During the 1900 Boxer Rebellion against foreigners in China, U.S. Marine Major Matt Lewis, aided by British Consul Sir Arthur Robertson, devises a strategy to keep the rebels at bay until an international military relief force arrives.
The story of the life of Jesus Christ from his birth in Bethlehem to his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. Filmed on a relatively grand scale, the film includes all of the major events referred to in the New Testament; his baptism by John the Baptist; the miracles - cripples walking, blind men seeing; the fishes and the loaves; and so on. The film actually begins with the Roman invasion by Pompey in 65 B.C., the appointment of King Herod the Great by the Romans and finally the crowning of Herod Antipas after he murders his father. The revolt led by Barrabas is also included and John the Baptist's beheading as Salome's price for dancing for Herod. Written by
The film began life as a very personal project for director John Farrow, who had recently made John Paul Jones (1959) for producer Samuel Bronston. Farrow, an ardent convert to Roman Catholicism and quite possibly the only Hollywood director ever to be made a Papal Knight, called the project "The Sword And The Cross" and planned to use only the words of the Bible for dialogue. His script was deemed impossible to film and producer Bronston elected to proceed without him. Farrow never directed a film again. See more »
The killing of the newborns in Bethlehem is carried out by Roman soldiers. In reality the Roman Army had no units stationed in Judea until AD6, two years after Herod the Great's death (when it became a full province of the Roman Empire rather than a client kingdom). Instead, the massacre would have been carried out by Herod's own troops, who were a mixture of Jews, Samaritans and foreign mercenaries. See more »
John the Baptist:
Behold, the sign of the pagan. As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, so shall he send hosts to destroy the idol worshippers. The day is coming when the sword shall descend upon her legions. Her mighty kings and princes shall grow feeble. Her stolen treasures made worthless. Her cities shall crumble into dusts. We shall raise our voice and be heard.
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There certainly has been a plethora of films about Jesus over the years, from deMille's silent "King of Kings" up to the present day TV mini-series. I feel that this version is clearly the winner. The film is never sensational or vulgar, as are so many biblical "epics," but is extremely moving in its dignified manner. The screenplay is intelligent, the photography gorgeous, and the acting, by an unusual cast not known for its stellar draw, is uncommonly good. Nicholas Ray's direction is first-rate, and the soaring Miklos Rozsa score is unforgettable. Jeffrey Hunter was unfairly ridiculed when the film was first released, and I believe gives a highly underrated performance as Christ. Even the minor players are superb, with the late Brigid Bazlen a frighteningly disturbed Salome. Compared to "King of Kings," George Stevens' "The Greatest Story Ever Told" is embarassingly bad. All in all, a highly worthwhile film experience, told without the glitz and excesses native to so many of those of its ilk.
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