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The King of Kings (1927)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | 1928 (Austria)
Jesus Christ faces religious and political oppression during his ministry and in the days before his death and resurrection.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Dorothy Cumming ...
...
...
...
James - Brother of John
...
...
Matthew - the Publican
Sidney D'Albrook ...
Thomas, the Doubter
David Imboden ...
Andrew - a Fisherman
Charles Belcher ...
Clayton Packard ...
Robert Ellsworth ...
Charles Requa ...
John T. Prince ...
...
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Storyline

Mary Magdalene becomes angry when Judas, now a follower of Jesus, won't come to her feast. She goes to see Jesus and becomes repentant. From there the Bible story unfolds through the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Most reverent and strikingly beautiful panorama of the tragedy of all ages--the world's greatest screen epic. A production acclaimed by world-famed scholars, press and public in this country and abroad, as the most ambitious presentation of the final years of the life of Jesus ever pictured on the screen. An epochal motion picture that will live forever in the hearts of mankind. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1928 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

König der Könige  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(general release) | (premiere)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System) (1931 reissue)| | (RCA Photophone System)

Color:

| (2-strip Technicolor) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cecil B. DeMille intended that the role of the Jesus Christ go to J.B. Warner, a handsome and popular actor in westerns at the time. By the time production began, Warner had passed away of tuberculosis at age 29. Instead, H.B. Warner (Henry B. Warner) was cast as Jesus. Contrary to popular misconception, the two were not actually brothers. According to an in-depth article on J.B. Warner "Classic Images" by Grange B. McKinney, the two were not even related. J.B.'s real name was James B. Tobias, and he adopted the surname of Warner after H.B. Warner's family took him in and raised him. This familial error appears in several reference books. See more »

Goofs

In the first scene in Mary Magdalene's house, studio lights are reflected in a large hand-held mirror. See more »

Quotes

Adulterous Woman: mercy!
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the original premiere version, there is no 'THE END' title. The film fades to black after the final scene of Jesus looming over a modern city with the title 'LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS' superimposed. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Myra Breckinridge (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE CRITERION DVD IS A MARVELOUS!
6 November 2004 | by (Salt Lake City) – See all my reviews

I first experienced Cecil B. DeMille's beautiful telling of the Life of Christ, his 1927 THE KING OF KINGS, in a local theatre in the late 1950s. It impressed me then as a teenager and it impresses me even more now, having just experienced a special viewing of the double disc DVD that is being released on December 7, 2004 under The Criterion Collection label.

I purchased a 16mm print of this film many years ago as well as buying the Criterion Laser Dics release a few years back, so I am well versed in this classic. Until now, everything shown theatrically, on 16mm, VHS tape and Laser Discs has been of the re-edited version that DeMille prepared in 1928, a year after the film played its roadshow engagements. Millions of people the world over have seen the shorter 112 minute cut, which is included on the Criterion disc with both the original Hugo Riesenfeld score (and sound effects) as issued in 1928, and an outstanding newly recorded pipe organ score by Timothy J. Tikker, done especially for this release.

For years I have been aware that the roadshow version as shown at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in LA and at the Gaiety in NY, ran 155 minutes, some 37 minutes longer then I had ever seen it. From James D'Arc at the Brigham Young University Archives (which houses the DeMille collection) I learned that the full length version still existed and was in the possession of the DeMille family. That complete version is now the highlight of the Criterion DVD release and it is MARVELOUS!

I've always thought highly of DeMille's THE KING OF KINGS -- but now seeing it in this wonderfully preserved full-length print, complete with an outstanding original orchestra score by Donald Sosin, I can say without hesitation that it is a more spiritually uplifting experience in this version then it ever was in the fine shorter cut. This is a MASTERPIECE, not only of the silent cinema, but of all-time!

And that's not all -- the EXTRA's included on the two DVD's are also a marvel. There is almost 15 minutes of priceless behind-the-scenes footage on the set of the film. You'll see DeMille directing a huge cast and at times view three cameras being hand-cranked. There are shots of D.W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks visiting with DeMille on set. There are production and costume sketches by renowned artist Dan Sayre Groesbeck as well as a stills gallery of rare production and publicity photos. The original illustrated theatre program and press book are pictured also -- and there's more. In short this is the finest DVD ever released on a film from the silent era, even surpassing Fox's marvelous job on F.W. Murnau's SUNRISE (also a 1927 release).

In my opinion, DeMille's THE KING OF KINGS in this full version is the finest rendering of the Life of Christ ever put on film! Criterion, known as the leader of fine DVD's, has done it again. Don't hesitate on picking up a copy of this if you love great movies and want a spiritual experience!


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