Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954) 1080p

Movie Poster
Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954) 1080p - Movie Poster
Action | Drama
Frame Rate:
23.976 (23976/1000) fps
Run Time:
101 min
IMDB Rating:
6.6 / 10 
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Directors: Delmer Daves [Director] ,

Movie Description:
The story picks up at the point where " (1953)" ends, following the martyrdom of Diana and Marcellus. Christ's robe is conveyed to Peter for safe-keeping, but the emperor Caligula wants it back to benefit from its powers. Marcellus' former slave Demetrius seeks to prevent this, and catches the eye of Messalina, wife to Caligula's uncle Claudius. Messalina tempts Demetrius, he winds up fighting in the arena, and wavers in his faith.


  • Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954) 1080p - Movie Scene 1
  • Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954) 1080p - Movie Scene 2
  • Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954) 1080p - Movie Scene 1

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When the sequel is better than the initial movie.

This film was a sequel to "The Robe" and was immediately shot after the end of this film, retaining the cast, crew and sets. However, they present us a better script: it's still necessary to make an effort to believe in all the story, but it's credibility has generally improved. One of the most unbelievable moments its when Caligula orders to confiscate Jesus tunic believing that it could confer some power to him, when he saw himself as a god. But these far-fetched moments are punctual. The absence of Richard Burton, which I didn't like to see in the first film due to his bad acting, was another improvement, allowing Demetrius to come out and be the center of our attention. His course throughout the film will be an efficient and effective test of faith. These character was played by Victor Mature, who gives us a very good work. Michael Rennie had little time to show his talent but never seemed quite alright in the role of St. Peter while, on the other hand, Susan Hayward was perfect in the role of the Machiavellian and treacherous Messalina. Jay Robinson retained the role of Caligula, who performed with quality and panache but no big surprises. Debra Paget played a minor role, as a love interest for Demetrius, but what she did was well done. Much more interesting was William Marshall, who gave life to an African gladiator who is converted to Christianity by the example of his companion in the arena. Sets and costumes result from the recycling of material used in "The Robe", so there are no surprises or improvements. These material, however, is considerably better, more convincing and historically accurate than what we can see in some much more famous and successful biblical films of this period.

So, far from being a rehab for "The Robe", this movie seems to have learned from the mistakes of that film, being better and more enjoyable in almost every aspect. However, perfection or artistry is still far from being achieved.

Quite enjoyable.

I am not a huge fan of the religious epics of the 1950s. For every good one, such as "Ben Hur", there seemed to be two turkeys--such as "David and Bathsheba" or "Samson and Delilah". Because of that, I have avoided watching "Demetrius and the Gladiators" for many years. However, after completing the task, I am surprised that I actually enjoyed the film very much.

When Twentieth Century-Fox filmed "The Robe", they already knew that it would be followed up by "Demetrius and the Gladiators". In fact, the movies were filmed like one huge film and then separated into two as the studio was THAT confident that "The Robe" would be a big hit--which it was. And, for that matter, so was its sequel. Fortunately, you can watch either without watching the other.

The film begins with a clip from the previous film--just before the two main characters (Richard Burton and Jean Simmons) were executed. Soon you learn that the Apostle Peter and his followers (including Demetrius--Victor Mature) are the keepers of the robe that Jesus wore to the cross. Oddly, however, the Emperor Caligula is very fascinated by the robe and insists he must have it. When Demetrius tries to hide it, he's sentenced by this loony emperor to become a gladiator--a sure death since Demetrius has vowed never to fight now that he's become a Christian. However, the lure sexy Messalina (Susan Hayward) and his own desire to live make it difficult, if not impossible, to fulfill this oath. What's next? See for yourself.

There's no doubt about it--this film is a spectacle. It has huge scenes, huge gladiatorial fights and lots of beautiful sets and costumes. While it's not a fantastic film, the action is there and the film is fascinating. Part of this is due to the supporting performances. William Marshall shows what a wonderfully unsung actor he was. Had he been born later, his wonderful voice and acting skills would have made him a top star--something not possible for a black actor during this age. Additionally, while Jay Robinson's version of Caligula is not in the least bit subtle, it IS very entertaining and fun to watch. All in all, a decent film that is far better than I'd suspected.

UPDATE: Since this review, I've finally seen the precursor, "The Robe", and was surprised just how bad it was compared to "Demetrius and the Gladiators. It's an odd example of a film whose sequel was better--much better.
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