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The Passover Plot (1976)

 -  Drama  -  October 1976 (USA)
5.0
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Ratings: 5.0/10 from 54 users  
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Dramatization of the controversial best-seller that posits an alternate version of the birth of Christianity. In this version, Jesus planned for His crucifixion by taking a drug that would ... See full summary »

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Title: The Passover Plot (1976)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Judah
Daniel Ades ...
Andros (as Dan Ades)
Michael Baseleon ...
Lewis Van Bergen ...
Yoram
William Paul Burns ...
Shimon (as William Burns)
...
Yaocov (as Daniel Hedaya)
...
Visionary Woman
Kevin O'Connor ...
Irijah
...
Bar Talmi
William Watson ...
Roman Captain
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Storyline

Dramatization of the controversial best-seller that posits an alternate version of the birth of Christianity. In this version, Jesus planned for His crucifixion by taking a drug that would simulate death. After His unconscious body was placed in the tomb, a religious sect known as the Zealots would secretly steal Christ's body from the tomb, then spread the rumor that He had risen, thus fulfilling Biblical prophecy. Written by Mike Konczewski

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Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG
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Release Date:

October 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jesus von Nazareth  »

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'Stacey Keach' and 'Trevor Howard' were cast in major roles but were replaced before filming. See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE PASSOVER PLOT (Michael Campus, 1976) **1/2
6 April 2010 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This flashy adaptation of a controversial book on the true nature of Jesus Christ should have been "The Da Vinci Code" of its day; unfortunately, its sheer rarity (the copy I acquired suffered from 'combing' issues for the film's entire duration) has, instead, all but ensured that it forgotten over the years! That said, the popular and ultra-reverent TV mini-series Jesus OF NAZARETH (1977) could well have been commissioned as an 'antidote' to this one (actually the two display a comparably realistic view of Biblical times)! Still, its theme is certainly fascinating – theorizing that Christ was not really the Son of God but merely a man who was deluded into thinking himself the savior of his people. It is interesting that the Old Testament is full of quotes by established prophets telling what was to be expected of the eventual Messiah…so, it follows, that it was easy enough for some ambitious man to perform just those tasks and be taken for Him (consequently, Jesus' powers as a miracle-maker get just one brief, almost casual manifestation early on)! Incidentally, this is partly a Jewish production, therefore the characters adopt their Hebrew pronunciation – so that Jesus becomes Yeshua, John (The Baptist) Yohanan, Judas (Iscariot) is now Judah and Bartholomew gets saddled with the amusing name of Bar Talmi! Zalman King (of all people – in view of his later association with softcore efforts in both Film and TV!) approaches the role of Jesus with his customary intensity, which is quite incongruous with the figure of Christ as laid down in the Scriptures!; however, this is complemented by Michael Campus' unwarranted tricksy direction (full of slow-motion passages and even baffling instances of negative printing)! The rest of the cast is peppered with familiar faces and some fine actors: Harry Andrews (John The Baptist), Hugh Griffith (Caiaphas), Dan Hedaya (as Jacob, brother to Jesus!), Donald Pleasence (who, having already portrayed The Devil in THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD [1965], now assumes the mantle of Pontius Pilate – though played in strictly stock-villain terms and shown to be in cahoots with the Jewish High Priests!), Robert Walker Jr. (Bartholomew) and Scott Wilson (Judas). The latter, however, gets as much of a radical make-over as Christ himself: part of a warring rabble (led presumably by Barabbas, though he is never actually named), Judas is asked to join Jesus' peace-mongering throng in order to bring the two parties together! The famous commotion at the temple, then, is depicted here as a deliberate act (abetted by a similar disruption elsewhere by Barabbas & Co. to distract the Romans) so that Christ can then proclaim himself King Of The Jews and rally support on-the-spot for their cause of overthrowing the Roman regime! However, Jesus also has a back-up plan: ordering Judas to betray him(!) so that he can be condemned and crucified…but, believing himself capable of withstanding the multiple beatings and body-piercings and, having feigned death through a special drug concocted by physician Jacob(!), he can be 'resurrected' after a couple of days and thus accomplish the greatest faith-boosting miracle of all!! Obviously, the first option fails and Jesus has to resort to the second (which sees him on trial before Caiaphas and Pilate but not Herod Antipas, scenes which typically command particular attention)…but, then, he fails to make it and dies just the same in the arms of Jacob (Simon Peter, by the way, gets a downgrading here as well) and Judas (who, needless to say, is not required to hang himself since Jesus' death was not his doing)! The script's tendency to cut corners through the events in Christ's 'recorded' life emerges as the most unsatisfying aspect of the film…though it does try to cauterize the wounds as it were (no pun intended) by stating that since the Four Gospels were written several years after the 'fact', they were mostly hearsay (i.e. unable to be proved) anyway! Thankfully, Alex North (a veteran of Hollywood epics such as SPARTACUS [1960] and CLEOPATRA [1963]) supplies a nice score for this – even if it too comes across, at times, as inappropriately rousing (given the radical stance adopted throughout).


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