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From the Manger to the Cross; or, Jesus of Nazareth (1912)

TV-PG | | Biography, Drama | 1913 (USA)
An account of the life of Jesus Christ, based on the books of the New Testament: After Jesus' birth is foretold to his parents, he is born in Bethlehem, and is visited by shepherds and wise... See full summary »

Director:

Sidney Olcott

Writer:

Gene Gauntier (scenario)
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Cast

Cast overview:
R. Henderson Bland ... Jesus - the Man (as Robert Henderson-Bland)
Percy Dyer Percy Dyer ... Jesus as a Youth
Gene Gauntier ... Mary
Alice Hollister ... Mary Magdalene
Samuel Morgan Samuel Morgan ... Pilate
James D. Ainsley ... John the Baptist
Robert G. Vignola ... Judas
George Kellog George Kellog ... Herod
J.P. McGowan ... Wise Man 1
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Storyline

An account of the life of Jesus Christ, based on the books of the New Testament: After Jesus' birth is foretold to his parents, he is born in Bethlehem, and is visited by shepherds and wise men. After a stay in Egypt to avoid King Herod, his family settles in Nazareth. After years of preparation, Jesus gathers together a group of disciples, and then begins to speak publicly and to perform miracles, inspiring hope in many of his listeners, but also arousing some dangerous opposition. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

TV-PG
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1913 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jesus of Nazareth See more »

Filming Locations:

Bethlehem, Palestine See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Kalem Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The costumes were based on an 1894 watercolor exhibition by James Joseph Jacques Tissot, entitled "Vie de Notre Seigneur, Jesus Christ." See more »

Alternate Versions

Kino International released a video copyrighted by Film Preservation Associates in 1994. Based on the 6-reel 1919 Vitagraph version, it has a new organ score compiled and performed by Timothy Howard, and runs 71 minutes. See more »

Connections

Version of The Visual Bible: Matthew (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

 
FIRST AMERICAN FEATURE FILM WELL DONE
9 February 2004 | by Auburn668See all my reviews

Director Sidney Olcott did not have a stunning career. If anything it was mediocre at best. But on this effort he played above his head, perhaps not even realizing it. "From the Manger to the Cross" is a beautiful film, rich in substance and well acted as well.

The story is well known and Olcott details all of Christ's shining biblical moments in a series of scenes that overcomes many setbacks of the early 1910's. Of particular note is the way he uses a large cast to still convey the emotions present during a particular scene. Christ's admittance to his disciples that his days on earth are numbered come to mind here. On location shooting, no easy task for its day considering the entire thing was done in Egypt and Palestine, would definitely be another.

Even with these tools, the film may have fallen flat were it not for Robert Henderson-Bland's portrayal of Jesus. When the most crucial aspects of the Messiah's personality are the things he said, how can a silent film succeed in showing his substance? Answer: facial expressions and body language. And Bland, without the as yet invented close-up, shines in showing Christ as a man of wisdom, gentleness, and courage. Bland's Jesus is still among the finest to ever grace a screen and we're closing in on a century of film following it. Robert Vignola's Judas also deserves a mention as well.

It also bares mentioning that Timothy Howard's organ score, added in 1994 upon the film's home release, is a beautiful addition. In 1998 "From the Manger to the Cross" was given the highest honor a film can receive: it was added to the National Film Registry, an accolade it well deserves. For now and all time it should be recognized not only as America's first feature film but as a testament to what can be accomplished in the name of art and love when all of the pieces fall into the right place at the right time. Olcott and Henderson-Bland forever have a much deserved home in film history's hall of fame.

The nutshell: required viewing for directing, acting, technological achievement, and artistic beauty...8/10.


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