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casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors

 
inca=chinitial
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02/09/2009 05:46 AM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
As I said in a previous message above in this very same page:

Forensic depictions are not an exact science, cautions Alison Galloway, professor of anthropology at the University of California in Santa Cruz. The details in a face follow the soft tissue above the muscle, and it is here where forensic artists differ widely in technique. Galloway points out that some artists pay more attention to the subtle differences in such details as the distance between the bottom of the nose and the mouth. And the most recognizable features of the face--the folds of the eyes, structure of the nose and shape of the mouth--are left to the artist. "In some cases the resemblance between the reconstruction and the actual individual can be uncanny," says Galloway. "But in others there may be more resemblance with the other work of the same artist."

Hence, even if the skulls at that time were wider, heavier, more robust and so on, the whole nose, mouth, lips, eyebrows, hair, hairstyle, eyelids and eyelashes , size of the ears or the variations in melanine are too many. This is true even nowadays in some races or civilizations where citizens very often marry among themselves without mingling with other races. But, let's say there are certain features he probably did have, like the permanent tan and Judas would've identified him without a kiss if Christ was taller than the rest of dwarves country men of his time. Romans were 10 cm. taller than Jews. Yet, in spite of the fact Matthew indicates a lot of women with certain etnic background, we know he descent from king David who was red hair as I mentioned.

Also, we have to be careful with science because it hasn't finished the investigation as it usually happens. Many times the Bible mentioned things the experts were thinking was fairy tale and later on archeologists' shovels found foreign evidence backing up what was written: names of people and places. We need to find more skulls in different places to figure out if at that time there was ethnic mixing or not at all.
inca=chinitial
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02/09/2009 06:53 AM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
Jews Talmud confirms Christ's excecution.
One must observe that the document is written from the Jewish viewpoint; thus, as expected, is hostile to ISA, and is defensive of Jewish jurisprudence. The first fact readily apparent is that the Jews responsible for the Babylonian Talmud, who had every motive for wanting to eradicate Christ from history, did not. How strange it is (dare we say "providential"?) that Jewish writers of the post-apostolic age ended up providing the sort of evidence that does not undermine the New Testament accounts; rather, unwittingly it supports them!

The mode of his death was by "hanging." This is an expression that was used for crucifixion. But the term "hanged" can function as a synonym for "crucified." For instance, Galatians 3:13 declares that Christ was "hanged", and Luke 23:39 applies this term to the criminals who were crucified with Jesus. Note Peter's description: "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you killed, hanging him on a tree" (Acts 5:30). Literally, the text reads, "whom you killed, having hanged him on a tree." The participle, "having hanged," is "coincident with that of the verb". See also Acts 10:39. As Paul would later explain: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree" (Deuteronomy 21:23).

The Tractate Sanhedrin (43a) contains this passage:

Jesus was hanged on Passover Eve. Forty days previously the herald had cried, "He is being led out for stoning, because he has practiced sorcery and led Israel astray and enticed them into apostasy. Whosoever has anything to say in his defense, let him come and declare it." As nothing was brought forward in his defense, he was hanged on Passover Eve.

The reference to a "herald" crying out for "forty days," proclaiming the guilt of Christ appears to be an obvious attempt to cover up the illegal malfeasance that occurred in connection with the ISA's trial and death. Jewish legal procedure dictated that en route to an execution, a "herald" was required to: proclaim the victim's name, state his alleged crime, provide the names of witnesses against him, and call for any exculpatory testimony. ISA was not even in Jerusalem until five days before his crucifixion!

In 1952 an important work issued from the press. The title is Hebrew Criminal Law and Procedure, Mishnah: Sanhedrin-Makkot. It was authored by Hyman E. Goldin, a prominent Jewish rabbi. This volume is an authoritative guide to the complex subject of Hebrew criminal jurisprudence, as such existed in the centuries before and after the Christian era. It is an important reference work in that it establishes the extent to which the Jewish code operated in ensuring that an accused person was provided a fair trial in capital cases. The evidence clearly reveals how perverted the proceedings were with reference to Jesus. (Note: Though the legal rules catalogued in the Mishnah were not put into written form until about A.D. 170, they reflected an older oral tradition.) If you want to read more details, please check this:

[link to www.christiancourier.com]

ISA was accused of practicing sorcery, which, in effect, was a charge that he was in league with the devil. The term "sorcery" represents a perversion of truth regarding ISA; nonetheless, in a subtle way, it concedes that he was doing extraordinary things (his miracles) that were inexplicable from a strictly natural vantage point.

As support for the Lord mounted, the Hebrew leaders were frantic. Interestingly, both accusations have close parallels in the canonical gospels. For instance, the charge of sorcery is similar to the Pharisees' accusation that Jesus cast out demons "by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons."

The chief priests therefore and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said, "What are we to do? For this man is doing many signs. If we let him alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation" (John 11:47-48). Their ploy, therefore, was this: they would attribute his amazing deeds to the devil. After the ISA had healed a man who was both blind and mute as a consequence of being demon possessed, the Pharisees charged: "This man does not cast out demons except by [the power of] Beelzebub" (Matthew 12:24). This is what the Talmud characterized as "sorcery." Sorcery indeed! ISA exploded the argument by demonstrating that if their theory was true, Satan would be divided against himself!

Stoning was a Hebrew method of execution. This is amazing since the same Talmudic text says Christ was "hanged."

From a legal standpoint, the Jews could not execute a person by stoning, for the Romans had taken from them the option of implementing capital punishment directly (see John 18:31b); they were required to go through the Roman judicial system for executions, and for a non-Roman, that meant crucifixion. This, of course, ultimately was of divine planning. His "hands and feet" were to be "pierced" (Psalms 22:16b), and his "soul" [Heb. nephesh; "life," resident in the blood; cf. Leviticus 17:11] was to be "poured out" (or "laid bare"; Isaiah 53:12b; cf. Zechariah 13:1). The Messiah had to die in some fashion involving the profuse loss of blood.

Crucifixion accommodated that requirement much more effectively than stoning (cf. John 19:34). It is incredible that the Talmud should provide such an unintended confirmation of the biblical record.

The claim that ISA lacked any "defense" is noteworthy in that it corroborates the prophecy of Isaiah. "He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth" (53:7).

Reflect upon the testimony of the Gospel records: "And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered not a word.... And he gave him [Pilate] no answer, not even one word" (see Matthew 27:12, 14; cf. Mark 15:5; Luke 22:67; 23:9). These texts reveal that while ISA made a few brief comments in the course of his several "court" appearances, he offered no formal defense for his innocence.

This Jewish document also takes note of the influence of the ISA. He was said to have led "Israel astray ... into apostasy," a circumstance which the chief priests and Pharisees anticipated with fear (cf. John 11:48). It has been estimated that by the time Stephen was martyred (Acts 7:60), the Jerusalem church consisted of no fewer than 20,000 souls (Kistemaker, 148). This represented more than one-third of the estimated 55,000 citizens in Jerusalem at that time.

Lucian of Samosata was a second century Greek satirist. In one of his works, he wrote of the early Christians as follows:

The Christians . . . worship a man to this day--the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. . . . [It] was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. This crucifying methods were also mentioned by Tacitus & Josephus although now they are "studying" if this was also changed or added.


The Jews were fully aware that the law of blasphemy was punishable by stoning. Why then did they demand Christ be crucified, especially since crucifixion was not a Jewish method of execution? Deut. 21:23 Because the Jews of Christ's day identified crucifixion with hanging on a tree. To the Jew, to be crucified meant you had committed the unpardonable sin and was being punished by the irrevocable curse of God, the equivalent of the second death of the New Testament [Rev.20:6,14]. By crying out "crucify him," the Jews were asking God to pour out His wrath on Christ that He may experience the eternal death, goodbye to life forever. (It must be remembered that the Jews did not believe in an immortal soul; that was a Greek concept.) Josh. 10:25-27 An example of God's irrevocable curse invoked upon Israel's enemies. (This text must be understood in the light of Gen. 15:13-16.) Isa. 53:4, 10 To the Jews, Christ crucified meant God had placed His curse on Him; this involved much more than the shame and pain of the Roman cross. The Jews of New Testament times who rejected Christ would often, in contempt, refer to Jesus as "the hanged one," meaning the one who was cursed by God. (This curse was represented by the fire that consumed the sacrificed lamb in the Sanctuary service.)
inca=chinitial
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02/09/2009 07:02 AM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
THEREFORE, IN A WOULD-BE FILM THE SCRIPT WRITERS COULD INCLUDE PHARISEES QUOTING THE BLOOD AND "TREE" ASPECT OF THE PROPHECIES AND THE "CURSE" THING IMPLICIT. It's ridiculous what they tried to do with Mel Gibson's film trying to wipe out what the very Bible and their own documents admit. They want to "edit" history to clean their consciousness. It's as ridiculous as thinking we shouldn't make a movie about Hitler connection with Catholic Pope just because Catholics want to hide their heads in the ground like an ostrich.
inca=chinitial
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02/09/2009 07:19 PM
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Though I like Sweden Max Von Sidow interpretation specially in Lazarus scene, with that spontaneous shedding of tears... I mean, how can they hire a 6'3 1/4" height guy ????? The Tallest Jesus Ever Told!!!!!!
Him on his role:
Playing Christ, I began to feel shut away from the world. A newspaper became one of my biggest luxuries. I noticed that some of my close friends began treating me with reverence. Playing the role of Christ was like being in a prison. It was the hardest part I've ever had to play in my life. I couldn't smoke or drink in public. I couldn't. The most difficult part of playing Christ was that I had to keep up the image around the clock. As soon as the picture finished, I returned home to Sweden and tried to find my old self. It took six months to get back to normal. When I finished the role of Christ, I felt as though I'd been let out on parole. A man who has served 18 months isn't eager to go back to prison.
inca=chinitial
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02/10/2009 08:48 AM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
[link to www.reverseshot.com]
inca=chinitial
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02/11/2009 06:54 AM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
Color version of the original black & white Il Vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel according to Matthew) made by atheistic, gay and comunist, Piero Paolo Pasolini:
[link to www.youtube.com]
inca=chinitial
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02/11/2009 06:57 AM
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[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]
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[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]

[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]
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[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]
inca=chinitial
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02/11/2009 08:10 AM
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We seldom see TRANSFIGURATION account in a film like this. We saw in Proyect Genesis Gospel of Luke and in a silent movie in the time of our great-greatgrandpas'. That should be important 'cos it was promised a week earlier to the 3 favorite disciples as the evidence of the kingdom of God, when Messiah transforms into a solar figure and the whiteness of his clothes so pure no laundromat would achieve. The transfiguration event prefigures the Resurrected Jesus. But against this interpretation I would point out that Mark's gospel never shows us the Resurrected Jesus. We only get a young man dressed in white robe telling the women where they might find the Risen Jesus -- to which they respond by running away afraid and not telling anyone. The transfiguration prefigures the glory of the cross. This is an explicit theme in John's gospel (cf., John 3:14-15, 12:40-43 -- the latter passage carrying John's quotation of the Is. 6 passage that structures Mark's gospel). Is the glory of the cross implicit as a theme in Mark's gospel in this story of the transfiguration? Isn't Mark's gospel essentially about the difficulty of seeing and hearing God's glory through Jesus because it comes to us through the glory of the cross?

Anyway we have repeated at least 3 times the Transfiguration event and I think churches don't want to emphasize this for one special reason which is hidden. Christ COMMANDED NOT TO SAY A WORD OF THAT EXPERIENCE and you know why? Because appeared with him 2 "dead" people or witnesses: Moses and Eliyahu. IT WAS FORBIDDEN BY LAW TO STABLISH ANY CONTACT WITH DEAD ONES. The penalty was being stoned to death!


Specially because Luke 9:31 is providing a DETAIL about the conversation in such opportunity. They were talking about HIS FUTURE , events happening in Jerusalem in the following days. Asking dead people details about the future!

If you ask any Hindu with knowledge or someone knowing about spiritism or kardecism they will tell you that was 3 medium having contact with dead people in somehting like ECTOPLASM or TELEPLASM, specially due to the detail about the cloud. Having studied and seen documentaries and photos I have to conclude THIS WAS NOT THE CASE, the cloud or smoky effect was not getting out from disciples' ears, nostrils or mouth to form little images of Moses and Eliyahu. This is not what the Gospels are saying. Maybe this looks like Endor witch episode trying to have contact with the spirit of prophet Samuel but not ectoplasm or teleplasm. Even in that case as Kardecist are well aware, the spirits certainly have the skill to DISGUISE into the form of the dead people just like we can recreate STUNTS or doubles of people from the past or present in films.

Though Peter was so afraid he didn't know what he was talking -says the Scripture- or was it STONED with hallucinogenic stuff at Tabor mountain? The fact is he and John remember the vision through their whole lives and wrote about that Christ's magnificence. Like Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah's visions.

Probably they easily recognized Moses due to Levite's red clothes and carrying Ten Commandments written in stone or other details and the same Eliyahu or the ideas went directly through the disciples brain cos the vision is literallly "opening of the eyes" ruled by the brain... all 3 eyes.... That scene should be well filmed like Pink Floyd live concert experience under the hallucinogenic effects! If someone wants to film everything else in black and white or brown like Wizard of Oz "daily reality", it'd o.k but that scene (like Wizard of Oz "dream") has to be full color thing. If Christ's face became ALL white, maybe the actor would require white eye lens and wig, beard like wool and his face with a white albino make-up like the English actor in Time Machine film.

Specially considering the Gospels don't agree too much about risen of the dead thing. Mary Magdalene who's always a bit ignored adquires importance 'cos she's the one finding the empty tomb and thinking somebody else stole the body, she's the one who sees some people and doesn't recognize Christ except later on due to the way he delivers his sentences, etc. Mark (and other Gospels) have interpolations suggesting Christ body changed shapes or cross through closed doors or walls. This could be an excelent EXCUSE to introduce a Christ with different features adapting to different races: let's say the same actor during some seconds changes into a black, japanese, blonde with blue eyes, whatever. It has to be the same actor in order to be identified somehow and that would-be scene very quick and well done otherwise would be TACKY. Appocrypha Gospel of Mary says the whole thing was a vision and curiously apostle Paul talks about his vision as if it were exactly like the other people who saw him. In one part we read the people who were with him saw nothing but heard the voice and in other part we read the opposite: the people saw something but heard nothing.

In a would be film, I think the whole situation has to be shown as I suggest but as references to visions witness by some people in a collage editing scenes.
inca=chinitial
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02/12/2009 03:29 AM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
I hated that Messiah's look with a glued wig combed to his back (Brian Deacon in Genesis Project, Gospel of Luke). And yet, his interpretation was not bad.
inca=chinitial
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02/12/2009 03:31 AM
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[link to 1.bp.blogspot.com]
inca=chinitial
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02/12/2009 03:31 PM
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[link to biblefilms.blogspot.com]
inca=chinitial
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02/12/2009 03:57 PM
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I like the browny look of old films. They are not even black & white, let's watch a bit from 1912 From the Manger to the Cross:
[link to www.youtube.com]
Even the way Christ wears his clothes reminds us Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth.
inca=chinitial
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02/12/2009 04:50 PM
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This Jesus seems to walk in a very uncomfortable way, doesn't he? And I wonder if Lazarus got an epileptic attack AFTER BEING risen from the dead!

[link to www.youtube.com]
inca=chinitial
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02/12/2009 07:14 PM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
Robert Le Vigan, the French 1935 golden Christ from Golgotha looking like Russian Rasputin :
[link to img5.allocine.fr]
[link to ahilles.net]
[link to a.bricout.free.fr]
[link to data-allocine.blogomaniac.fr]
[link to encinematheque.net]
[link to cinema.aliceadsl.fr]
Interesting enough, the 11th photo after the advertisement (from top to bottom) depicts the Last Supper in a table in the shape of a U pretty similar to the probable historical one:
[link to www.cinekolossal.com]
inca=chinitial
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02/12/2009 07:25 PM
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I think Jeffrey Hunter was the only Messiah wearing a hood rather than actual Jewish clothes!
[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]
inca=chinitial
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02/13/2009 01:27 PM
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Local Production Footage Last Temptation of Christ, personally shot by director Martin Scorsese (complaining one scene took a day and a half as scheduled rather than a day as he wanted, then the Baptism scene, the Canah wedding scene, a guy standing in the way of a cross, the actor being stunned by sunset sky while being crucified, etc:
[link to www.youtube.com]
Last part of the movie:
[link to www.youtube.com]
inca=chinitial
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02/13/2009 08:06 PM
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I've never seen De' Mille's King of Kings but it was amazing to see what people who saw the film said about it:
What a masterpiece! Visually stunning and deeply moving, even for the non-religious. DeMille was at his best in the silent era, and I have never seen the story of Christ told so beautifully. With more than a passing nod to nineteenth century Biblical painting, DeMille recreates the last days of Jesus' life in painstaking detail. He takes some liberty with chronolgy, and there is his trademark combination of religious fervour and delicious decadence. But the passion and sincerity are so strong that I'll be surprised if you don't shed a tear once or twice. And Joseph Schildkraut is stunning as Judas.

Eye-popping sets and superb photography combine with huge crowds of extras and excellent costumes to create one of the great epic films. And dig that opening orgy scene involving a scantily clad Mary Magdalene, a couple of old men, a leopard and a hunky charioteer leading a team of zebra! Wow! The first shot of Jesus is also cinema magic, an unforgettable moment. The scenes of the little blind boy finding his way to Jesus, and the interaction between Jesus and the little children stand out as the high points of the movie. There is a "healing" while with the little children that stands out as one of the finest movie moments ever.

It is a silent movie, but if you get caught up like me, you will swear there was talking as you look back on it.

I saw it in May of 1977 at the 50th anniversary of the Graumanns Chinese theater in Hollywood. It had opened 50 years ago that night with its first movie being King of Kings. Interesting, the next night was the premier of the first Star Wars movie.

Mr. DeMille's daughter or niece shared anecdotes about the filming after the movie. For example, there is a seen during the last supper, where, after everyone gets up and walks away a dove comes and lands on the table by the holy grail and gets lost in the lighting special effect. She informed us it was not planned.

She told us the movie played somewhere in the world every night for 46 years. And in South America, people would get on their knees in the theaters after the performance.
Some of the shots of Jesus were stunning--he (literally) GLOWS. It's all done with lighting but it looks realistic. And since it's directed by Cecil B. DeMille it's a spectacle--this movie is BIG! The sets are colossal, there's a cast of hundreds and a big huge Crucifiction sequence that is quite impressive. There's also some nice special effects--surprising in a movie that's over 70 years old. Also, it's well-cast. The standouts are Warner as Jesus; Logan making a very impressive Magdelene and Joseph Schildkraut playing a very young and handsome Judas. Also his father Rudolph Schildkraut plays Caiaphas. And the Resurrection sequence at the end is in two-color Technicolor.

While I got that in spades, resulting in my failing to keep a straight face virtually throughout the entire film, it was however counterbalanced by a surprisingly efficient pace (for a 2½-hour Silent picture about over-familiar events, I didn't find it draggy at all) and quite a few impressive individual sequences:

the first view of Jesus as a blind girl regains her sight

the cleansing of Mary Magdalene from the 7 deadly sins

a surprisingly tender and humorous touch as a little girl naively asks Jesus the "Miracle Maker" to mend her broken doll

the ever-ambitious (and sorely misguided) Judas attempting to cast the devil out of a possessed child

the tax-paying sequence when Christ asks Peter to catch a fish found to be carrying a gold coin in its mouth followed, amusingly, by the Romans themselves casting hooks in the river hoping to make a similar catch!

Christ leaning on a piece of wood and being distressed when realizing that it's a concealed cross, an omen of his own imminent fate

the stoning of the adulteress with Christ exposing her accusers' own failings by writing them down on the ground (I had always wondered just what he was supposed to be scribbling, and this here explanation is most satisfactory methinks)

the Devil's temptation of Christ (though it takes place in the temple rather than the desert)

the spectacular earthquake sequence following the Crucifixion, in which even the tree on which Judas hangs himself is engulfed

the Resurrection sequence, and especially the final dissolve from Christ being surrounded by the Apostles to his ascent over a modern-city skyline

DeMille did not think that he was bigger than his subject, and thus he uses his skills to illustrate the well-known story and to make it memorable, rather than expending time and energy in trying to push some trivial perspective of his own. He makes it lavish when it should be lavish, and keeps it simple when it should be simple.

The opening scene, with Mary Magdalene and her admirers hearing bits of news regarding Jesus and Judas Iscariot, is a good introduction to the rest of the story, and also sets the tone for what follows. While it is a fictionalized scene not found in the Bible, it seems natural and works well. The rest of the movie likewise does not always follow the biblical narratives exactly, but the added material is always in keeping with the main themes. The cast is pretty good, although given the nature of the story, most of them have limited screen time. H.B. Warner looks just a little too old to be fully convincing as Jesus, but otherwise he is good enough in a difficult role. Probably the best performance is given by Joseph Schildkraut as Judas. He is quite believable, and is especially good in the Last Supper scene. His father Rudolph is also good in a smaller role as the high priest Caiaphas.
How would Jesus be portrayed by Hollywood in the Roaring 20s? How different would the silent medium be compared to today? How would Cecil B. DeMille, known for his blockbuster extravaganzas portray the story? I intentionally did not prepare the group by telling them that this was a silent film. I simply stressed that it was made in 1927 by Cecil B. DeMille. None of them put 2 and 2 together to figure it out, which was just fine. I would say it took about 10-15 minutes for everyone to get into the silent presentation--the conversation and comments about the exaggerated facial expressions etc. eventually just ceased as the story absorbed them...which is probably the best way to describe our viewing experience. All of the viewers were long-time believers who know and love the story backwards and forwards. These were knowledgeable critics of the story and how it would be presented.

First of all, with regard to the "art" of the movie itself, all of us thought it was fantastic as a period piece. It seemed to us that while there is a good deal of "action," (healings, miracles, etc.), DeMille's vision worked masterfully toward a series of still life portraits with each episode, with each character intentionally blocked and staged around Jesus, "The Last Supper," "Behold the Man," etc. (Though, I will have to say, since we watched the original uncut version--all 155 minutes of it--it did get a wee bit tedious toward the end with one still life portrait after another, especially since we knew how it ends!) Second of all, there were a number of extremely masterful movie story-telling techniques. DeMille did a tremendous job of introducing Jesus, keeping the audience in suspense, since of course, everyone's wondering, "What will he look like?" Jesus is referenced numerous times both as protagonist and antagonist before the audience actually gets to see him, and the WAY the audience finally gets to meet Jesus is quite good.

Third, there were also some interesting little connections throughout the film, as well, and I don't want to give too much away here. We see Peter's sword long before it ever gets used. Notice, as well, what eventually happens to the rope that is used to bind Jesus' hands.

Fourth, we watched the movie with the digitally remastered music, which was also very good. Not only did it complete the silent film experience (we were wondering before hand whether it would be sort of the stereotypical melodrama or "Keystone Kops" type music!), but it was simply beautiful music. And of course, it helps convey the characterization, as well--think "Darth Vader's" theme from Star Wars.

DeMille does play fast and loose with the Biblical text itself, some of it is not so bad; other moves are terrible. It was a little annoying how words and dialog are taken out of biblical context in order to fit the scene that DeMille has set. Similarly, the relationship between Judas and Mary Magdalene is pure bunk. On the other hand, while DeMille completely leaves whole episodes out (obviously) but then also seems to give a creative nod to some of those episodes with wholesale new interpretations. For example, in John's Gospel we are privy to the words between Jesus, the disciple John, and Mary the Mother of Our Lord: "Son, behold your mother; mother, behold your son." That is not present in King of Kings. However, there is a touching little vignette at the foot of the cross in which the mother of one of the thieves on the cross is consoled by Mary. Completely creative license, but not outside the character and possibility of the story at all.

Wonderful movie. Not exactly something I'd pop in all the time. But a great study in movie history.
DeMille begins his movie with a real lavish party at the home of a noted women of the town Mary Magdalene played by Jacqueline Logan. It's DeMille showing revelry at its best and most alluring.

Logan asks why one of her favorites, Judas Iscariot hasn't been attending her clambakes recently. She hears he's been hanging around with this carpenter from Nazareth reputed to have performed some miracles and who doesn't approve of her lifestyle.

That's it for Ms. Magadalene; she's not about to let this hick take one of her favorites away. Off in a chariot pulled by Zebras she goes after this carpenter. She finds H.B. Warner as Jesus doing one of the miracles and becomes a follower herself.
The magic starts when Jesus is finally introduced. What an entrance he makes. A blind girl goes to Jesus for help. There is a bright light and you can tell by the little girl's performance that something is happening. Our view gets blurry because we are seeing through the little girl's eyes. Then the picture comes into focus and we can see Jesus standing in front of her. From that moment on the movie was amazing.

H.B. Warner is one of the greatest actors to portray Jesus. He has such a commanding presence in the movie. He does look a little old to be playing Jesus. At the time of Christ's crucifixion he was around 30. Warner was around 50. But this does not hurt the film at all. Warner does not look like an old man one bit and he had the perfect eyes and perfect face for the part he was playing. In the crucifixion scene when you see H.B. Warner without his shirt it's amazing how he has the perfect built to play Christ.

There were so many things that amazed me. The movie was silent, but it didn't even matter. There were so many effective images. This is what people went to the movies for before there were talking pictures. The first amazing scene was the scene when Jesus cures the blind girl. That was very well done. Every scene of Jesus performing a miracle was amazing. The Last Supper scene was very well done. When everyone leaves the table, the cup that Jesus was drinking from is shimmering. That would later become the Holy Grail. Throughout the movie Jesus is a glowing image. This added to Warner's presence in the film. The scene when Jesus is condemned was very well done and accurate. I was glad they got Pontius Pilate right in the movie. Pilate did not want to kill Jesus. The film also shows you how his wife truly felt. In this movie you see Pilate send Christ to be chastised rather than put to death. After the scourging, you see the people condemn him. You even get to see Pilate washing his hands. People complained about how Gibson's Passion of the Christ made Pilate look, but no one complained when they did the same in this. It is widely known that Pilate was not a villain. The King of Kings that came later in 1961 failed miserably in how it portrayed Pontius Pilate, not to mention a lot of other things. Seeing this makes you wonder what King of Kings with Jeffrey Hunter would've been like if Demille made it. Too bad he didn't.

My favorite scene in the movie would have to be the Resurrection. You will know why when you see the movie. Seeing everyone hugging Jesus in the end was so heartwarming. In the end you even get to see Jesus ascend into heaven. That was all very well done. The special effects in the movie were unbelievable. I was surprised how great they were. The movie was made in 1927. The storm after Christ commends his spirit is an awesome display. Amazing special effects. Seeing H.B. Warner on the cross is also a haunting sight. He really looked the part.

The final thing that I must praise is the performances by the actors. Everyone was great. Every single person in the cast. Everybody looked the part that they were playing. It was amazing. Dorothy Cumming was the perfect choice to play the Virgin Mary. Ernest Torrence was great as Peter. Victor Varconi was great as Pontius Pilate. Joseph Schildkraut was great as Judas. I couldn't believe that was the old man I saw on the Twilight Zone. In this movie Judas is a handsome young man and it is also the first movie were I've seen Judas without a beard. Schildkraut's interpretation of Judas will be something very new to you, but it turns out great. His performance was especially good when you see him in agony over betraying Jesus until you finally see him hang himself. Jacqueline Logan was a great choice to play Mary Magdalene. She was very attractive and great in the scene when Jesus casts the seven deadly sins out of her. Great effects in that scene too. Joseph Schildkraut's father Rudolph Schildkraut was also great as Caiaphas. This movie shows him for the villain that he was. Again, nobody complained about that in this, but they complained about Gibson's movie. Finally, H.B. Warner was great. I couldn't believe that was Mr. Gower from It's A Wonderful Life.
Normally when I comment on the films of Cecil B. Demille, I normally point out negative aspects of the films such as bad acting and overwrought dialog. However, this is probably the one time when I will say that he got it right. This is a beautifully filmed version of the story of Christ and it gives a wonderful account of his life. The only thing I was disappointed in was the fact that the film started off in the later years of Jesus. In fact, it almost looks as if it concentrates on the final weeks in his life, much like the current release, The Passion. However, it really is a reverent look at the life of Christ and the one thing that I really loved was the crucifixion scene. This pretty much shows it in its entirety, including the part about how the centurion stabs Jesus after he died and after seeing the blood and water run out truly believes that he was the son of God. This is truly one remarkable film and it should be seen by people of all ages, especially younger viewers.
Starting off in typical De Mille mode, with Mary Magdalene breaking off an orgy to go after her errant admirer Judas Iscariot "Go harness my zebras, a present from the King of Nubia!" it never descends to the threatened kitchfest. Beginning towards the end of Christ's ministry, he plays fast and loose with the chronology (Palm Sunday AFTER Jesus goes to the Temple?) and it's a long way from history, but De Mille understood the power of symbolic design: Pilate's throne room may look nothing like the cramped quarters of most Roman buildings, but the giant eagle that towers and glowers behind his throne is a great piece of visual shorthand for the overbearing power and might of the Empire. And he pulls off some surprising coups De cinema, be it Christ's much-delayed first appearance through the gradually restored sight of a blind girl, the ghostly sins surrounding Magdalene, Pilate's first establishing shot or a strikingly powerful moment when the beam Jesus is leaning on outside a farmhouse is suddenly revealed to be a cross. De Mille also is a master of crowd scenes these crowds are alive, a world of movement, with Christ's stillness setting Him apart.

H.B. Warner is a genuinely unexpected figure here considering the hollowed, balding old man of barely a decade later: very much a picture book Jesus, he does have a striking presence (when not overlit or made up with too much pancake) and there's a surprising warmth too a scene where the carpenter repairs a child's doll is genuinely charming. There's a restrained power, too, most notable in the scene with the moneychangers in the temple, where an expected eruption of anger is instead turned into a simple tip of a table that is actually more violent in its controlled fury.

Don't expect a great movie this is a great show, a Medieval Mystery Play filmed on a truly epic scale, and quite winning in its way.
Cecil B. DeMille never overestimated public taste, and his films tend to be overblown to the point of garish vulgarity. True to form, he splashes his 1927 silent film of the life of Christ with sex and violence, and he never misses an opportunity to emphasize the obvious. But KING OF KINGS has a simplicity and reverence that transcends DeMille's tendency to overt display, and it is to my mind the finest of his silent films.

This is not a "line for line" translation of the scripture to the screen, and DeMille makes no effort to turn the Gospels--which occasionally disagree with each other re sequence and detail--into the seamless story typically found in later films about Christ. Instead, the film moves in episodic manner, highlighting various events in the life of Christ: the woman taken in adultery, driving the money changers from the temple, the last supper, the betrayal, the encounter with Pilate, and ultimately the crucifixion.

As is typical of the era, there is not a single member of the cast that looks distinctly Middle Eastern; indeed H.B. Warner, who plays Christ, is very blonde. Interestingly, though, the film falls all over itself to avoid even the barest hint of anti-Semitism, placing blame for Christ's crucifixion squarely on the shoulders of high priest Caiaphas, who is carefully shown to be intolerably corrupt. While this is not precisely scriptural, I personally found it a breath of fresh air in the wake of the rather problematic THE PASSION OF THE Christ.
Although I tried and tried to remind myself this was an ancient version of the life of Christ, I wasn't as amazed as most of the other users who posted comments here.

I don't know which version I saw of this film (there seems to be so many of them!). Director Cecile B. DeMille was famous for spectacle - I expected it. I guess it was a spectacle when it was released.

I thought the opening scene for Mary Magdalene (Jacqueline Logan) was ridiculous and totally unnecessary. H B Warner (Jesus") was not a good choice, to me - too much make-up and no vitality in his acting; BUT, I know he was a big star in that era. I can't recall Dorothy Cummary's (Mother Mary) acting, so I guess I wasn't too impressed with it, either. As for "Judas'" (Joseph Schildkract) romance with Magdalene, hooey !! The earthquake-scene was about the best of any of them. Of course, the crucifixion is always a heart-stopper for me.
Warner is not allowed to display much emotion other than a sweet sadness. During the scene where Jesus drives the moneychangers from the temple he is shown fashioning a scourge from some straps, but he never uses it as described in the Bible. He merely overturns a few tables rather lackadaisically and looks sad. The figure of the Christ has never really been brought to life in movies. As Dostoevsky said of the title character in The Idiot, it is extremely difficult to write about someone who is wholly good. They simply aren't very interesting. Human characters need to be fully formed and that means showing their humanity. All too often, "humanity" is synonymous with "failings" and a character like Jesus can't be shown to have failings. That doesn't mean he can't be shown to have feelings though. So far, in Hollywood, it hasn't happened yet. King of Kings is still a good movie. It's a benchmark of cinematic excellence.
inca=chinitial
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02/13/2009 08:12 PM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
That means, instead of a Jesus of Nazareth 2011 remake, it'd be better a King of Kings a la DeMille!
inca=chinitial
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02/14/2009 04:59 AM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
This film in particular was made in 1927. The Colour at the end (Jesus rising from the dead) is not "tinting" , it's just faded early technicolor. Technicolor has been around since 1917 including the naked women in a parade in De Mille's earlier version of Ben Hur. That in a black and white silent film!
inca=chinitial
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02/14/2009 05:56 AM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]
[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]
[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]
[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]
Click in "cerrar" if an ad window opens.
inca=chinitial
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02/14/2009 07:28 AM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
We, Western people usually ignore other people's point of view and is rather amazing to realize Russian view of Christ does have interesting details that we never saw too much in films....

[link to en.wikipedia.org]

...... that stillness, meditation, using God's name as it's written in John 17 where we read he taught God's name at least a fistful of times to his disciples. If they knew the name was so-called Jehovah or Yahveh, why did he have to teach it?
Answer: because that was never the name and Jews hid it for centuries.
inca=chinitial
User ID: 608480
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02/15/2009 07:39 AM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
Chris Angel, awful illusion:

[link to www.youtube.com]
Basilisk genus lizard running on water:
[link to www.youtube.com]
Final Fantasygives us an idea in a hypothetical film: Peter drowning and Christ holding him walking on water but AS SEEN FROM BENEATH THE WATERS:
[link to www.youtube.com]
inca=chinitial
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02/15/2009 10:17 AM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]
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[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]
[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]
Interesting Krishna (whose name is similar to the title Christ) also walked on water:
[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]
inca=chinitial
User ID: 616978
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02/17/2009 07:34 PM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
In a would be film, it would interesting emphasize when Judas betrayed him with a kiss and he asked "WHOM SEEK YE?" and his utterance is not what Jehovah's Witness have unsuccesfully tried to hide changing their translations at least 3 times in John 18:1-8. He doesn't speak in Greek koiné "I am" (someone) which is ego eimí. Twice he repeated in Hebrew what was never the equivalent "ani hu" but God's forbidden name IEVE translated as "eyeh asher eyeh" (not that awful Jehovah or Yahveh). The reaction of the ones who heard him was witdraw and kneel and Rabbies wanted to stone him once in the past when his utterance was similar saying "he was" before Abraham. In the very context prior to John 18 (chapter 17) we read a fistful of times he taught his disciples God's name. Why doing that if it was already known? Because it wasn't. That name was long time forgotten as Isaiah wrote, centuries earlier not even the utterance at the Holy of Holies once a year every 7 years was allowed no more. Even Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ film wrongly uses Aramaic to mimic Hebrew words here "ani hu" meaning simply "I am" (in the scene where Peter chops off an ear) and that was not what he said.
inca=chinitial
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02/18/2009 04:42 AM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
As a matter of fact, if the question is "whom seek ye?" the BAD translations could've written "it's I" rather than "I am". There's no agreement if the translation of God's name should be "I will be what I will be" or I was I am I will be since some people say there should be no future. Anyway, He will be SOMETHING (regarding His people) and not SOMEONE (who already is) and this is unknown for people who haven't searched Hebrew.
inca=chinitial
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02/18/2009 07:53 AM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
The Transfiguration could be filmed like these:
[link to fotolog.terra.com]
[link to fotolog.terra.com]
[link to fotolog.terra.com]
inca=chinitial
User ID: 617286
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02/18/2009 09:33 AM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
Smoking "Jesus". Usually actors can't bear staying too much time without smoking. Here Robert Powell ... even "crucified" :

[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]
[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]
[link to fotolog.terra.com.mx]
inca=chinitial
User ID: 618926
Brazil
02/20/2009 07:38 AM
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Re: casting Jesus in films, costume & historical errors
It's I or I am he?





GLP