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W. Chrystie Miller,
Erstwhile childhood friends, Judah Ben-Hur and Messala meet again as adults, this time with Roman officer Messala as conqueror and Judah as a wealthy, though conquered, Israelite. A slip of a brick during a Roman parade causes Judah to be sent off as a galley slave, his property confiscated and his mother and sister imprisoned. Years later, as a result of his determination to stay alive and his willingness to aid his Roman master, Judah returns to his homeland an exalted and wealthy Roman athlete. Unable to find his mother and sister, and believing them dead, he can think of nothing else than revenge against Messala.Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
The 1925 version of Ben-Hur is an outstanding example of silent film making at it's best. With the proverbial cast of thousands, it compares favorably with it's more expensive and lavish 1959 remake. Had the Academy Awards been given out at this time, Ben-Hur would undoubtedly have won it's share.
The video version that I saw was restored to it's original splendor complete with tints and two color technicolor sequences, They are quite spectacular and hold up quite well today. The birth of Christ sequence is most memorable.
The flagship sequences, the sea battle and the chariot race, are expertly staged and remain the most exciting parts of the picture. They are as good as those in the 1959 version.
The casting is, for the most part, excellent. Ramon Navarro as Judah and Francis X. Bushman as Messala stand out. The only problem is the casting of May McEvoy as Esther. With her blond hair, blue eyes and riglets, she looks more like a Mary Pickford want to be than a Jewish slave girl.
Despite all of it's well documented production problems, Ben-Hur still is one of the best movies of all time, silent or sound.
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