Sunday, April 13, 2014

the robe revisited

I noticed Netflix made the 1953 movie THE ROBE available.  I remember television networks showing this movie every year around Easter.  It's been a long time since I'd watched it and I had almost forgotten about it.

THE ROBE is a fictional story that tells the story of the Roman soldier who won Jesus' robe in game of dice.  It's a good story for what it is and was worth revisiting.  It's is a dramatic film that was one of many Biblical epic productions of that time.  I felt it a little over-dramatic, much like most of the Biblical epic films of it's day, but the movie still has it's merits.

Most Biblical based films were that way until Johnny Cash's GOSPEL ROAD (1973) and the television mini-series JESUS OF NAZARETH (1977).  These movies seemed to bring the Son of God down to Earth more so than the huge productions that preceded them.

Interesting note about THE ROBE is that it was the first film shot in CinemaScope and actually had a sequel, DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS (1954). Throughout my life I had never seen the widescreen-letterbox version, rather the standard 1.33 ratio that was altered for television.  The visuals in the movie are quite stunning and worth watching again just so you can get big picture originally intended.  I also just learned that Jeff Chandler was originally considered to play Demetrius before Victor Mature.  Chandler would've made a great Demetrius, but Mature played his melodramatic part well.

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