National Geographic : 1954 Jun
766 In "The Robe," the Mad Emperor Caligula Again Walks the Streets of Ancient Rome Hollywood takes infinite pains for accuracy. In this first Cinemascope picture "ancient" lamps burned real olive oil, and Christ's robe was hand-woven and dyed with boiled walnut hulls as in His time. For such detail Twentieth Century-Fox relied heavily on paintings of Roman life in the National Geographic Society's book, Everyday Life in Ancient Times. "They were our greatest single source for material on costumes, sets, and customs," a studio representative said. In this scene the smirking Caligula, soon to become Caesar, bears the royal scepter as he follows a turbaned auctioneer to the slave market, where he will bid on twin maidens. Men in right foreground hold microphones. Background buildings are wood or plaster, covered with cloth painted to simulate brick and stone. In March the film won Motion Picture Academy awards for the color movie with best sets, costumes, and art direction.