The Robe (1953)

easter movieAlternate title: The Really Awesome Easter Movie With The Old Guy From White Christmas And An Actress With The Same Name As A Famous Bass Guitarist But Who’s Much Better Looking And Doesn’t Resemble Satan

 

At the age of 52, an American minister named Lloyd C. Douglas decided to leave the ministry and focus on his literary career. His work became very popular and he started receiving hundreds of fan letters (just like I do… if by “fan letters” we’re talking about “promotional emails from Famous Footwear”).

One of these letters was from a woman named Hazel McCann, who worked as a clerk in a department store and asked Douglas what he thought had happened to Christ’s clothes following His crucifixion. In 1942 Douglas published a novel called The Robe and dedicated it to Hazel McCann.

The Robe became one of the best-selling books of the 1940s and eventually Twentieth Century Fox got a hold of the rights and made it into a very successful movie that also happens to be one of my top 10 favorite films of all time. (Disclaimer: I don’t actually have a list, I just flippantly tell people that if I really like a movie.)

The producers had so much confidence in this project that a sequel called Demetrius and the Gladiators was commissioned before The Robe was even released, because, after all, what is a biblical epic film without a good sequel? Answer: Very normal, because The Robe is actually the only biblical epic that has a sequel.

It was the first movie in history to be released in CinemaScope and stars Richard Burton (Where Eagles Dare), Victor Mature (Samson and Delilah), Dean Jagger (White Christmas), and Jean Simmons, who isn’t Gene Simmons.

OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: If I’m ever captured by Romans like Demetrius, I hope I’m issued the same onesie uniform with the manly mini-skirt and the plunging V-neck that plummets unabashedly toward the navel.

roman soldiers the robeWhile the story itself is fictional, The Robe is based on a very important reality: If the Roman soldiers who crucified the Son of God Himself can be forgiven, surely we can too.

No matter who we are, no matter what we’ve done, no matter how ashamed, embarrassed, or guilty we feel, there are no lost causes in the eyes of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

But this opportunity to receive forgiveness through Christ’s Atonement means absolutely nothing if we refuse to repent or alter our daily conduct to be in harmony with the commandments He has already given us. In the words of D. Todd Christofferson:

“It is the requirement of and the opportunity for repentance that permits mercy to perform its labor without trampling justice. Christ died not to save indiscriminately but to offer repentance.”

As we accept Christ’s sacrifice through faith, repentance, and entering into sacred promises with Him through ordinances like baptism, we will not only receive the peace and happiness that accompanies divine forgiveness, but we will come to know Him through the Comforter He promised to send us.

It is by the witness of that Comforter, the power of the Holy Ghost, that I know Jesus Christ lives. And because He lives, we too will live again.

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” — Luke 23:34

 

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