King of Kings (1961)

As soon as King of Kings began, I felt my heart race and my left arm go numb when the narrator (Orson Welles) intoned that the year is 63 B.C. Maybe I don’t know a whole lot about this religious stuff, but I was smart enough to notice that we were starting things way before Jesus was ever immaculately conceived, let alone bugging Romans. I wondered just how much pre-game hype I was going to have to sit through. After all, I was paying to see a film about Christ and his times, not about how crappy everyone had it until he showed up. Continue reading “King of Kings (1961)”

Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)

Nine months after Richard Burton was harassed into becoming a Christian by a red beach towel in The Robe, Hollywood decided it was time for a sequel. Since this whole Christian thing worked out so well for Burton and co-star Jean Simmons (you might recall they ended up on the wrong end of the archery field at the end of The Robe), it was left to Victor Mature to run around squawking about this robe and how it can just butt out of his life when things get rough.

Everyone’s favorite character in this movie (well, aside from the robe – it’s kind of hard to be a real Christian and not pick the robe) is Strabo, the tough but lovable guy that runs the gladiator school and played by Ernest Borgnine. Continue reading “Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)”

The Robe (1953)

TheRobeDVDCoverRichard Burton’s Marcellus Gallio is a tribune in the Roman army and we meet him as he hangs out in a town marketplace. He peruses the slaves, fights with his girlfriend, and meets up with a gal from his youth. Since she is played by Jean Simmons (The Big Country and Elmer Gantry) his fight with the girlfriend understandably doesn’t seem as important as it once did. If I thought for one second that anyone from my childhood ended up looking like Jean Simmons instead of Gene Simmons, I’d probably be booking my hotel room for my high school reunion now instead of planning on egging my English teacher’s car that night. Continue reading “The Robe (1953)”