During the voyage back, Marcellus suffers nightmares. At a meeting with Tiberius, it is determined Marcellus is bewitched and must destroy the robe. His search takes him to Galilee where he poses as a merchant. He hears the apostle Peter is coming and is in the company of a Greek, who Marcellus rightly assumes is Demetrius. When Marcellus encounters Demetrius, he is unable to destroy Christ’s robe. After speaking with Peter, who admits he denied Christ three times, Marcellus converts and joins in the mission to spread His word.
As they make their way to Rome, Demetrius is captured and tortured to find Marcellus’ whereabouts. Marcellus and his fellow Christians break Demetrius out. Marcellus’ new faith causes him to be renounced by his father, a Roman senator. With options limited and history not being on the Christians side in Rome, it’s not difficult to see the outcome when Caligula puts Marcellus on trial as a traitor and demands he renounce Christ.
The Robe’s debut on Blu-ray is one of the most uneven video transfers I have ever seen. In an introduction by Martin Scorsese he talks about the film being restored; however, the video switches often from radiant rich colors and sharply delineated details that well recreate the opulent pageantry of Rome to faded colors and blurry images that look like old deteriorated movies shown on UHF channels.
The worst example of this is during fades. Understandably the frames that shared both black and the film images might not be able to be corrected with current technology, but a few moments before and after each transition it literally looks like a filter is turned on and off. There’s no denying the images are dazzling in the parts that work, but the parts that don’t are terrible.
Director Henry Koster blocked the scenes to take full advantage of the widescreen format, presented here in 2.55:1. Yet, some elements lose focus when they move to the foreground. This happens to Marcellus when first goes home and talks with his parents and when Demetrius is attending Marcellus in the bathing pool area. Another problem is that the high definition ruins the illusion of the matte paintings.
Much like the video presentation, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is also plagued with the misfortune of the technology excelling in some areas while failing in others. This Blu-ray is one of the best examples of the surround system placing characters in space. When a character speaks on the left side of the frame, he is heard only from the front left with support from the left surround and slightly the front middle. Where the technology fails the film is during the scenes, like large outdoor sequences, where the dialogue was later replaced in a recording studio because it sounds very hollow and flat with no ambiance added.