The first part tells the story of Moses leading the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land, his receipt of the tablets and the worship of the golden calf. The second part shows the efficacy ... See full summary »
Cecil B. DeMille
Charles de Rochefort,
Hugh Carver is an athletic star and a freshman at Prescott College. He falls in love with Cynthia Day, a popular girl who loves to go to parties. He finds that it is impossible to please ... See full summary »
Henry B. Walthall
Erstwhile childhood friends, Judah Ben-Hur and Messala meet again as adults, this time with Roman officer Messala as conqueror and Judah as a wealthy, though conquered, Israelite. A slip of a brick during a Roman parade causes Judah to be sent off as a galley slave, his property confiscated and his mother and sister imprisoned. Years later, as a result of his determination to stay alive and his willingness to aid his Roman master, Judah returns to his homeland an exalted and wealthy Roman athlete. Unable to find his mother and sister, and believing them dead, he can think of nothing else than revenge against Messala. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
Although the film grossed $9 million on its initial run, its huge cost overruns and the deal with rights-holder Abraham L. Erlanger meant that MGM was unable to make good on its initial $4-million investment. It was not until a 1931 re-release did it make a profit. See more »
At one point in the chariot race a man in modern clothing - light-colored shirt, long pants, dark shoes - can be seen running out of the crowd onto the track and waving his arms at the camera. That was assistant director William Wyler, who saw that one of the chariots - out of camera range - was approaching the curve of the track too fast and Wyler was signaling the director to have the crew cleaning up a crashed chariot to get out of the way. See more »
After seeing the famous 1959 version of this film a number of times in the last 45 years, it was interesting to contrast this 1925 silent version to it. However, let me say right off the bat that I enjoyed both versions, and I am not going to get into the "which movie is better?" argument.
This silent-film version was more true to the book than the more-famous 1959 movie, mainly from the Christian angle. Just look at the main title and notice "A Tale Of The Christ" was dropped for the '59 film even though that is the official title and the name of Lew Wallace's book. In this film, the life of Christ is much more prominent, and that's the major difference.
Both films feature a cast of thousands, the great sea battle and the dramatic chariot race. We have the intense and bitter rivalry between Judah Ben-Hur and Messala, capped off by the chariot race. To compare action scenes would be unfair since cameras and technical knowledge improve with time. Both versions wowed audiences in their day. The chariot race in the '59 version is still considered by some the great action scene ever filmed, especially since it was done without special effects.
Unlike the '59 movie, this silent version had TWO big stars in the leads: Ramon Narvarro and Francis X. Bushman, playing Ben-Hur and Messala, respectively. It also has an interesting mix of (mostly) black-and-white and tinted scenes. All the scenes involving Jesus had color. As in the '59 version, you never saw Christ's face.
Both had touching scenes with Ben-Hur and his sister and his mother. Speaking of women, a shocker in this silent version was a quick parade of topless women.
At 2 hours and 25 minutes this Ben-Hur was shorter than the '59 version. However, this is a long, long movie for a silent film and many people today probably wouldn't put up with no dialog for that long, but if you appreciate great film-making - from any era - this is a "must" for your collection.
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