The Robe

(Click the links above for sound samples)

1953 film, The Robe was considered an epic of it's time. Filmed, for the first time ever in Cinemascope, audiences flocked to see "the modern miracle with no special glasses needed!"
The film itself centers around Marcellus Gallio, a Roman tribune who witnesses the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and wins his' robe. After several nightmares a severely convicted Marcellus returns to Palestine only to learn of Christ's Resurrection. It ultimately leads him from a small village, where Christ commonly visited, to Roman catacombs which hide the persecuted. The story is infused with intricate characters including the serious Pontius Pilate, headstrong Christian, Diana, and rebellious slave-turned Christian, Demetrius.
The story suffers from the usual Hollywood fare of historical inaccuracies, but brings the message of Christ's redemptive power home.
The soundtrack, composed by Alfred Newman is very similar to a film he would later score called, The Greatest Story Ever Told. One different factor is the powerful and somewhat complex theme for Diana. (Found in the cues, The Slave Market, The Map of Jerusalem, and Capri.) It's a real heart-rending theme.
Some of the choral cues are classic Newman while others stand out distinctively. The cue, The Ressurection, is a poignant song about Christ's Resurrection performed by Carol Richards backed up with a single harp. Her voice is definitely 1950's style and may sound dated, but regardless, the song still rings true. One of the last choral cues titled,  Finale/Hallelujah includes the choir repeating "Hallelujah". (Sound familiar?) while other powerful choral tracks include wordless vocals (Marcellus' Redemption, The Crucifixion, and several others).
Some of the action cues are typical clashing orchestra, Newman style (Demetrius Rescue,The Catcombs, etc.), while in one particular cue, The Chase, a piano is heavily played (or maybe pounded), upon. It's an intensely fun cue!
The score, altogether, is another Newman masterpiece to add to the biblical epics genre and given the cinematic scope of the film (Cinemascope, get it? Yeah, pun intended!), Alfred Newman was a perfect choice to score brilliant film, The Robe.

Rating: ****

2 Comments:

  1. Alicia Willis said...
    Strangely, I have mixed feelings about the score of The Robe. I love many of the cues, but the "spiritual" ones seem a little corny or too heavenly or something! But, then, that goes for the dialogue it accompanies. The action scenes/scores are my favorite! :)
    Joshua Hoppman said...
    It's the "1950's style" I had mentioned. The vocals are all really petite female sounding. :) You have to get used to it. Old Movies/Soundtracks used cliche elements before they were overused and considered "cliche."

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