Thursday, September 29, 2011

Movie Review: The Robe

I first became aware of The Robe because my mom had a VHS copy that she recorded off of television. At some point she explained the gist of it to me, but at the time it didn't capture my interest.[1] Then a few years ago it was our turn to buy Christmas presents for Leann's sister, Sherri. Sherri asked for the book The Robe. We gave it to her, but I, at least, was surprised by her request. Sometime later I spotted a copy of The Robe at Deseret Industries, so I bought myself a copy.[2] After finishing the book, I decided to watch the movie to see how it compared.

In some ways I thought it superior to the book. The portrayal of Marcellus' madness is more convincing, though the inception of it definitely was not. And Marcellus' return to the Holy Land is mercifully abridged. However,  in several instances it diverged quite radically from the plot of the book—particularly in the character of Demetrius, Marcellus' slave. I found the portrayal of Emperor Caligula as a whiny homosexual given to tantrums to be awkward and somewhat disturbing. I can only imagine it was worse for the audiences of 1953. Considered apart from its relation to the book, it's a fine film.


[1] I also conflated it with the movie Ben Hur.

[2] You can read my review of the book here.

Image attribution:

Cloth texture is by Andrew Kelsall, available at

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