It is an irritation to read reviews of films about the life of Christ, whether on IMDb or anywhere else: most of the reviewers are ignoring everything distinctive about the film, focusing on an opportunity to deliver clever put-downs of "biblical extravaganzas." Or they're getting this film mixed up in their minds with other films on the same theme (e.g., one IMDb reviewer compliments the film for never showing Christ's face, showing that he has it confused with Ben Hur). A few realize the merits of Day of Triumph: its take on Judas is a very interesting one indeed, and the parts of Judas, Nicator and Zadok are not only brilliantly acted but brilliantly written. This film's Pontius Pilate is rather interesting too, in fact this is the second-best Pilate I have seen (after Telly Savalas in The Greatest Story Ever Told); he actually talks and acts like the racist colonial administrator Pilate was: "Sabbaths! Passovers! These Jews waste more time on one god than we do on a hundred!", he exclaims after being told that the Jewish priests want to talk to him but refuse to pollute themselves by entering a pagan's house during a holy time, so he has to come to the door to see them instead!). Exactly as in the case of Greatest Story Ever Told, there are some deftly dramatic and original touches; and also as in that case, there are loads of clichés to excite the derisive hoots of folk who are all set up to trash a "biblical spectacular". Yes, I too found the Jesus of this film rather bland and conventional, but (despite some of the comments posted on this site) Judas was certainly not "melodramatic". Indeed, I wish we could have a film combining this Judas with Max von Sydow's earthy Jesus. Altogother, an uneven film--but then, villains are always easier to make interesting than heroes are.
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