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The Apocalypse

One does not know, under the reign of Domitian, it being impossible to behave as it is one’s obligation to behave qua Christian, what it is one is to do. The escape and suffering are displayed, and in the midst of this John receives the vision of the heavenly triumph.

Instantly he tells young Valerius, “Do not be afraid of the truth, if you don’t want to remain a slave.” Valerius comes back with these words: “The truth could kill you!” To which John serenely replies with cheerfulness, “The truth will free you!”

Richard Harris as John is quite plain and straightforward. He sees the sun rise in a moment over the sea (when none else does) and prostrates himself at the revelation. A secure rendition of the biblical persona is his aim, and it never fails. “God will always win, friends. His victory over evil is a root of our faith.”

Mertes is magnificent in the stinking Roman prison and the sunny Roman seaport. He patently treats computer animations la DeMille, introducing the Apocalypse in stages by visual shorthand.

John’s adjuration to Valerius nerves the youth to reveal himself a Christian to the Roman authorities. This exactly coincides with the news of Domitian’s passing and the accession of Nerva, who halts these persecutions. In a nicely Shakespearean turn, Valerius also declares his love to Irene.