Beautiful and Intelligent
There certainly has been a plethora of films about Jesus over the years, from deMille's silent "King of Kings" up to the present day TV mini-series. I feel that this version is clearly the winner. The film is never sensational or vulgar, as are so many biblical "epics," but is extremely moving in its dignified manner. The screenplay is intelligent, the photography gorgeous, and the acting, by an unusual cast not known for its stellar draw, is uncommonly good. Nicholas Ray's direction is first-rate, and the soaring Miklos Rozsa score is unforgettable. Jeffrey Hunter was unfairly ridiculed when the film was first released, and I believe gives a highly underrated performance as Christ. Even the minor players are superb, with the late Brigid Bazlen a frighteningly disturbed Salome. Compared to "King of Kings," George Stevens' "The Greatest Story Ever Told" is embarassingly bad. All in all, a highly worthwhile film experience, told without the glitz and excesses native to so many of those of its ilk.
- May 25, 2000
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