History is Bunk
Daisy Brambletoes | the Shire | 01/15/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Call it "The Robe II". It's a pretty good story, actually, this sequel to "The Robe". As
entertainment, it has plenty to offer. As history, however, it falls flat on its face.
Caligula is played by the most outrageous ham I have ever seen. The only real accuracy of his story of Caligula is that he was assassinated by one of his own guards. Caligula also wasn't the slightest bit concerned with Christians or Jews, and in real life largely ignored them. There is no mention, of course, of the almost terminal brain fever he had that made him go mad and think himself to be a god.
Caligula's successor, Claudius, played here as a fine old Roman gentleman who wished the Christians well at the end, in fact found them and the Jews both to be a bother, and showed them the doors of Rome at every opportunity. (Please note: with the exception of one politically motivated action of Nero, real persecution of Christians did not occur until much later, under the Emperor Diocletian) And let's not forget the Empress Messalina, probably the most notorious loose woman in Roman history, resolving at the end to be a good wife from now on. Sorr-eeeee.
These things really annoy me, but then - hey, I'm a history buff. Despite these little problems, it is still a good movie, and Victor Mature is perfect as the toughened gladiator. In fact, the gladiator school sequences were very well done, and Ernest Borgnine was wonderful as hardened old Stabo, the trainer. It's a classic and still a favorite."