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Judith of Bethulia (1914)

 |  Drama  |  8 March 1914 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 882 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 6 critic

A religious woman seeks to save her people from destruction by seducing and murdering the enemy leader, but her plans get complicated once she falls for him.

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Title: Judith of Bethulia (1914)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Henry B. Walthall ...
...
...
Nathan
...
The Young Mother
...
The crippled beggar
Kate Bruce ...
Judith's maid
J. Jiquel Lanoe ...
Eunuch Attendant
...
Assyrian Traitor
W. Chrystie Miller ...
Bethulian
Gertrude Robinson
Charles Hill Mailes ...
Bethulian Soldier
Edward Dillon
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gertrude Bambrick ...
Lead Assyrian Dancer
...
Extra
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

8 March 1914 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Her Condoned Sin  »

Box Office

Budget:

$40,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

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User Reviews

 
Better viewing than that other early Griffith feature
7 August 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

God knows Judith of Bethulia (1914) makes for easier viewing than what is usually regarded as D.W. Griffith's first feature, The Birth of a Nation (1915). On its own merits, this is a decent little film with a good performance from Blanche Sweet in the titular role.

The original biblical tale is expanded upon, most notably by adding a subplot with two lovers separated when one is made a captive of the enemy and by having Judith fall in love with Holofernes, the man she is sent to seduce and assassinate. These are good additions, I think, especially the latter. It helps give more depth to the tale and the titular heroine herself.

Birth is more ambitious and experimental, but I much prefer Judith. It seems more assured of itself (most likely due to having less scale and running time) and I adore Blanche Sweet, who never achieved the level of stardom she deserved. Plus it's not, you know, horribly racist.


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