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

 -  Biography | Drama  -  1913 (USA)
5.9
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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... See full summary »

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

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Cast

Cast overview:
Robert Henderson-Bland ...
Percy Dyer ...
Gene Gauntier ...
Alice Hollister ...
Samuel Morgan ...
James D. Ainsley ...
Robert G. Vignola ...
George Kellog ...
J.P. McGowan ...
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Storyline

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)  »

Also Known As:

Jesus of Nazareth  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Ironically, Robert 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

Version of The King of Kings (1927) See more »

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User Reviews

Not so many things
5 December 2002 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

This movie is not the first feature picture. That distinction appears to go to an Australian film, NED KELLY AND HIS GANG from about 1906. Others, particularly the Italians, had made a few films of more than a couple of reels before FROM THE MANGER TO THE CROSS came out. Nonetheless, this movie is historically very important as the first American feature..... and much of it was shot on location in Egypt and what was then Palestine. It was an enormous undertaking in its time and deserves our respect.

But, does that mean it is worth seeing? Well, if you are fascinated by the history of the film, yes. If you are unfamiliar with silent film techniques, then no, almost certainly not.

This film is shot as a series of tableaux. In the films of D.W. Griffith and others of his line, the titles explain the picture. In tableaux, the pictures illuminate the text of the titles, like an illustrated edition of a novel. Given the average American's familiarity with the subject of this movie -- the life and death of Jesus Christ -- and the use of quotes from the New Testament as titles, this is precisely the effect of FROM THE MANGER TO THE CROSS: an exciting one, for people who never got to travel further than downstate. To a modern audience, however, it will seem static, as this style of moviemaking went out of style by about 1920.

Second, there are the anachronisms. Cities are shown in their modern guises and if Jesus never saw the walls of Nazareth reared by the Crusaders, so much the worse for the moviegoer. If the nose of the Sphinx was battered off some time between 700 and 1000 AD, someone viewing this picture would never know it, given that Jesus, Joseph and Mary are shown sitting in front of the Sphinx and a pyramid to illustrate the Egyptian exile.

So there are problems with this movie that make it something not to be recommended to the average, or even above-average moviegoer. However, if you love films for their own sake, give it a look.


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