(2 1/2 *'s) `The Robe' is a decent grasp at the repercussions of the life and death of Jesus. With grand scenery that reenacts scenes from Jerusalem and Rome, the film is a pius effort and an admirable interpretation. However, the second rate acting and many languid moments don't save the truly touching scenes that mark the movie's highlights. Even Richard Burton's performance doesn't add much this time around. The scenery is either magnificent or reminds the audience too often that the film is a stage performance.
Taking place during the last week of Jesus's life and just beyond the grave, the film focuses on Marcellus (Burton) who becomes the pivotal tribunal and crucifixion participant. Marcellus obtains Jesus's famous robe from dice with fellow Roman soldiers. Having obtained a Roman slave, Demetrius (Victor Mature), Marcellus finds a catalyst to a new faith, started by what the Romans believe is a cult from a carpenter. While Jesus is the mysterious center of the drama making a visible and audible appearance that is partly shrouded, the changes in Marcellus's life take center stage for the story. The robe is the cause of much dread and guilt through which Marcellus must wrestle.
Despite it's weaknesses, many believers may find the movie food for the soul.
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John L. Peterson (JP_Rocky_Raccoon)
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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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