not a person of faith, I've always enjoyed this movie. It has all the pomp and spectacle I've come to enjoy in this genre of film. But more than that, this Biblical Epic is a really (unintentionally) funny movie. Here, Victor Mature "gets his Holy on" and hams it up for all he's worth, but he's not alone in his over-the-top performance. Richard Burton, too, is laughable as Marcellus, particularly when he's gone mad and screams "Were you out there?!" But out-doing both of them is newcomer Jay Robinson who is absolutely hilarious as emporer Caligula, piling on the camp and the cheese with great zeal.

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