The Robe

“The Robe” was shown on television on Easter Sunday night, but I wasn’t paying too much attention to it at the time.  It was the first CinemaScope movie ever, and I could imagine the sight of a big screen of white horses impressing an audience.  This was not one of Richard Burton’s best performances, as he did have an unintentionally funny scene in which he is terrified of Jesus’ robe.  One of the action scenes in which Burton fights off several swords seemed artificial.  I wondered how many matte shots were in this film.  Victor Mature’s character was earnest, and too earnest for me, as he couldn’t convince me that he was in awe of Christ.  The quality of this DVD was not so good, and the images were not sharp.  The positive, though, is that it was in widescreen, so you get some approximation of what it looked like on movie screens back in 1953.  As far as your Biblical epics go, it wasn’t as exciting as “The Ten Commandments.”  Victor Mature and Jean Simmons aren’t the types of names that would make me rush out to see this picture.  Mature had some good moments on the screen, and he did remind me of Rock Hudson at times.  It seems that if Christianity is such a big part of this story, we might like to see more of Christ in it.  If feels like we’re getting cheated out of seeing the really meaningful part of this story.  Instead, we get Christ’s robe.  It could just as well have been Christ’s socks, if indeed he did wear socks at all.  There was a lot going around in Rome at the time, as we saw in “I, Claudius,” which was more interesting than this film.  One of the familiar faces in this movie is Dean Jagger, who was in the Partridge Family Christmas episode in 1971.  Richard Boone from “Have Gun – Will Travel” was Pontius Pilate.  Dawn Addams, who would be in Charlie Chaplin’s “A King in New York,” was Junia.  Leon Askin, who was General Burkhalter in the Hogan’s Heroes television series, was Abidor.  I don’t know exactly what Martin Scorsese said about his memories of “The Robe.”  It seems that time has dimmed its reputation.  I don’t think of it as a great film.  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 20, “Your Hit Parade” made its debut on NBC radio in 1935.  In 1976, George Harrison joined Monty Python onstage at the City Center in New York to perform “The Lumberjack Song.”  In 1981, the final episode of “Soap” aired on ABC.  In 1992, Madonna signed a $60 million, seven-year contract with Time Warner Inc. to form the new entertainment company, Maverick.

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