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He Who Must Die (1957)
"Celui qui doit mourir" (original title)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 434 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 6 critic

Greece, in the 1920's, is occupied by the Turks. The country is in turmoil with entire villages uprooted. The site of the movie is a Greek village that conducts a passion play each year. ... See full summary »

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Title: He Who Must Die (1957)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Servais ...
Priest Fotis
Carl Möhner ...
Lukas
Grégoire Aslan ...
Agha
...
Patriarcheas (as Gert Froebe)
Teddy Bilis ...
Hadjinikolis
René Lefèvre ...
Yannakos
Lucien Raimbourg ...
Kostandis
...
Katerina / Mary Magdalene
Roger Hanin ...
Panagiotaros
Pierre Vaneck ...
Manolios / Jesus Christ
Dimos Starenios ...
Ladas
Nicole Berger ...
Mariori
Maurice Ronet ...
Michelis
...
Priest Grigoris
Anna Armaou
Edit

Storyline

Greece, in the 1920's, is occupied by the Turks. The country is in turmoil with entire villages uprooted. The site of the movie is a Greek village that conducts a passion play each year. The leading citizens of the town, under the auspices of the Patriarch, choose those that will play the parts in the Passion. A stuttering shepherd is chosen to play Jesus. The town butcher (who wanted to be Jesus) is chosen as Judas. The town prostitute is chosen as Mary Magdalene. The rest of the disciples are also chosen. As the movie unfolds, the Passion Play becomes a reality. A group of villagers, uprooted by the war and impoverished, arrive at the village led by their priest. The wealthier citizens of the town want nothing with these people and manipulate a massacre. In the context of the 1920's each of the characters plays out their biblical role in actuality. Written by Sarvananda Bluestone <sarv@mhv.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

9 September 1957 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

He Who Must Die  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Referenced in O tzitzikas & o mermigas: Episode #1.3 (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant allegory of religious morality in our times.
5 August 2004 | by (Denton, Texas) – See all my reviews

Let's suppose Jesus Christ returned to modern times. What would be the fate that befalls him? That is the question that the great writer Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957) poses in his deeply moving novel "The Greek Passion", brilliantly realized by black-listed director Jules Dassin in the film "He Who Must Die".

The story's answer to this question was not to the liking of the Greek Orthodox Church, who promptly excommunicated the author Kazantzakis, who also wrote the novels "Zorba the Greek", "The Last Temptation of Christ", and "Saint Francis", among other works. (He is rumored to have been nominated 5 times for the Nobel Prize for Literature.) This tale is about much more than a religious passion play put on in a Greek village towards the end of the 400-year Turkish occupation. In a century in which religious morality and the church's real-politics have been severely criticized, this tale hits us right between the eyes. Definite food for thought. Could the church's silence in the face of so much unspeakable evil during the 20th century be one reason that religious thought has become largely irrelevant in our daily lives (politics, business, diplomacy, etc). A solid philosophical perspective is found in Robert Boldt's brilliant review (above).

Why this film has not been released on video is totally beyond me -- a nice DVD would certainly be appreciated--especially now, when more and more of Jules Dassin's work is being restored and released (especially on the Criterion label).


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