The Robe (film)
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''The Robe'' is a 1953 American fictional
Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others. It appears in the form of an anthology, a compilat ...

Biblical
epic film Epic films are a style of filmmaking with large scale, sweeping scope, and spectacle. The usage of the term has shifted over time, sometimes designating a film genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, ...
that tells the mythical story of a
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman
military tribune A military tribune (Latin ''tribunus militum'', "tribune of the soldiers") was an officer of the Roman army The Roman army (: ) was the armed forces deployed by the Romans throughout the duration of , from the (to c. 500 BC) to the (500– ...
who commands the unit that is responsible for the
Crucifixion of Jesus The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Judea Judea or Judaea, and the modern version of Judah (; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; e ...
. The film was released by
20th Century Fox 20th Century Studios, Inc. (also known as 20th Century for short, and nicknamed 20th Pictures, formerly Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation) is an American film studio A film studio (also known as movie studio or simply studio) is a maj ...
and was the first film released in the
widescreen Widescreen images are images that are displayed within a set of aspect ratios The aspect ratio of a geometric Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; '' geo-'' "earth", '' -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic Arithmetic ...
process
CinemaScope CinemaScope is an anamorphic format, anamorphic lens series used, from 1953 to 1967, and less often later, for shooting widescreen films that, crucially, could be screened in theatres using existing equipment, albeit with a lens adapter. Its cre ...
. Like other early CinemaScope films, ''The Robe'' was shot with
Henri Chrétien Henri Jacques Chrétien (1 February 1879, Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area ...
's original Hypergonar
anamorphic Anamorphic format is the cinematography Cinematography (from ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), g ...
lenses. The film was directed by
Henry Koster Henry Koster (born Hermann Kosterlitz, May 1, 1905 – September 21, 1988) was a German-born film director. He was the husband of actress Peggy Moran. Early life Koster was born to Jewish parents in Berlin, Germany. He was introduced to cin ...
and produced by Frank Ross. The screenplay was adapted by
Gina Kaus Gina Kaus (born Regina Wiener; 21 October 1893, Vienna, Austria – 23 December 1985, Los Angeles, California) was an Austrian-American novelist and screenwriter. Life and career Regina Wiener, the daughter of money broker Max Wiener, attended an ...
,
Albert Maltz Albert Maltz (; October 28, 1908 – April 26, 1985) was an American playwright, fiction writer and screenwriter. He was one of the Hollywood blacklist#The Hollywood Ten and other 1947 blacklistees, Hollywood Ten who were jailed in 1950 for their 1 ...
, and Philip Dunne — although Maltz's place among the
blacklist Blacklisting is the action of a group or authority, compiling a blacklist (or black list) of people, countries or other entities to be avoided or distrusted as being deemed unacceptable to those making the list. If someone is on a blacklist, ...
ed
Hollywood 10 The Hollywood blacklist was the colloquial term for what was in actuality a broader entertainment industry blacklist Blacklisting is the action of a group or authority, compiling a blacklist (or black list) of people, countries or other en ...
led to his being denied his writing credit for many years — from
Lloyd C. Douglas Lloyd Cassel Douglas (August 27, 1877 – February 13, 1951) was an American minister and author. Douglas was one of the most popular American authors of his time, although he did not write his first novel until he was 50. Biography He was b ...
' eponymous 1942 novel. The score was composed by Alfred Newman, and the cinematography was by
Leon Shamroy Leon Shamroy, A.S.C. The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), founded in Hollywood in 1919, is a cultural, educational, and professional organization that is neither a labor union nor a guild. The society was organized to advance the s ...
. The film stars
Richard Burton Richard Burton, (; born Richard Walter Jenkins Jr.; 10 November 19255 August 1984) was a Welsh People, Welsh actor. Noted for his baritone voice, Burton established himself as a formidable Shakespearean actor in the 1950s, and he gave a Richa ...

Richard Burton
,
Jean Simmons Jean Merilyn Simmons, (31 January 1929 – 22 January 2010) was a British actress and singer. One of J. Arthur Rank's "well-spoken young starlets", she appeared predominantly in films, beginning with those made in Great Britain during and aft ...
,
Victor Mature Victor John Mature (January 29, 1913 – August 4, 1999) was an American stage, film, and television actor who starred most notably in several movies during the 1950s. His best known film roles include ''One Million B.C.'' (1940), ''My Darling C ...
, and
Michael Rennie Michael Rennie (born Eric Alexander Rennie; 25 August 1909 – 10 June 1971) was a British film, television and stage actor, who had leading roles in a number of Hollywood films, including his portrayal of the space visitor Klaatu (The Day ...
and co-stars
Dean Jagger Dean Jagger (November 7, 1903 – February 5, 1991) was an American film, stage, and television actor who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor The Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is an award presented annually by the A ...
,
Jay Robinson A jay is any of several species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of ...
,
Richard Boone Richard Allen Boone (June 18, 1917 – January 10, 1981) was an American actor who starred in over 50 films and was notable for his roles in Westerns, including his starring role in the television series ''Have Gun – Will Travel''. Early lif ...
, and
Jeff Morrow Leslie Irving Morrow, known as Jeff Morrow (January 13, 1907 – December 26, 1993), was an United States, American actor educated at the Pratt Institute in his native New York City. Morrow was a commercial artist prior to turning to acting. ...
. The 1954 sequel, ''
Demetrius and the Gladiators ''Demetrius and the Gladiators'' is a 1954 Biblical Drama (film and television), drama film and a sequel to ''The Robe (film), The Robe''. The picture was made by 20th Century Fox, directed by Delmer Daves and produced by Frank Ross (producer) ...
'', picks up exactly where ''The Robe'' ends.


Plot

In
Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...
,
Judaea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrolog ...
,
Capri Capri ( , ; ; ) is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), ...

Capri
, and Galilee (in the time period stretching from 32 to 38 AD.), Diana (
Jean Simmons Jean Merilyn Simmons, (31 January 1929 – 22 January 2010) was a British actress and singer. One of J. Arthur Rank's "well-spoken young starlets", she appeared predominantly in films, beginning with those made in Great Britain during and aft ...
) tells Emperor Caligula that she has not heard from Marcellus Gallio (
Richard Burton Richard Burton, (; born Richard Walter Jenkins Jr.; 10 November 19255 August 1984) was a Welsh People, Welsh actor. Noted for his baritone voice, Burton established himself as a formidable Shakespearean actor in the 1950s, and he gave a Richa ...

Richard Burton
) for almost a year, when Marcellus was in Cana of Galilee. At that time, Marcellus was told by Paulus that Caligula had become the emperor. Marcellus Gallio, son of an important Roman senator (Torin Thatcher), and himself a
military tribune A military tribune (Latin ''tribunus militum'', "tribune of the soldiers") was an officer of the Roman army The Roman army (: ) was the armed forces deployed by the Romans throughout the duration of , from the (to c. 500 BC) to the (500– ...
, introduces through flashback narration, the might and scope of the Roman empire. Marcellus is notoriously known as a ladies’ man, but is captivated by the reappearance of his childhood sweetheart, Diana, ward of the Emperor Tiberius. Diana is unofficially pledged in marriage to Tiberius's regent, Caligula. Nevertheless, she harbors a desire for Marcellus after a promise he made when they were children that he would marry her. Caligula, who has a longstanding feud with Marcellus, arrives at the slave market, whereupon he enters into a bidding war with Marcellus over a defiant Greek slave, Demetrius (
Victor Mature Victor John Mature (January 29, 1913 – August 4, 1999) was an American stage, film, and television actor who starred most notably in several movies during the 1950s. His best known film roles include ''One Million B.C.'' (1940), ''My Darling C ...
). Despite Demetrius being sold for a gladiator, and expected by Caligula to be a cheap buy, Marcellus wins the bidding war by pledging 3000 gold, and Caligula storms off. Marcellus has Demetrius released and orders him to go on his own to the Gallio home. Marcellus is surprised to find Demetrius waiting for him when he arrives, since Demetrius could have run off, but Demetrius feels honor bound to Marcellus, claiming he owes Marcellus a debt. Word reaches the Gallio home that Caligula has issued orders for Marcellus to receive a military transfer to Jerusalem in Palestine (region), Palestine. A place of unrest, Marcellus' father informs his son that Caligula hopes this new assignment will be his death sentence. Demetrius accompanies Marcellus to Palestine but, before the galley sails, Diana comes to see Marcellus, pledging her love for him and her intention to intercede on his behalf with Tiberius. Marcellus declares his love for Diana and asks her to make the emperor promise not to give her in marriage to Caligula. Marcellus rides into Jerusalem with the centurion Paulus (
Jeff Morrow Leslie Irving Morrow, known as Jeff Morrow (January 13, 1907 – December 26, 1993), was an United States, American actor educated at the Pratt Institute in his native New York City. Morrow was a commercial artist prior to turning to acting. ...
) on the same day as Jesus's triumphal entry on Palm Sunday. Demetrius locks eyes with Jesus and feels compelled to follow after him, although he does not. Later, Demetrius learns of the plot to arrest Jesus after overhearing Paulus and Marcellus discuss the matter. He attempts to warn Jesus, but comes across a distraught man who informs him that Jesus has already been arrested. After bemoaning how Jesus was betrayed by one of his own, and imploring Demetrius to find the others and tell them not to lose faith, Demetrius asks for the man's name. As thunder crashes, the man reveals himself to be Judas, and he wanders off to hang himself. Demetrius implores Marcellus to intercede on behalf of Jesus, but upon learning that Jesus has already been condemned by Pontius Pilate (
Richard Boone Richard Allen Boone (June 18, 1917 – January 10, 1981) was an American actor who starred in over 50 films and was notable for his roles in Westerns, including his starring role in the television series ''Have Gun – Will Travel''. Early lif ...
), the Procurator (Roman), procurator, Marcellus tells Demetrius the matter is settled and that he best forget he ever saw Jesus. Marcellus reports to Pilate, who informs him that Emperor Tiberius has sent for him. Before Marcellus departs, Pilate orders him to take charge of the detail of Roman soldiers assigned to crucify Jesus. While waiting for the execution to finish, Marcellus wins the robe worn by Jesus in a dice game from Paulus, who tells Marcellus that it will be a reminder of his victory over the King of the Jews. Returning from the crucifixion with Demetrius, Marcellus uses the robe in an attempt to shield himself from a rain squall, but feels sudden and intense pain due to the cloth's mystical powers, and tears the robe off as he cowers against a wall. In a fit of rage, Demetrius curses Marcellus and the Roman Empire, calling them murderers and thieves. Demetrius then runs away, taking the robe with him. Marcellus, meanwhile, begins his descent into insanity. He is haunted by nightmares of the crucifixion, screaming "Were you out there?!" constantly, much to the chagrin of others. He reports to Emperor Tiberius at
Capri Capri ( , ; ; ) is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), ...

Capri
, where he is reunited with Diana. Tiberius' soothsayer declares the robe cursed, and has begun to work its dark magic on Marcellus. Tiberius gives Marcellus an imperial commission to find and destroy the robe, while gathering a list of names of Jesus' followers, who Pilate reports have been causing trouble since the demise of Jesus. At Diana's request, Tiberius leaves her free to marry Marcellus, provided he successfully returns from his commission and cures himself of his madness. Marcellus travels to Palestine and arrives at Cana, a city whose inhabitants believe Jesus has risen from the dead. Marcellus seeks to ingratiate himself with a weaver named Justus (
Dean Jagger Dean Jagger (November 7, 1903 – February 5, 1991) was an American film, stage, and television actor who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor The Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is an award presented annually by the A ...
) and the other villagers in order to learn the whereabouts of Demetrius. He believes the people are robbed of sense and reason, watching as Justus's grandson gives away without a care a donkey that Marcellus gifted him, and encountering the paralytic Miriam who believes that Jesus healed her despite still being paralyzed. All the while, Marcellus continues to slip further into his insanity. Upon learning that Demetrius and a big fisherman have arrived at the village, Marcellus searches for them. He finds Demetrius alone in an inn and demands that he destroy the robe. Demetrius tells Marcellus that the robe has no real power, and that it only reminds Marcellus of what he did – it is his guilt over the killing of an innocent man that has caused him to become so troubled. Marcellus attempts to destroy the robe, but succumbs to Demetrius' words before he can succeed. Upon seeing that Marcellus now shares belief in Jesus, Justus calls the villagers together and begins to introduce the big fisherman, Simon Peter, Peter. After proclaiming Peter’s loyalty to Jesus, and telling Peter that he may speak in a moment when Peter attempts to correct him, Justus is killed by an arrow from a detachment of Roman soldiers lead by Paulus. Marcellus intervenes and Paulus informs him that his orders are no longer valid; Tiberius is dead, and Caligula is emperor. Marcellus informs Paulus that an imperial commission is valid until specifically countermanded by the new emperor. Paulus challenges Marcellus to make him obey via a sword duel. After a prolonged struggle, Marcellus prevails. Rather than killing Paulus, Marcellus hurls his sword into a tree. Paulus, humiliated by his defeat, orders the soldiers to leave. Peter invites Marcellus to join Demetrius and him as missionaries. Marcellus hesitates, but when Peter tells Marcellus of his own denial of Jesus (which Justus ignorantly contradicted before his demise), Marcellus confesses his role in Jesus' death. Peter points out to him that Jesus forgave him from the cross, and Marcellus pledges his life to Jesus and agrees to go with them. Their missionary journey takes them to Rome, where they must proceed "under cover" as Caligula has proscribed them. From Rome, Caligula summons Diana from her retreat at the Gallio home, to tell her that Marcellus has become a traitor to Rome by indulging his madness. He takes her to the guard room where a captured Demetrius is being tortured. Diana runs out of the palace to Marcipor, the Gallio family slave, who unbeknownst to Diana, has become a Christian. Diana deduces Marcipor has seen Marcellus, and she gets Marcipor to take her to see him. Marcellus and Diana are reunited, and Marcellus tells her the story of the robe. Diana is uncertain as to Marcellus' sanity, denying that the "beautiful story" he told could be true, but nevertheless she tells Marcellus where Demetrius is being kept. Marcellus plans and carries out a rescue mission, but Demetrius has been mortally wounded by his torture. Peter comes to the house of Gallio, where Demetrius has been taken, and heals him. The physician who had been attempting to heal Demetrius attributes Peter’s healing powers to sorcery and flees. Marcellus' father disowns him as an enemy of Rome. Caligula, learning of how Demetrius was rescued, issues orders in a rage that Marcellus be brought to him alive to stand trial by the end of the day. Marcellus flees with Demetrius, but upon learning they are being followed, gives himself up so that Demetrius can escape. Marcellus is captured, and while he awaits trial, Diana visits him in his holding cell and pleads with him to say what is necessary during his trial so that his life may be spared. Marcellus will not deny Jesus. Caligula makes Diana sit next to him for Marcellus's trial. Marcellus admits to being a follower of Jesus; however, he denies the charge that he and his friends are plotting against the state. Marcellus attempts to hand the robe to Caligula, but Caligula refuses to touch it, remembering that it is “bewitched.” Caligula condemns Marcellus to death after surveying the members of the audience, who demand his destruction based upon what they have heard. Caligula attempts to offer mercy to his former rival, saying his life will be spared if he denounces his beliefs that Jesus is the son of God and rose from the dead, but Marcellus defies Caligula. As Marcellus has his fate sealed, Diana stands with Marcellus, the man she considers to be her husband, in Heaven, His Kingdom (Heaven). She denounces Caligula as a petulant, tyrannical monster. Caligula condemns Diana to die alongside Marcellus. As they depart the audience hall for their execution, Marcellus is pitied by his forlorn father, and Diana gives the robe to Marcipor. As Diana and Marcellus climb the staircase out of the court, with Caligula ranting behind them, the scene behind them changes: The two ascend a staircase to heaven. The hall full of people disappears and is replaced by a background of shining gold and the music includes the sounds of a celestial choir. As they continue to climb, they look at each other and, smiling, turn their eyes back up towards what awaits them.


Historical inaccuracies

Despite the careful attention to Roman history and culture displayed in the film, some inaccuracies are included: in reality, Emperor Tiberius' wife, Julia the Elder, Julia, who had been banished from Rome by her father Augustus years before Tiberius acceded to the imperial throne, was already dead.


Cast

;Credited *
Richard Burton Richard Burton, (; born Richard Walter Jenkins Jr.; 10 November 19255 August 1984) was a Welsh People, Welsh actor. Noted for his baritone voice, Burton established himself as a formidable Shakespearean actor in the 1950s, and he gave a Richa ...

Richard Burton
as Marcellus Gallio *
Jean Simmons Jean Merilyn Simmons, (31 January 1929 – 22 January 2010) was a British actress and singer. One of J. Arthur Rank's "well-spoken young starlets", she appeared predominantly in films, beginning with those made in Great Britain during and aft ...
as Diana *
Victor Mature Victor John Mature (January 29, 1913 – August 4, 1999) was an American stage, film, and television actor who starred most notably in several movies during the 1950s. His best known film roles include ''One Million B.C.'' (1940), ''My Darling C ...
as Demetrius *
Michael Rennie Michael Rennie (born Eric Alexander Rennie; 25 August 1909 – 10 June 1971) was a British film, television and stage actor, who had leading roles in a number of Hollywood films, including his portrayal of the space visitor Klaatu (The Day ...
as Saint Peter, Peter *
Jay Robinson A jay is any of several species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of ...
as Caligula *
Dean Jagger Dean Jagger (November 7, 1903 – February 5, 1991) was an American film, stage, and television actor who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor The Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is an award presented annually by the A ...
as Justus * Torin Thatcher as Senator Gallio *
Richard Boone Richard Allen Boone (June 18, 1917 – January 10, 1981) was an American actor who starred in over 50 films and was notable for his roles in Westerns, including his starring role in the television series ''Have Gun – Will Travel''. Early lif ...
as Pontius Pilate * Betta St. John as Miriam *
Jeff Morrow Leslie Irving Morrow, known as Jeff Morrow (January 13, 1907 – December 26, 1993), was an United States, American actor educated at the Pratt Institute in his native New York City. Morrow was a commercial artist prior to turning to acting. ...
as Paulus * Ernest Thesiger as Tiberius * Dawn Addams as Junia * Leon Askin as Abidor ;Uncredited * Michael Ansara as Judas Iscariot, Judas * Helen Beverley as Rebecca * Sally Corner as Cornelia Gallio * Rosalind Ivan as Empress Julia the Elder * Donald C. Klune as Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth * David Leonard as Marcipor * Cameron Mitchell (actor), Cameron Mitchell as the voice of Jesus * Jay Novello as Tiro * Frank Pulaski as Quintus * Pamela Robinson as Lucia Gallio * Harry Shearer as David


Background and production

Frank Ross acquired the rights to the novel in 1942, before it was completed for $100,000. ''The Robe'' was originally announced for filming by RKO in the 1940s and was set to be directed by Mervyn LeRoy, but the rights were eventually sold to Twentieth Century Fox. Ross received $40,000 plus 20% of the profits. RKO received $300,000 plus $650,000 from future profits. Jeff Chandler was originally announced for the role of Demetrius. Victor Mature signed in December 1952 to make both ''The Robe'' and a sequel about Demetrius. John R. Buckmaster, John Buckmaster tested for the role of Caligula. Filming finished on April 30, 1953, two weeks ahead of schedule. The film was advertised as "the modern miracle you see without glasses", a dig at the 3D movies of the day. Since many theaters of the day were not equipped to show a
CinemaScope CinemaScope is an anamorphic format, anamorphic lens series used, from 1953 to 1967, and less often later, for shooting widescreen films that, crucially, could be screened in theatres using existing equipment, albeit with a lens adapter. Its cre ...
film, two versions of ''The Robe'' were made: one in the standard screen ratio of the day, the other in the widescreen process. Setups and some dialogue differ between the versions. The film was usually shown on television using the standard 1.33:1 aspect ratio (image), aspect ratio version that fills a standard television screen rather than the CinemaScope version. American Movie Classics may have been the first to offer telecasts of the widescreen version. Recent DVDs and Blu-ray Discs of the film, however, present the film in the original widescreen format, as well as the multitrack stereophonic soundtrack.


Reception


Critical reception

Critical reaction of the film and CinemaScope following the premiere in New York was generally favourable. Frank Quinn of the ''New York Daily Mirror'' called it "a new realistic and phenomenal concept of the art of motion picture production." Kate Cameron at the New York Daily News'' gave it eight stars (four for the film and four for CinemaScope) and claimed that "any picture projected on a flat screen...is going to seem dull" after ''The Robe''. The only criticism came from Bosley Crowther of ''The New York Times'' who wrote, "The human drama of this story of Christian conversion occurs amid sumptuous and scenic surroundings and are mighty impressive to see. But the mightiness of surroundings—the spectacle of settings and costumes—is meaningful only in relation to the story that is being told. And the story in this instance is not spectacular, so that the amplitude of its surroundings does not enhance its scope." ''Variety (magazine), Variety'' wrote, "It is a 'big' picture in every sense of the word. One magnificent scene after another, under the anamorphic technique, unveils the splendor that was Rome and the turbulence that was Jerusalem at the time of Christ on Calvary." Edwin Schallert of the ''Los Angeles Times'' stated that the film was in "a class that is unique, deeply spiritual and even awe-inspiring." Richard L. Coe of ''The Washington Post'' wrote, "Partly through the writing, partly through the variety of acting styles, this reverence does not stir the emotions. It is very hard to take seriously a film which presents so petulantly obvious a performance as Jay Robinson's sophomoric Caligula or a script which early observes: 'You have made me the laughing stock of Rome.' These and matters like them are not aspects of fine motion picture making." ''Harrison's Reports'' declared, "Excellent! Even if it had been produced in the conventional 2-D form, Lloyd C. Douglas' powerful novel of the birth of Christianity in the days of ancient Rome would have made a great picture, but having been produced in the revolutionary CinemaScope process, it emerges as not only a superior dramatic achievement but also as a spectacle that will electrify audiences with its overpowering scope and magnitude." ''The Monthly Film Bulletin'' called it "a routine addition to the numerous Hollywood Biblical films", presenting "a characteristically distorted and simplified view of Imperial Rome, with a ranting Caligula, a doddering Tiberius, and the customary scenes of 'spectacle' in the palace, the market-place and the torture chamber. The performances lack enthusiasm, and Richard Burton in particular seems ill at ease as the morose Marcellus." Basil Wright wrote in ''Sight & Sound'', "As a film on a religious subject, Henry Koster's ''The Robe'' has rather fewer lapses in taste than most of its predecessors. If the actual speaking of Christ's cry from the Cross is a major error, it is not multiplied. In general, the subject is treated with reasonable reverence and is a deal better than ''Quo Vadis (1951 film), Quo Vadis'', which was a perfect illustration of Aristotle's remark about the ludicrous being merely a sub-division of the ugly." Based on 18 reviews, the film holds a score of 33% on Rotten Tomatoes.


Box office

The film premiered at the Roxy Theatre (New York City), Roxy Theatre in New York City on September 16, 1953. On its public release the following day it set a record one-day gross (for a single theatre) of $36,000. It set a one-week record gross (for a single theatre) of $264,427. It earned an estimated $17.5 million in North America during its initial theatrical release. Its worldwide rentals were estimated at $32 million.


Awards and honors

26th Academy Awards: ;Wins * Academy Award for Best Production Design, Best Art Direction (Color): ''Art Direction:'' Lyle R. Wheeler, George Davis (art director), George Davis; ''Set Decoration:'' Walter M. Scott, Paul S. Fox * Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Best Costume Design (Color): Charles LeMaire, Emile Santiago ;Nominations * Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Motion Picture: Frank Ross, Producer * Academy Award for Best Actor, Best Actor: Richard Burton * Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Best Cinematography (Color):
Leon Shamroy Leon Shamroy, A.S.C. The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), founded in Hollywood in 1919, is a cultural, educational, and professional organization that is neither a labor union nor a guild. The society was organized to advance the s ...
11th Golden Globe Awards: ;Wins * Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Motion Picture – Drama


Others

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists: * 2005: AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores – Nominated * 2006: AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers – Nominated * 2008: AFI's 10 Top 10: ** Nominated Epic Film


First telecast

American Broadcasting Company, ABC paid a record $2 million for the television rights, sponsored by Ford Motor Company, Ford, for four screenings in the United States. The film was first telecast on Easter weekend on Sunday 26, March 1967, at the relatively early hour of 7:00 P.M., Eastern Time Zone, EST, to allow for family viewing. In a highly unusual move, the film was shown with only one commercial break – a luxury not even granted to the then-annual telecasts of ''The Wizard of Oz (1939 film), The Wizard of Oz''. The film received a Nielsen rating of 31.0 and an audience share of 53%, with the second largest TV audience for a film, behind ''The Bridge on the River Kwai'', with 60 million viewers.


Home media

The film was released on VHS and DVD on October 16, 2001. It was released on Blu-ray on March 17, 2009.


Soundtrack

* When the original soundtrack album was issued on LP by Decca Records, it used a remix for only monaural sound rather than the stereo sound that was originally recorded. * MCA Records, MCA, which acquired the rights to the American Decca recordings, issued an electronic stereo version of the mono tape. * RCA Victor included a suite from the film, recorded in Dolby surround sound, in its album ''Captain from Castile'', which honored longtime Fox musical director Alfred Newman (composer of ''The Robes musical score.) * Charles Gerhardt (conductor), Charles Gerhardt conducted London's National Philharmonic Chorus. * In 2003, Varèse Sarabande released a two-CD set of the original stereophonic recording on its club label.


Poster

The elaborate poster for the film has one glaring flaw. The woman's face is ''not''
Jean Simmons Jean Merilyn Simmons, (31 January 1929 – 22 January 2010) was a British actress and singer. One of J. Arthur Rank's "well-spoken young starlets", she appeared predominantly in films, beginning with those made in Great Britain during and aft ...
. Originally, Jean Peters had been cast as Diana, but became pregnant. Simmons was hired to replace her. But the poster was not changed, and shows the wrong Jean.The Robe poster at the Wide Screen Museum
/ref>


Sequel

The film's successful and highly praised sequel, ''
Demetrius and the Gladiators ''Demetrius and the Gladiators'' is a 1954 Biblical Drama (film and television), drama film and a sequel to ''The Robe (film), The Robe''. The picture was made by 20th Century Fox, directed by Delmer Daves and produced by Frank Ross (producer) ...
'' (1954), featured
Victor Mature Victor John Mature (January 29, 1913 – August 4, 1999) was an American stage, film, and television actor who starred most notably in several movies during the 1950s. His best known film roles include ''One Million B.C.'' (1940), ''My Darling C ...
in the title role. ''
Demetrius and the Gladiators ''Demetrius and the Gladiators'' is a 1954 Biblical Drama (film and television), drama film and a sequel to ''The Robe (film), The Robe''. The picture was made by 20th Century Fox, directed by Delmer Daves and produced by Frank Ross (producer) ...
'' begins with Caligula's challenge to Marcellus and Diana as they climb the stairs to their execution. Filming was completed before ''The Robe'' was released.


Preservation

The Academy Film Archive preserved ''The Robe'' in 2008.


Popular culture

In the first episode "Openings" of ''The Queen's Gambit (miniseries), The Queen's Gambit'' miniseries series, the film is playing for the staff and wards of the Mathuen orphanage, and the final chorus of Alleluia provides a diegetic source of music while Beth breaks into the dispensary and overdoses.


References


External links

* * * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Robe, The 1953 films 20th Century Fox films American epic films American films Best Drama Picture Golden Globe winners CinemaScope films Films about Christianity Cultural depictions of Tiberius Cultural depictions of Judas Iscariot Cultural depictions of Pontius Pilate Depictions of Caligula on film Film portrayals of Jesus' death and resurrection Films based on American novels Films directed by Henry Koster Films scored by Alfred Newman Films set in Rome Films that won the Best Costume Design Academy Award Films whose art director won the Best Art Direction Academy Award Films with screenplays by Philip Dunne Religious epic films