Ernest Thesiger

Ernest Thesiger

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The Robe Review


Weak
The Biblical epic is one of the most tired of Hollywood genres. Instead of taking the Good Book for all its fire and brimstone brazenness, concentrating on all the death, sex, and betrayal involved, Hollywood goes strictly for the houses of the holy. Within the vacuous walls of this sanctimonious, self-righteous abode are enough high-minded false prophecies to make even the most dedicated Messiah balk. A good example of this is 1953's The Robe. Based on a best-selling novel by Lloyd C. Douglas, this oversized spectacle is noted as being the first film ever released in the fledgling Cinemascope format. It's also a highly cheesy bit of faith-based falderal that still manages to manipulate the audience into appreciating its preaching.

When he angers Caligula (Jay Robinson) by buying Demetrius (Victor Mature), a slave he had wanted, military officer Marcellus Gallio (Richard Burton) is exiled to Jerusalem. There, he encounters talk of a new 'messiah' named Jesus. When Pilate condemns this well-meaning man, Marcellus is placed in charge of the crucifixion. After the deed, he wins Christ's robe in a dice game. A strange event involving the garment shakes Marcellus to his core, causing Demetrius to steal it and disappear. Returning to Rome, Marcellus is charged by Emperor Tiberius (Ernest Thesiger) to retrieve the shroud and destroy it. Starting his search in Galilee, our hero begins to learn the teachings of Jesus. After coming in contact with former disciple Peter (Michael Rennie), Marcellus repents and returns to Rome to spread the word and win back his former flame Diana (Jean Simmons). Naturally, he too is condemned.

Continue reading: The Robe Review

Bride Of Frankenstein Review


Extraordinary
A horror mega-classic. The sequel to the original Frankenstein is both the basis for Young Frankenstein and the film around which Gods and Monsters revolves. James Whale's film comes off as original and fresh -- and despite a few draggy scenes it's genuinely thrilling and often scary, 70 years after it was made. Filled with classic moments ("She's alive! Alive!", the hair streaks in the Bride (an uncredited Elsa Lanchester), the famous meeting between the haggard monster and the blind man, and the "gods and monsters" speech), this film is fresh and still looks great, thanks to some fabulous technical work behind the scenes. Altogether it's a true achievement. Highly recommended.

Bride Of Frankenstein Review


Extraordinary
A horror mega-classic. The sequel to the original Frankenstein is both the basis for Young Frankenstein and the film around which Gods and Monsters revolves. James Whale's film comes off as original and fresh -- and despite a few draggy scenes it's genuinely thrilling and often scary, 70 years after it was made. Filled with classic moments ("She's alive! Alive!", the hair streaks in the Bride (an uncredited Elsa Lanchester), the famous meeting between the haggard monster and the blind man, and the "gods and monsters" speech), this film is fresh and still looks great, thanks to some fabulous technical work behind the scenes. Altogether it's a true achievement. Highly recommended.

The Man In The White Suit Review


Good
Cute and a little too pat, The Man in the White Suit offers Alec Guinness trapped in an undercooked story with so much wasted potential. Guinness plays Sidney Stratton, a textile researcher who -- after years of effort -- develops a miracle fabric that doesn't wear out or get dirty. Rather than find himself the company hero, he's immediately the subject of various lynch mobs: The company doesn't want such a fabric because they won't be able to sell new clothes every year, and neither do the workers, who know they'll soon be out of a job. Even the cleaning ladies are pissed. Funny stuff, but that's about the end of it. Ultimately you feel it could have gone miles further.
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