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Samson and Delilah (1902)

Samson et Dalila (original title)
This picture describes the well-known biblical story of Samson and Delila. The picture commences with Samson's visit to Gaza, a city of the Philistines. While there they closed the gates ... See full summary »




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This picture describes the well-known biblical story of Samson and Delila. The picture commences with Samson's visit to Gaza, a city of the Philistines. While there they closed the gates upon him and set watchmen to defend them, intending to put him to death on the following day. Samson slept until midnight, and then arose. Upon reaching the gates, he slew the watchman, pulled down the gates and carried them to the top of an adjoining hill, where he left them to the confusion and disappointment of the Philistines. After many feats of this kind, Samson permitted himself to become infatuated with a treacherous woman among the Philistines, named Delila. He revealed to her that the secret of his strength lay in the fact that, being a Nazarite, he never had cut his hair. After hearing this, she waited until Samson was asleep, and then having cut off his seven locks, called out that the Philistines were coming. Samson, on awakening, found his strength gone, and Delila, having called in the ... Written by Lubin Catalog

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Drama | Short





Release Date:

25 April 1904 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Samson and Delilah  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Version of Samson and Delilah (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

Biblical pageantry, with an unforgettable finale
20 October 2002 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

Even viewers who are sympathetic to very early silent movies are likely to chuckle at this well intentioned but inept, one-reel rendition of the story of Samson and Delilah. Still, this film is not without interest for buffs, and it happily survives with original hand-colored tints intact. The color resembles Victorian postcard imagery, which is appropriate since the performing style is consistent with what we imagine as Victorian Drama: scenes of stiff pageantry animated by occasional bursts of arm-waving and operatic posing. This is very much a photographed stage performance of community theater quality, highly histrionic. The sets are obviously painted stage flats. Actors enter from the wings, cross, gesticulate, and then exit as they would on stage, while the camera sits back in the tenth row or thereabouts and never moves or enters the action.

Early on, Samson demonstrates his great strength by ripping a huge door off its hinges-- but we laugh, because the door is clearly a prop made of painted canvas stretched over balsa wood, and we can see the thing buckling as he lifts it. And the ending is a hoot! (WARNING: I guess this is a possible "spoiler" if you're unfamiliar with the Bible and Cecil B. DeMille.) After Delilah has clipped Samson's locks, depriving him of his strength, he is marched out into the stadium to be publicly humiliated. (Oddly, they left out the part about blinding him in this version.) Samson watches, writhing in apparent pain, as a team of awkward dancing girls perform a half-hearted, Isadora Duncan-style routine, sort of a lumbering Ode to Spring. This performance so enrages our hero that he tears away the stadium's central column, causing the structure to crash down in pieces-- on the dancers! For the finale, Samson's triumphant spirit, accompanied by angels, is seen rising out of the rubble en route to the Pearly Gates.

Well, what more can I say? They don't make 'em like this anymore!

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