Demetrius and the Gladiators

  • Reviewed by: Barrie Maxwell
  • Review Date: Jun 11, 2012
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Director

Delmer Daves

Release Date(s)

1954 (July 14, 2012)

Studio(s)

20th Century Fox (Twilight Time)

Review

Demetrius and the Gladiators, released in 1954 by Fox, was a sequel to the company's initial CinemaScope production, The Robe. The plot continues to revolve around Christ's red robe, with Demetrius (Victor Mature), the freed slave from The Robe, entrusted with it at times.

It's an article that Roman Emperor Caligula (Jay Robinson in fine scene-chewing form) is also urgently seeking and what he views as something with virtually magic powers. Demetrius finds himself enrolled in a gladiatorial school, which introduces a sub-plot of the school owner's wife Messalina, played by Susan Hayward. For my taste, Demetrius and the Gladiators is a slightly more entertaining film than The Robe mainly due to the well-staged gladiatorial contests. The film is now available to us on Blu-ray, courtesy of Twilight Time and its arrangement with Fox. The 2.35:1 image doesn't deliver one of the better sharp HD experiences, particularly in more distant shots. This is apparently due to the variable quality of Fox's original elements and the lack of a The Robe-style restoration from which Twilight could work. Colour vibrancy is a mix of good and less-so during the course of the film. If the video is somewhat lacking, The 4.0 DTS-HD Master Audio audio is much less so a problem. There are some very nice dialogue directional effects and some subtle ambient surround evident. There are no English subtitles. The score by Franz Waxman sounds luminous throughout. The disc's supplements include the theatrical trailer and a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio isolated score track. I'd try a rental on this one.

- Barrie Maxwell

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