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From the Manger to the Cross; or, Jesus of Nazareth (1912)

TV-PG | | Biography, Drama | 1913 (USA)
An account of the life of Jesus Christ, based on the books of the New Testament: After Jesus' birth is foretold to his parents, he is born in Bethlehem, and is visited by shepherds and wise... See full summary »

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Cast

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Jesus - the Man (as Robert Henderson-Bland)
Percy Dyer ...
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Samuel Morgan ...
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Robert G. Vignola ...
George Kellog ...
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An account of the life of Jesus Christ, based on the books of the New Testament: After Jesus' birth is foretold to his parents, he is born in Bethlehem, and is visited by shepherds and wise men. After a stay in Egypt to avoid King Herod, his family settles in Nazareth. After years of preparation, Jesus gathers together a group of disciples, and then begins to speak publicly and to perform miracles, inspiring hope in many of his listeners, but also arousing some dangerous opposition. Written by Snow Leopard

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Biography | Drama

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TV-PG
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1913 (USA)  »

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Jesus of Nazareth  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Ironically, R. Henderson Bland was selected for the role of Jesus in a silent film because star/director Sidney Olcott liked the way his voice sounded on the telephone. See more »

Connections

Follows Jephtah's Daughter: A Biblical Tragedy (1909) See more »

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User Reviews

Has Several Strengths
18 August 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

While this pioneering effort does have some shortcomings that would now be easy to point out, it also has several strengths that are quite commendable, given that it was one of the earliest full-length movies to be produced. While mostly a straightforward rendering of the life of Jesus Christ, it has a number of visual effects that, while not flashy, are generally effective. The decision to film it in or near the original locations of the story, while introducing some occasional anachronisms, works in general, and gives it a more appropriate feel than a studio backdrop would have.

The adaptation by Gene Gauntier, the actress who also appears as Jesus' mother Mary, does a pretty good job of covering a selection of events from Jesus' life. It does clearly assume a pretty good familiarity with the New Testament writings, as in several scenes the point of the action is otherwise obscured. Even then, though, Robert Henderson-Bland's low-key rendering of Jesus usually communicates a general image of gentleness and wisdom, which in many cases is more significant than the specific teachings.

The whole picture is shot in the old 'tableau' format, which does, in particular, minimize the impact of Henderson-Bland's performance. But most audiences of its own era would almost certainly have found this a worthwhile and believable portrayal of the life of Christ, and even now it deserves some commendation for its positive qualities.


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