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David and Bathsheba (1951)

Approved | | Drama, History, Romance | 10 August 1951 (USA)
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After King David sees the beautiful Bathsheba bathing from the palace roof, he enters into an adulterous affair which has tragic consequences for his family and Israel.

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Kieron Moore ...
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Dennis Hoey ...
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Storyline

Though David has all the wealth, power, wives & children inherent for the King of Israel he does not have what he craves most: the true love of a woman who loves him as a man instead of as King. He is attracted to Bathsheba, the wife of one of his soldiers who is more devoted to army duty than to his wife. David & Bathsheba succumb to their feelings. Their affair, her resulting pregnancy, & David's resolve to have her husband killed so Bathsheba will be free to marry, bring the wrath of God upon the kingdom. David must rediscover his faith in God in order to save Bathsheba from death by stoning, his kingdom from drought & famine, & himself from his many sins. Written by E.W. DesMarais <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

david | king | israel | palace | death | See All (133) »

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For this woman... he broke God's own commandment! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

10 August 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

David et Bethsabée  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,170,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to one critic, the film gained "hardly a single intentional laugh". See more »

Goofs

Peck wears the "Star of David" throughout the movie, which doesn't appear until the 3rd century CE and was not commonly used until the middle ages. See more »

Quotes

King David: Your sarcasm is wasted. We both know that royalty is a fraud.
Michal: It was no fraud when my father was king.
King David: And I've never denied that Saul was every inch a king.
Michal: [bitterly] And his successor every inch a fraud!
King David: I will not argue that either.
See more »

Connections

Version of David (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Most Literate Bibilcal Epic Yet; Glowing; Well-Produced; Dramatically Fine
5 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

This film is famous for several qualities: a literate script, for once in partly-religious film-making, by Philip Dunne, some very good performances, a first-rate production in every department and its intelligent direction by veteran Henry King. If one were making a film, then getting such talents as Leon Shamroy as cinematographer, Lyle Wheeler as art director and Alfred Newman as composer of original music would guarantee a quality production. Add the cast of this film, including Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward as the title characters, James Robertson Justice, Raymond Massey, Kieron Moore, Jayne Meadows and John Sutton plus a dance by Gwen Verdon and expectations might be raised that the resulting film could be made into something special. But in a biblical subject script, usually a sub-genre prone to illogical motivations and miraculous interventions, everything would ultimately depend on the author's skills. Philip Dunne here has supplied human beings, a rare achievement in biblical films. David is a man in this film, many-sided, not someone doing mythical deeds on paper in the Old Testament. Gregory Peck makes him curious, passionate, self-controlled, self-deprecating and appealing. As Bathsheba, Hayward is scarcely the perfect choice but conveys a good deal of common-sense earthiness and emotional normalcy that helps one see why the King of Israel would risk so much for her. The rest of the cast is stalwart and capable by turns. The familiar storyline provides them little to work with, but author Dunne and the cast do as much as is possible with the human situations. David's youth is told in flashback; how he was chosen by a Prophet of Yahweh to be King of Israel, and earns his way to be second to the king, Saul, by defeating Goliath the Phiiistine in battle when all else are afraid to beard the giant warrior. Thereafter, he finally is driven from the court of King Saul of Israel, becomes a famous warrior, and returns to claim the kingdom and become the instrument of death of Jonathan, the King's son, formerly a friend. His wars are successful-- the film opens in fact with a successful attack scene; but his life is empty since his wife Michal, Jayne Meadows, is Saul's daughter and is cold to him. He turns to Bathsheba, whom he sees from the palace roof bathing naked; later she admits she had hoped he would see her. But she has a husband, Uriah; when she becomes pregnant, it becomes necessary for Uriah to come in from the battlefield and spend time at home; he instead asks David to set him in the forefront of the battle, even after being aroused by Verdon's dance. David agrees. He is killed, a war hero; but this does not solve the infidelity question. Drought comes to Israel, and the king's infidelity is blamed for the phenomenon. At last, David places his hands on the Ark of the Covenant, recently brought to Jerusalem and housed in a temple, which has caused the death of others who accidentally came in contact with it, inviting his god to punish him--and nothing happens...David exits the temple, and finds that rain has come to his parched land. This film is always interesting, varied in its types of scenes and physically beautiful. The director and author make use of the observer principle, and are frankly more successful in humanizing the characters than in almost any film outside the Grecianized- Near Eastern canon, wherein the feat is a bit easier since neither miraculous nor religious themes are made central in such adventures. . Well-remembered for its glowing realization, fine performances and intelligent dialogue, this dramatic effort bears repeated study.


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