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Deal of the Week: "Harry Potter Hogwarts Collection" on Blu-ray and DVD
This week only, save on the 31-disc collector's edition containing all eight Harry Potter movies and more than 45 hours of special features. See more
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Biblical epics may not be terribly fashionable nowadays, but I've always enjoyed them and The Robe is one of the best of the genre. It describes the events surrounding the familiar Biblical stories using characters from the Bible and fictional characters to flesh out the narrative. In this way it rather resembles how Ben Hur interweaves the Biblical story with fictional events of Ben Hur's life. This technique works well in The Robe and makes for fine historical fiction with a religious theme.
The print used for the Twentieth Century Fox DVD is in good condition. The CinemaScope images have been anamorphically enhanced and look stunning. The colours are bright and clear and there is hardly any visible damage. The sound likewise is good with no background noise. This DVD only has some trailers for extras, but anyone who enjoys Biblical epics will want to get The Robe.
This is prime-time Richard Burton, at age 27, heavenly to look at and even better to listen to; his crisp enunciation makes the English language shine, and though some of his scenes are a little "over the top", he carries them off with charismatic presence. Jean Simmons is exquisite as Diana, the woman who has loved Marcellus (Burton) since childhood, and their screen romance has a rare depth and spark.
Other notable performances come from Victor Mature as Demetrius the slave, with a mute but moving scene at Christ's crucifixion, and Michael Rennie is grand as Peter. Jay Robinson is wonderfully rotten as the vicious Caligula.
I always like a good fight sequence, and there is a brilliantly choreographed one between Marcellus and a centurion. It is the kind of swordplay great Shakespearean actors have perfected, and it is a delight to watch.
Directed by Henry Koster, it has an exceptional score by Alfred Newman, and vibrant Technicolor cinematography by Leon Shamroy. I like the way the night scenes have a deep blue glow to them, and the costumes are wonderful. Oscars went to Best Art Direction/Set Design (color) and Best Costume design (color). It was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Cinematography (color), and was the first film to be released in CinemaScope.
I saw this film many years ago, and had thought it a little silly, but we have both aged well; I can now watch it repeatedly, and appreciate the depictions of courage, and the beauty and humanity of it. Total running time is 2 hours and 13 minutes.
FHE spent the most money in this restoration on the soundtrack according to the man in charge of the project, Shawn Belston, VP of Library and Technical Services for FHE, in a chat he had with Ronald Epstein of Home Theater Forum this past Monday evening. They even removed the "wow", which is likely a costly process, but a process well worthwhile in such endeavors.
The entire score is isolated, and it has NEVER sounded better. I noted, however, that in the "Rescue of Demetrius" sequence as Marcellus and other men were preparing to burst in on the torture room, the mix wasn't what I am used to hearing and that some rather interesting string work is more sublimated. I won't be selling off my fantastic 2-CD soundtrack any time in the future, I can tell you, but there is more than enough totally exhilarating music in this isolated score to make folks VERY, VERY happy!
I noted for the first time in all my many viewings of the film that the photography is quite special -- master cinematographer Leon Shamroy did some incredible work during his career, but most folks know him as the man behind those special filters for "South Pacific". His work on many films, including "Cleopatra", is exquisite. Here, working with a brand new medium, you can see the extraordinary efforts Shamroy went to in order to "properly light" his shots, especially those where the only light sources were oil lamps or torches.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Richard Burton is THE reason to see this movie. The color is beautiful also. That's about it. It's a typical 1950's BIG picture with too much sappy "love" story and much... Read morePublished 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
This movie and Demetrius the Gladiator are a great pair of movies, almost as good as Ben Hur. Highly recommend them.Published 26 days ago by Disciple of Christ
Best movie ever!!! Loved it! Wonderful Score and beautiful but sad ending. I love Jean Simmons and Richard Burton in this film. I loved the crazy King too. Read morePublished 27 days ago by missnice104
I share this movie at the end of my Rome unit with my 6ht graders. A great end to our unit!Published 1 month ago by Michelle Reitmeyer