A fascinating work of high artistry, "Judith of Bethulia" will not only rank as an achievement in this country, but will make foreign producers sit up and take notice. It has a signal and ... See full summary »
A fascinating work of high artistry, "Judith of Bethulia" will not only rank as an achievement in this country, but will make foreign producers sit up and take notice. It has a signal and imperative message, and the technique displayed throughout an infinity of detail, embracing even the delicate film tinting and toning, marks an encouraging step in the development of the new art. Ancient in story and settings, it is modern in penetrative interpretation - it is a vivid history of one phase of the time it concerns, and is redemptive as well as relative, a lesson from one of those vital struggles that made and unmade nations as well as individuals, yet it is not without that inspiring influence that appeals powerfully to human sense of justice. The entire vigorous action of the play works up to the personal sacrifice of Judith of Bethulia, a perilous chance she takes for the sake of the lives and happiness of her people. She dares expose herself to overwhelming humiliation and dishonor ... Written by
Moving Picture World 1914
A newer restored print of the film is being restored and will be released to limited theater engagements and worldwide DVD release slated for 2008 by the original company that made it, American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. See more »
When Judith goes out into the city and begins to bless the young mother's baby, an extra enters the shot in the left foreground, blocking the action. She or he quickly retreats back out of view, as someone obviously yelled out. See more »
With a good cast, an interesting story, and settings that are generally convincing, "Judith of Bethulia" is a worthwhile and enjoyable dramatization of the semi-historical story of Judith (from the Old Testament Apocrypha). It fits together pretty well, and tells the story with a good amount of action and some depth as well. It is also of historical interest, as an example of what movies were like in the era when full-length pictures were just about to become common.
Blanche Sweet stars as the heroine Judith, a popular and prominent resident of the town of Bethulia, near ancient Jerusalem. When the town is attacked and besieged by the Assyrians, Judith becomes her town's best hope, so she must be courageous and must also work through some dilemmas. Sweet does a very good job of letting us see what her character is thinking and feeling. The rest of the cast includes several names well-known to fans of silent films (some in smaller roles), and they help out as well.
Although this was one of the earliest feature-length films, most of the story-telling techniques work all right, and it shows only a few real signs of age (mostly in the more lavish or large-scale sets and scenes). While it's probably too 'old-fashioned' to appeal to most of today's movie-goers, it's a good movie that is worthwhile both for its content and its historical interest.
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