The Robe

The Robe is my 9th movie watched in the period drama challenge.  The Robe is a Biblical film that was released on September 16, 1953.  The budget for this epic film was $4.1 million and it grossed 36 million just in the United States.  The movie stars Richard Burton as Marcellus Gallio, Jean Simmons as Diana and Victor Mature as Demetrius.  There are some historical inaccuracies in The Robe.  This movie has the distinction of being the first movie to be shown in widescreen.

Marcellus is the son of a prominent Roman senator who shows up at an outdoor slave auction.  At the auction Marcellus renews an old childhood friendship with a young woman named Diana.  Diana remembers that Marcellus promised to marry her when they both grew up.  Marcellus grew up to be a ladies man, but he does care for Diana.  However, Diana was promised to Caligula.

Diana, Caligula (played by Jay Robinson) and Marcellus Gallio.

At the slave auction, Marcellus angers Caligula by bidding against him for a slave named Demetrius.  Marcellus outbids Caligula and takes Demetrius home to be his personal servant.  Caligula is outraged.  Diana’s young girl crush on Marcellus carried over into adulthood and she tries to help him.
Later on, Marcellus is ordered to carry out three crucifixions.  One of the people to be hung on a cross is Jesus of Nazareth.  Marcellus carries out the mission without really knowing anything about Jesus.

Demetrius is very affected by the Nazarene.  He senses that there is something special about Jesus as he observed him prior to being betrayed by Judas.  Demetrius also witnessed Jesus carrying the cross to his own crucifixion and tries to help him when Roman soldiers start whipping him for falling.

Demetrius is in agony as he stands in front of the cross that Jesus is hanging from and he is also holding the robe that Jesus was wearing.  Demetrius knows without a doubt that Jesus is the Son of God.

After the body of Jesus expires Marcellus touches the robe and immediately is affected mentally by it.  Marcellus feels that he is now losing his mind.  As time goes by he learns more about Jesus from people who were healed by Him and from one of the disciples.   Demetrius realizes that he took part in a great injustice.

Marcellus becomes a Christian and warns Caligula that Rome must choose the way of justice and charity if it is to survive.  Caligula is incensed and sentences Marcellus to death.

Diana rejects Caligula and chooses to die with Marcellus as a Christian.

Marcellus and Diana march off to serve the Kingdom of God and to their earthly end.

Old-Fashioned Charm

One comment

  1. Toby says:

    I have seen this film (or parts of it) several times over the years. It’s beautiful to watch. I wish I had been old enough to have seen it in the theater in the wide Cinemascope format. As in most of those biblical epics, historical (and biblical) inaccuracies abound. But that’s Hollywood! Ben-Hur was another film that surrounded around a character that was effected by Jesus. I think Ben-Hur was better than The Robe, but both films were awesome to watch. Sparticus was good too.

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