The scene opens with an assembly of citizens who are harangued by one of their number, whose words have great weight with the crowd, and their attitude of approval shows that Roman misrule ... See full summary »

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Storyline

The scene opens with an assembly of citizens who are harangued by one of their number, whose words have great weight with the crowd, and their attitude of approval shows that Roman misrule in Jerusalem has reached its climax. Heralds now approach and Roman soldiers beat back the crowd to make way for the approach of the Roman Procurator. The scene changes to the home of Ben Hur, who is seen with his sister and mother on the house top. The cavalcade of Roman troops approaches, and to get a near view Ben Hur leans from the coping and knocks down one of the stones thereof onto the shoulder of the Procurator. This is seen and misconstrued by the Governor, who orders soldiers to arrest the inmates; they, after ineffectual pleas and struggles, are carried off. Ben Hur is consigned to the galleys, where he is loaded with chains. Here he signalizes himself by saving the life of Arrias, who publicly adopts him as his son and proclaims him a Roman citizen amidst the acclamations of the ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Positively the most super motion picture ever made

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Short | Drama

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Release Date:

7 December 1907 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Бен-Гур  »

Box Office

Budget:

$500 (estimated)
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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The first film based on the Roman empire. See more »

Connections

Featured in Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

Watch it. It is short and an interesting insight to the capabilities of the era.
20 April 2002 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I saw the first (1907) Ben Hur about 25 years ago in a film society back to back double feature with the Charlton Heston version. My memories are therefore fragmentary.

The film should be called "Illustrated scenes from the life of Ben Hur" as it really doesn't try to tell the story in the time available. If you hadn't read the book you wouldn't know what was going on. One of my recollections is my wife nudging me and saying "there's the tile that's going to fall". Above the rather pathetic and bored looking extras (showing off their knees in Roman army costume) one roof tile was very different from the rest - it wasn't painted onto the set!! Sure enough, Ben Hur leaned rather obviously on this brick.

The chariot race sticks in my mind too. A bunch of extras starts jumping up and down and two chariots race by the camera. The extras calm down and look bored for a while then start jumping up and down for the next rapid pass of two chariots. I can't remember how many times this was repeated, we were all laughing so hard that tears were running down my face.

It is mercifully short, and interesting to compare with the 1925 big budget spectacular (also silent of course) which foreshadows the third version with amazing special effects.


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