Mara and her husband Manoa are both upstanding and religious Israelites living under the harsh and unjust rule of the Philistines. Much to their regret, they have not been able to have ...
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The Old Testament story of Abraham and the trials he endures. Commanded by God to lead his family to the promised land of Canaan with the promise that if he does so, his descendants will ... See full summary »
The tribes of Israel need to defeat the superior might of the Philistines: "Now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have." (I Samuel, 8:5). And so the prophet Samuel ... See full summary »
David, now an old man, is still king of Israel. Among his sons, the ambitious Adonijah and the clever Solomon. The two young men are fierce rivals, since both are prospective heirs to the ... See full summary »
A retelling of the bible story. Pharaoh Ramses decrees the death of all Hebrew children, but Moses, placed in a basket in the Nile by his mother, is taken by a royal princess and raised as ... See full summary »
In the land of Canaan lives Isaac, son of Abraham, with his clever, strong-willed wife Rebekah and his twin sons Esau and Jacob. The first-born, Esau, is a strong and fearless hunter with a... See full summary »
Lara Flynn Boyle,
Ahasuerus (Xerxes I), King of the Persians, whose empire now extends from India to Egypt after the defeat of the Babylonians, is holding a celebratory banquet for his people in the citadel ... See full summary »
F. Murray Abraham,
The young Jeremiah grows up in a priest's family in the village of Anathoth, near Jerusalem. God appears to Jeremiah in different human guises on several occasions, and makes it clear to ... See full summary »
Klaus Maria Brandauer
Biblical epic from the book of Acts and Paul's epistles covering the conversion of Saul of Tarsus and his ministry to the Gentiles now known as Paul. Pursued by fellow Jew Reuben, who ... See full summary »
It is 90 AD, and the Roman Empire is being run by the Emperor Domitian, who has declared himself to be God and ruler over heaven and earth. The Christians, who do not recognize his divinity... See full summary »
An all-enveloping darkness. Suddenly, a child's voice, frightened, questioning, pierces the darkness... The first flickering rays of light begin to sculpt mysterious shapes out of the ... See full summary »
Mara and her husband Manoa are both upstanding and religious Israelites living under the harsh and unjust rule of the Philistines. Much to their regret, they have not been able to have children. One day, a mysterious stranger appears to Mara and promises her that she will bear a son whom she is to call Samson. The stranger tells her that as one chosen by God Samson will fight the Philistines, will have immense strength at his disposal, but that he may never cut his hair (or drink alcohol); otherwise this gift will be lost. Samson is born and as foretold he grows into a boy with amazing strength. As time passes, Samson becomes an attractive young man and young women begin to interest him more and more. Naomi, a pretty but rather melancholic girl, falls deeply in love with him. During a walk Samson learns the young woman's story. When she was a small child, her village was exterminated by the Philistines and her whole family butchered. Since then Naomi has not only been in mourning, but... Written by
Although their story in the Old Testament only spans three chapters in the Book of Judges, the popular tale of Samson and Delilah is stretched out into a three hour entry mini series here. All the characters (many not mentioned by name in the scriptures) are elaborated upon, as is the situation between the Israelites and the Philistines. The Gaza court is well (if a bit predictably) portrayed: Michael Gambon as wise King Hanun is constantly bickering with his hotheaded (and red bearded) son Sidqa (Ben Becker). Well cast Liz Hurley plays the part of Delilah both slutty and posh as the king's niece, while top billed Dennis Hopper portrays the smart and sarcastic General Tariq. Hopper gets some of the best lines, but fails to give them that George Sanders delivery and is the only one looking out of place in these settings and costumes.
Delilah only really figures in the last part of Samson's story, but there are enough scenes featuring her and the Philistines to justify her name in the title. Actually, the two main characters almost meet in part one, where she turns out to be the main reason why Samson fought that animatronic lion from Jim Henson's Creature Shop. In the title role, Eric Thal is a virtual babe magnet himself, rescuing the outspoken Naomi (Jale Arikan) before choosing a Philistine bride (Deborah Caprioglio) to the dismay of his parents (reliable Diana Rigg and Paul Freeman). Screenwriter Alan Scott put great emphasis on Samson's search for a purpose in life, making him comes across a very modern (i. e. constantly worried) hero.
One point repeatedly made in the Book of Judges is the lawless nature of this time period (between 1200 - 1000 b.c.). This is addressed in a new sub plot concerning the brothers Jehiel and Amram. They betray Samson in order to become rulers themselves, leading to the familiar scene involving the jawbone of an ass. Most of these action sequences are filmed with skewed angles, making Samson look even more like a comic book superhero. To this effect they could not show him mishandling 300 foxes to burn down enemy crops (as it was written). Unfortunately the chapter about tearing the town gates from their hinges is more implied than shown, but this does lead to an interesting bit of foreshadowing for Dennis Hopper's character in the temple.
Director Nic Roeg makes effective use of flashbacks during two crucial scenes, adding greater meaning to both of them. First the love scene between Samson and Delilah is interwoven with scenes from the lion fight and secondly Samson relives his ultimate betrayal when forced to 'witness' the defeat of the Israelite army. The latter scene also resolves the plot strand concerning Jehiel and Amram in a satisfactory way and indeed every character arc is neatly resolved before the end. Shame about all those bouncing foam pillars during the climax though.
8 out of 10
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