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Ben-Hur (1959) More at IMDbPro »

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There are 6 main versions of Ben-Hur. The novel by General Lew Wallace, the stage play, the 1907 silent version which only features the Chariot Race sequence, the 1925 silent film, the best-known 1959 version starring Charlton Heston, and a 2003 animated version. The biggest difference between the 1907 version and others is that it is the Chariot Race sequence only, and does not incorporate other major story elements. The original novel states, among other things, that Quintus Arrius knew Ben-Hur's father, and that when Arrius passed away, he left Ben-Hur a good deal of wealth and property. There are no such statements in any filmed version, and we are apparently led to believe that Arrius still lives when the film ends. The filmed versions end at the crucifixion and its immediate aftermath. The novel elaborates and goes into Christians going into hiding to create places of worship.Ben-Hur becomes a Christian far earlier in the book. Messala's final fate differs. In the novel, he is killed in a jealous rage by his mistress Iras (who does not appear in the 1959 version at all), whereas in the 1959 film we are lead to believe he dies of injuries sustained in the chariot race. In the 1925 version, Ben-Hur's identity in the chariot race is meant to be anonymous with no one knowing who he is, and people referring to this unidentified racer as "The Unknown Jew." Messala uses his mistress Iras to attempt to discover who he is. In the 1959 version Judah makes no such effort to conceal his identity. In the 1925 version we see Jesus Christ's hands and no other part of his body. In the 1959 version we see much of his body, but his face remains hidden throughout and is never shown. In the novel and the 1925 version, Judah joins the Jewish resistance forces immediately after the chariot race, and is ready to lead a militia against the Romans. However, during the walk to his crucifixion, Jesus convinces him to lay down his arms. These developments are completely absent from the 1959 version (it was probably regarded as too sensitive given the similar situation with the Palestines in Israel at the time).

While belching is typically considered to be rude in Western cultures, in Arabian cultures it is considered a means of showing appreciation of a good meal. Balthasar wanted him to show gratitude towards Ilderim and appreciation of the meal in the manner one typically utilizes in Arabian cultures.


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