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[«] Posts From the Blog "Bible Films Blog"(#27)

March 20 2017, 4PM

This weekend I'll be taking part in the Early Women Filmmakers Blogathon. It's hosted by Fritzi Kramer's site Movies Silently.I'll be reviewing Alice Guy's La naissance, la vie et la mort du Christ (1906) which I wrote a scene guide for back in June last ...

March 12, 5AM

This is the third in a series looking at the Biblical Epic GenreIn my last post in this series I was looking at the criteria that various scholars have come up with to help classify the biblical epic. In this post I'm going to draw up my own "list" before... [Epic Genre]

March 10, 2AM

Day of Triumph's claim to fame in the pantheon of Jesus films is often misreported, but essentially it's this: it was the sound era's first American film about the life of Jesus to appear in cinemas. Between it's release in December 1954 and the previous ... [Day of Triumph]

March 5, 4AM

Despite the many Bible films to have been released to DVD in the last twenty years one that has been curiously omitted up to this point is 1954's Day of Triumph. Thankfully the good people at the Gospel Films Archive/Christian Movie Classics (whose other ... [Day of Triumph]

February 17, 8AM

The Last Days of Pompeii is one of the few Bible movies that is also a disaster movie. From the moment it start we know how it's going to end - badly. It's title is the ultimate spoiler, in a genre hardly renown for its unexpected plot twists. Indeed perh... [Jesus Cameos]

February 15, 6PM

Whilst the late nineties had proved a fruitful time for television and church backed projects, by the turn of the century the major studios had considered the Bible film genre was dead. The experimental period had provided some success with smaller projec... [Passion of the Christ]

February 8, 12 PM

This is the second in a series looking at the Biblical Epic GenreIn my last post in this series I was looking at the arguments for and against there being a Biblical Epic genre. In this posts I want to consider what the defining characteristics of that ge... [Epic Genre]

February 1, 1PM

I want to look at the question of if there is a 'Biblical Epic' genre? It's a question where it's tempting to jump to snap answers, but on closer inspection the issues blur a little. Certainly if the genre 'Biblical Epic' exists then the case is less clea... [Epic Genre]

January 26, 3PM

The title of Bruno Dumont's La Vie de Jesus (The Life of Jesus, 1997) may catch the eye of those like me, but its biblical themes are far more subtle than the title would immediately suggest.La Vie de Jesus is about Freddy, a rebellious teenager from a de... [Other Films]

January 21, 12 PM

This essay isn't so much of a review as a look at some of the film's main themes. As such it will contain spoilers though there are not any particularly shocking twists that would be spoilt by what I discuss below. It's also very much a work-in-progress,s... [Nativity - Mary Joseph]

January 18, 5PM

Martin Scorsese's Silence is a film of contradictions. Narratively simple, but thematically complex. Hauntingly beautiful, yet unbearable ugly in so much of what it portrays. Its a film that bears so many of the hallmarks of Scorsese's style yet feels com... [Scorsese]

December 19 2016, 1PM

I've written several times about films based on the Book of Judith and director Alex Méndez Giner has been kind enough to share with me his 2015 short The Book of Judith (view trailer).The film is not an attempt to directly adapt the Book of Judith, nor ... [Judith]

December 11, 4PM

Heremias isn't really Bible film. In fact it's not really even a Jeremiah figure film. Nevertheless the unusual choice of name for Lav Diaz's film and its title character invites comparison with the biblical prophet and the book that bears his name, and t...

November 5, 5AM

I started writing an introduction for piece about how Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was a real game changer for the genre but then that spun off in all kinds of interesting ways that I hadn't anticipated and, given the deadline I'm trying to work... [Canon and Bible films]

October 24, 10AM

October 17, 10AM

This is the latest in a series of posts about the relationship between the Bible, the idea of canonicity and film.The "Golden Era" of Bile films ended with a series of perceived failures leading the major studios to be cautious about investing more money ... [Canon and Bible films]

October 8, 12 AM

This is the latest in a series of posts about the relationship between the Bible, the idea of canonicity and film.Just as cinema saw off the challenges of the great depression and the second world war, it faced a new problem - the rise of the television s... [Canon and Bible films]

October 2, 12 PM

Back in 2009 I wrote a post on films about Joshua but I was a little short on ideas. Since then, however, I've become aware of several more, and indeed thought of several I should have included in the first place, so I thought it was about time I revisite... [Joshua] [Moses the Lawgiver]

September 25, 6AM

Until recently there had been precious few films about Joshua, though for some reason when I wrote a previous post on the subject I forgot about this entry from the Living Bible Old Testament series. As I was researching for something else I'm writing at ... [Joshua] [Living Bible] [Living Bible Old Testament]

September 8, 4PM

Whilst it's only been six years since the story of Ben-Hur was last on our screens, it's been 57 years since it was playing in cinemas, so, given the huge success of that 1959 version - itself a remake of a remake - it was only a matter of time before som... [Ben Hur] [Jesus Cameos]

August 24, 1PM

I've been watching quite a bit of Luis Buñuel recently and just finished watching The Young One (1960). Without giving too much away a significant part of the plot hangs on the presence of a priest, which is noteworthy for two reasons.Firstly because Bu... [Buñuel] [Other Films]

August 23, 10AM

Bigger than Ben-Hur: The Book, its Adaptations, & their AudiencesEdited by Barbara Ryan & Milette ShamirSyracuse University Press269 pagesISBN 978-0815634034 (Paperback)With the latest cinematic version of in cinemas at the moment, readers might be intere... [Ben Hur] [Books]

August 6, 1AM

Shadow of Nazareth is unusual amongst Jesus films because it sits, somewhat awkwardly between films that are primarily about Jesus, and those where Jesus is a peripheral player, making the odd cameo appearance in an occasional scene.The opening credits gi... [Jesus Cameos] [Silent Bible Films]

August 3, 10AM

Despite having been the subject of some of the very earliest Bible films, the various stories from the Book of Daniel rather fell from favour, to the extent that Slaves of Babylon is the only feature length take on one of the Israel's most iconic prophets... [1 and 2 Kings] [Daniel]

July 28, 9AM

This is the latest in a series of posts about the relationship between the Bible, the idea of canonicity and film.The start of the sound era was a time of great development and innovation, but it saw a severe drop off in the production of Bible films. The... [Canon and Bible films]

July 26, 1AM

Carl Theodor Dreyer is rightly revered as a filmmaker of some repute, whose bold and uncompromising films, such as Ordet (1954) and La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (1928) offer and austere, yet beautiful, exploration of human passions kept in check.S... [intolerance] [Silent Bible Films]

July 20, 12 AM

The latter part of the silent era saw a distinct change from cinema's early days . Perhaps the most significant change was that films gradually moved from short films - originally less than a minute - to epics of three hours long. By the end of the silent... [Canon and Bible films] [Silent Bible Films]

July 18, 11AM

Robert Wiene will, rightly, always be best remembered for his 1920 expressionistic classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, but by 1923 with his best work already behind him, Wiene turned his attention to the subject of Jesus. The result was INRI, released in... [Silent Bible Films]

July 9, 8PM

This post is my entry to the Sword and Sandal Blogathon hosted by @DebbieVee of the Moon in Gemini blogIn 1955 would-be makers of epic films faced a dilemma. On the one hand biblical films had suddenly become popular and the studios, desperate to cash in,...

July 7, 12 AM

I'm pleased to announce that I'm going to be partaking in the Sword and Sandal which is taking place from the 8th-10th July 2016. I decided to join in quite a while ago and have been looking forward to taking part in something bigger than my own little co...

July 3, 3AM

Thanhouser's The Star of Bethlehem (dir. Lawrence Marston, 1912) originally ran to three reels, but only around one reel's worth of footage (~1000ft) has survived. Thankfully this is one of the many silent films that the present day Thanhouser has made av... [Nativity - Mary Joseph] [Silent Bible Films]

July 2, 4AM

Please note this post is very much a work in progress and as such a few parts of it need closer fact checkingIn the previous two posts in this series I looked at how the cinema of the early silent era treated the Hebrew Bible and the Gospels. I know want ... [Canon and Bible films] [Silent Bible Films]

June 27, 1AM

In my previous entry in this series I was looking at how the stories from the Hebrew Bible that the earliest filmmakers adapted into the first silent Bible movies. The idea of canonicity naturally leads to thinking about which books of the Bible have been... [Canon and Bible films] [Silent Bible Films]

June 17, 4PM

For a long time I've been meaning to sit down and actually watch La naissance, la vie et la mort du Christ (The Birth, Life and Death of Christ, 1906) and last night I finally did. I'm going to save my proper review until I've done a bit more background ... [Scene Guides] [Silent Bible Films]

June 6, 4PM

A common response when I mention silent film versions of Shakespeare is confusion. A look that says "but how would that even work?", usually followed by a question as to how they "do the speeches". And it's not just my friends. I'm really enjoying Daniel ...

June 3, 8PM

At the end of last year I started a series looking at how the idea of "canon" relates to the Bible on Film. There's not been much on it recently maybe because I decided that to write on the subject with any authority I needed to do some proper research an... [1 and 2 Kings] [Canon and Bible films] [Daniel] [Jephthah] [Judith] [Silent Bible Films]

May 23, 3PM

Way back in 2009 I compiled a scene guide for The Bible Collection's 1998 film Jeremiah and concluded a write up of a few additional comments on it by saying:I'm going to make a separate post another day to look at the way that the Jeremiah of this film p... [Bible Collection (The)] [Jeremiah]

May 13, 1AM

I reviewed 40 Nights, the first entry in DJ Perry's The Quest Trilogy, last month and Perry was kind enough to do me an interview to share with you all. Whilst he's clearly motivated by his faith it's good to read a Christian filmmaker discuss his work wi... [40 Nights] [Quest Trilogy]

May 11, 3PM

In addition to watching and writing a lot about Bible films, I'm also a big fan of silent movies, so when the two come together I'm always pretty interested. And when the two come together for one night only, with a live symphony orchestra it's like your ... [Ben Hur] [Silent Bible Films]

April 30, 3AM

At a basic level filmmaking is all about choices. Where to position the camera, how to deliver a particular line, how to arrange the characters in the shot and so on. With Bible films these choices become all the more significant - you're adapting a text ... [40 Nights] [Quest Trilogy]

April 24, 4PM

Last week I posted a silent Bible film puzzle that I was struggling to identify and as I've been struggling with others all week I thought I might turn it into a series. (There's a very old couple of posts that fit with this series as well at that link).A... [Joseph (Genesis)] [Silent Bible Film Mysteries] [Silent Bible Films]

April 17, 3AM

At present I'm doing some work on a list of films from the Hebrew Bible. It's one of those tasks that you start off thinking will be a big job and then it turns out to be massive. The end is in sight but I'm left trying to figure out if certain films are ... [Esther] [Silent Bible Films]

April 12, 3PM

Back in 2013 I wrote a piece about the portrayal of Jephthah on film. Since then I have become aware of several other films about Jephthah, so I thought I would bring them all together here. I'm aware of five in total, though in an age when anyone can own... [Jephthah] [Lists] [Silent Bible Films]

March 31, 4PM

Killing Jesus (2015), based on Bill O'Reilly's 2013 book of the same name has the veneer of being history, but very little of the substance. At a glance the veneer is fairly convincing. Jesus (Haaz Sleiman) is of Middle-Eastern descent - Lebanese to be pr... [Killing Jesus]

March 28, 3AM

Following on from the success of 2012's documentary In the Footsteps of St Paul and last year's In the Footsteps of St. Peter (2015) the BBC's main Easter offering this year was In the Footsteps of Judas. This time however, the programme wa... [Documentaries] [Judas]

March 14, 12 PM

Jean Luc Godard had been established as one of the masters of cinema for over thirty years by the time he wrote, directed and produced his fascinating exploration into the nature of the incarnation in 1985. Godard began as a writer for "Cahiers du Cinema"...

March 11, 6PM

I first blogged about the film adaption of Anne Rice's novel "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt" almost decade ago. So it's a little frustrating that now it has finally made it to the big screen - albeit under the new name Young Messiah - I have no way of see... [Christ the Lord] [Young Messiah]

March 4, 4PM

Hail Caesar! is not the first time the Coen brothers have delved into Hollywood's golden era. Barton Fink (1991) was the dark story of an up and coming writer with a crippling mental block and the devil for a neighbour. Fast forward 25 years and the Cohen... [Jesus Cameos]

February 28, 7PM

Spencer William's Blood of Jesus (1941) is not a Bible film as such, though it contains characters from the Bible, namely satan, and various quotes from the New Testament. It's also a little known and under-appreciated film from a period when the Bible ba...

February 26, 10PM

On Monday I was speaking to a class of students at York St. John University about four Jesus films: Il vangelo secondo Matteo, The Last Temptation of Christ, Jesus of Montreal and The Passion of the Christ. I've spoken about all of them before, of course,... [Jesus of Montreal]

February 19, 12 AM

63 years ago now, The Robe broke new ground by being the first film to be shot in a widescreen aspect ratio. Whilst the makers of Risen don't quite share that ambition, they have made a film which tells a similar story, that of a sceptical Roman soldier ... [risen]

February 11, 2AM

...or maybe not. But in any case last week I got the chance to go to Rome. For a special preview screening of Risen. The opportunity came my way thanks to my friend Peter Chattaway so we agreed I'd write up a report of the event for his blog before the fi... [risen]

February 3, 2PM

Of all the silent Jesus films that I have reviewed for this blog Der Galiläer is the most wonderfully composed; it is also the one that most unmistakably reflects the anti-Semitism that was rife in interwar Germany. For many that is a reason to avoid it,... [Silent Bible Films]

February 1, 11AM

Whilst the path the film treads is not unpredictable, you might want to look away if you've not seen it as I'm going to give away a few key spoilers.As I'm heading to Roman this week, I watched the 2000 Italian film Malèna last week. The film, set during... [Mary Magdalene] [Passion of the Christ]

January 25, 1PM

It's fair to say that when DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenberg began dreaming up his new studio with his partners David Geffen and Steven Spielberg he would probably have been shocked to know his studio would soon become a byword for popular but unremarkable k... [children] [Moses] [Prince of Egypt]

January 18, 2AM

I finally managed to catch up with Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street last night and as I'm also preparing a talk on his Last Temptation of Christ I was looking out for similarities between Wolf and Scorsese's other work, particularly his Jesus bio... [Last Temptation of Christ] [Other Films]

January 2, 11AM

One of the things that is most powerful about studying the Bible on film is the way it forces you to look at the biblical texts through another's eyes. It enables us to see our blind spots and to catch things we might otherwise we may have missed. It can ... [Dinah] [Genesis] [Genèse] [Jacob] [Joseph (Genesis)]

December 21 2015, 4PM

Ben Hur is that rarest of Bible films - one that was both commercially and critically successful. The winner of an unprecedented 11 Oscars and still 13th in the list highest grossing films at the US box office (when adjusted for inflation) it's achie... [Ben Hur]

December 15, 6PM

Over the years there have been various books and articles written on the development of Bible films some of which have attempted to sub-divide the material in some way. Whilst some have done this thematically (e.g. Adele Reinhartz's "Jesus of Hollywood") ... [Canon and Bible films] [Lists]

December 12, 2AM

Having looked at The Red Tent last month I thought I'd things off with a quick look at how different films portray the incident with Dinah, her brothers and the Shechemites. Given that it's a relatively obscure part of Genesis, it has only been cover... [Bible Collection (The)] [Dinah] [Genesis] [Genèse] [Red Tent]

December 6, 1PM

This post is number 2 in a series looking at the idea of canonicity and how it might relate to the subject of film and the Bible. Image info below1In the first part of this series I laid out three main areas where the idea of canonicity might be helpful, ... [Canon and Bible films]

November 29, 6PM

One of the films I didn't cover in last year's whistle stop tour of David movies was this entry into the popular Veggie-Tales series, Dave and the Giant Pickle. As with most of the other episodes in this series, the leading characters are played by CGI an... [David] [Veggie-Tales]

November 27, 6PM

I wanted to throw out a few thoughts about the idea of canonicity and Bible Films. The first thing to say is that there are perhaps three, somewhat related ideas at play here. The first is the idea of how the biblical canon has been portrayed in films. Wh... [Canon and Bible films]

November 23, 2AM

There's been some discussion about this story in the press and on social media and so whilst this isn't technically a post about the Bible and film, it is sort of about church sponsored films being shown, or not shown, in the cinema.Details are still emer...

November 22, 1PM

Editor: Rhonda Burnette-BletschPublisher: Walter de Gruyter Date: February 15, 2016Language: EnglishLength: 900 pages*Price (Hardback/eBook): £180/$335 ISBN: 978-1614515616It gives me great pleasure to announce the release of this two-volume work on the ... [Bible in Motion] [Books]

November 19, 11AM

I reviewed Roger Young's adaptation of The Red Tent a few weeks back, but I wanted to offer a few thoughts on the way the scenes relate to the text in Genesis. However, in contrast to my usual scene guide format I'm not going to point out where there's ex... [Genesis] [Jacob] [Red Tent] [Scene Guides]

November 14, 5PM

The Robe is famous for being the first major widescreen movie. It's a distinction that brings it far greater attention than the spate of other Roman-Christian movies released around the same time but means that it's other achievements are somewhat overloo... [Jesus Cameos]

November 12, 2PM

My wife is an artist and quite a few years ago now she went through a phase of painting on circular canvases. It's a concept that goes at least as far back as Hieronymus Bosch's works such as "Christ Crowned with Thorns" and "Table of the Seven Deadly Sin... [paradise lost] [Satan]

November 7, 4AM

"My name means nothing to you. My memory is dust... I became a footnote, my story a brief detour between the well-known history of my father Jacob, and the celebrated chronicle of Joseph, my brother." So Dinah (The White Queen's Rebecca Ferguson) int... [Bible Collection (The)] [Genesis] [Jacob] [Red Tent]

October 19, 9AM

Five years ago I started watching the 1972 Peter O'Toole vehicle The Ruling Class - I even wrote a blog post on it - but for some reason I had never got around to finishing watching it until last week.O'Toole stars as the 14th Earl of Gurney, a mad aristo...

September 12, 3PM

Four years before The Ten Commandments Charlton Heston and Cecil B. DeMille teamed up for a different kind of big film The Greatest Show on Earth (1952). It was the only best picture Oscar of DeMille's career and such a huge hit that without it Ten Comman...

August 25, 5PM

Just as the surprise success of The Passion of the Christ inspired various producers to give the green light to a number of Bible films, a generation before another surprisingly successful Bible film also inspired a handful of copy-cat pictures. Monty Pyt... [Jesus Cameos]

August 18, 4AM

On Sunday we held an outdoor silent film night and we watched Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 classic Battleship Potemkin. It was the first time I had seen the film and enjoyed finally seeing such a well-renown film and finding it matching up to its reputation. ... [Gospel According to St. Matthew] [Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo]

August 7, 1AM

Occasionally I’ve had the pleasure of talking with those who used to study the Bible on Film in the 80s and early 90s and it’s clear that this was a vastly different time to today. One thing is certain: the internet has revolutionised the study of fil...

August 2, 12 PM

Giovanni Columbu’s Su Re was released with so little aplomb in 2012 that the majority of Jesus film commentators, including myself, seemed to completely miss it. It’s a quiet, humble, non-showy and ultimately low budget marketing strategy that is so t... [Su Re (The King)]

July 28, 2AM

There are a lot of animated re-tellings of the story of Moses. More even, perhaps, that there are about Jesus. As a result, I've never really tried to track them all down,nevertheless, when I come across one, I'm usually pretty happy to take a look. This ... [children]

July 24, 1AM

For a little while now, I've been meaning to post about a Jesus film, released back in 2012, by Sardinian director Giovanni ColumbuSu Re (The King) debuted at the Turin Film Festival, but made a bit more of a splash when it was released at the Rotterdam F...

June 3, 12 AM

Back in 2000-01 when The Miracle Maker first got released on VHS I managed to get hold of some form of special edition which also came with a novelized version of the book aimed at children. I always meant to read it and now that my own children are about... [Books] [Miracle Maker]

May 23, 12 AM

I’ve been thinking recently about the ways in which cinema is like other art forms and how that leads to such a variety of different types of film. Indeed even in writing “film” in that last sentence made me think about how differently it would have...

May 15, 12 PM

Earlier in the year the BBC’s Tony Jordan told us the first draft of his script for The Ark ended with the first drop of rain. Now it’s two months later and for this new Noah movie that’s the starting point rather than it’s end.You see whereas man... [children] [Noah]

May 10, 6AM

Paradoxically there's both a familiarity about Spiros Stathoulopoulos' Metéora (2012) and a sense of novelty. It's reminiscent of a number of films which do hear some similarity thematically but are very different in terms of style. It concerns the ordin...

April 20, 4PM

With A.D. The Bible Continues airing on NBC at the moment there's a little talk around about other films based on the Acts of the Apostles and, as it happens, today I received in the post a new book about Roberto Rossellini's whose own take on the book of... [A.D. (NBC)] [Atti Degli Apostoli] [Paul]

April 17, 12 AM

One of the most common criticisms of films about Jesus is that the actors chosen for the leading role are either too good-looking, or too white and, not uncommonly, both together. Recent years, though, have seen a bit of a reversal in that particularly tr... [Islamic Jesus Films]

April 12, 3AM

I watched King of Kings (1961) on Easter Monday for the first time I what seems like a very long time. Whilst I've revisited certain clips in the intervening period it was good to take it in in it's entirety and on a large high definition screen, making t... [King of Kings]

April 5, 4AM

The rise of Simon Peter is an unusual one. He shared more or less the same humble roots as Jesus, but whereas Jesus died in almost the same obscurity and with the same low rank as he began, Peter, if the traditions are to be believed, rose to become the l... [Documentaries] [Peter]

April 3, 1AM

What do "Late Great Planet Earth" and Luis Buñuel have in common? Well if the IMDb is to be believed the answer is Rolf Forsberg. The first part of that comparison is fact: Forsberg directed the 1979 movie based on Hal Lindsay's bewilderingly succe... [Gospel Films Archive]

March 31, 3PM

I must admit I'm a big fan of Darren Aronofsky's Noah from 2014. It's a huge, dark exploration of- some of the textual and philosophical issues surrounding the flood story written in bold, dramatic tones. Tony Jordan's The Ark is not those things, indeed ... [Noah] [The Ark (BBC)]

March 29, 3PM

Dawn of Victory (1966) is one of the four titles that form part of the Gospel Film Archive's 2015 Easter Collection. It's later than many of the films released by the GFA and whilst it still clearly made on a limited budget, it's a more accomplished produ... [Gospel Films Archive]

March 28, 4PM

Last night saw what appears to be Channel 5's Easter religious offering the first in an supposedly four-part series called Mysteries of the Bible. I say "supposedly" because despite it being claimed in numerous places that this was the first episode of fo... [Documentaries]

March 25, 1AM

Among the various Bible film related productions airing this Easter is this new BBC documentary David Suchet: In The Footsteps Of St Peter. The series is a follow up to Suchet’s 2012 documentary In the Footsteps of Saint Paul and follows a similar forma... [Big Book Media] [Documentaries] [Peter]

March 20, 12 AM

With Lent progressing rapidly the publicity for all the Bible films being released this Easter is hotting up. CNN's Finding Jesus has already shown a few episodes, more and more is emerging about Bill Reilly's Killing Jesus and likewise with A.D..The BBC ... [Bible Films in Production] [The Ark (BBC)]

March 17, 5PM

Whilst we await the results of the Israeli election I've been enjoying a TV series about the potential demise of another Israeli Prime Minister in Bnei Aruba (Hostages, 2013). I mention it here because the lead character is Dr. Yael Danon, a surgeon who i... [Judges]

March 14, 2AM

Many years ago I won a copy of the cine projector release of this film and have been waiting for our family projector to get into a fit state to be able to watch it. Having finally got around to seeing it I’ve now found out that the Gospel Films Archive... [Living Christ Series]

March 8, 10AM

Luis Buñuel is one of a small group of directors whose work started in the silent era and ran way into the 1970s. As a big fan of another member of that exclusive club - Alfred Hitchcock - it’s tempting to get drawn into comparisons between the t...

February 28, 6PM

At the start of the year I posted an article listing most of the Bible related films that are due to appear during 2015. Somehow, though, I managed to miss out CNN's six-part documentary Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery, despite the fact that my friend... [Documentaries]

February 26, 5PM

This review contains mild SPOILERS throughout, though they are not significant enough to actually spoil anyone’s enjoyment of the film who is, at least, familiar with the story of Job.It’s not often I drive 50 miles to go and see a film, so when my fr... [Job]

February 21, 4PM

I'm finally sitting down to watch 1958's The Vikings starring Kirk Douglas. It's notable for a number of reasons not least teaming up Douglas with Tony Curtis for the first time, two years ahead of Spartacus. But I was struck in the early scenes between t... [King of Kings]

February 15, 2PM

I'm currently reading David Shepherd's "The Bible on Silent Film" and have been really interested, so far, by what I've read. Silent Bible films are one of the things I've discussed throughout the 9 year history of this blog going right back to some of my... [Life and Passion of Jesus Christ] [Silent Bible Films]

January 31, 8AM

Mark Goodacre is currently teaching a module on Jesus in Film which is good news for the rest of us as it has led to him uploading his Celluloid Jesus pages again, as well as adding a substantial amount of new material and a few extra blog posts to boot.T... [Jesus of Nazareth] [Life of Brian]

January 16, 6PM

Having reviewed 2014's Bible film offerings I thought it would be a good idea to preview some of the films that will be appearing on both the big and small screen across the course of the next 12 months. In contrast to last year - where it was the films b... [A.D. (NBC)] [Bible Films in Production] [Clavius] [David] [Killing Jesus] [Last Days in the Desert] [Mary Mother of the Christ] [The Ark (BBC)]

January 7, 4PM

In previous years, I’ve offered a review of the year, although this has rather fallen by the wayside in recent time. However, 2014 was a bit of a stonker, so it would seem remiss not to do at least something.The big news was, of course, the long awaited... [Books] [Exodus: Gods and Kings] [Genesis] [Gospel of John] [Jacob] [Life of Brian] [Noah (2014)] [Reviews of the Years]

January 3, 8PM

In a year of many Bible films being released, one that rather flew under the radar is On Angel Wings, an animated retelling of the Nativity Story directed by Dave Unwin. Whilst Unwin was also involved with writing the screenplay, the main writing credits ... [Nativity - Mary Joseph]

January 2, 5AM

Given its big-budget and epic scale, it's tempting to think of Ridley Scott's Exodus: God's and Kings as a remake of The Ten Commandments (1956) for the 3D age, but in many ways it's more of a live action remake of The Prince of Egypt (1998). Certainly th... [Moses]

September 22 2014, 3PM

Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain is, I suppose, a Jesus film of sorts. But it's not hard to see it's rarely discussed along with more conventional takes on the story. Jodorowsky's dark surrealist vision is riddled with images that will tend to off...

August 31, 2AM

I had the privilege of speaking at this year's Greenbelt festival on "The Depressives of the Bible". Afterwards a couple of people asked if they could get hold of my conclusion to the talk which was a reworking of the famous passage on faith in Hebrews 11... [Greenbelt]

February 13, 10AM

British/Israeli production A Story of David is the only modern-era David film not to feature his victory over Goliath. Instead, it bravely starts it's tale during the period when David is well-established at court. His slaying of the giant has led to prom... [David]

February 11, 12 PM

The title may read David and Goliath, but really it's all about Orson Welles' Saul. It's unclear what possessed Welles - a director of sublime talent - to get involved in this film, where very little talent is on display, but nevertheless he did and his p... [David]

February 7, 2AM

The The Living Bible series tends to stick very rigidly to the biblical text and the three episodes that feature David are no exception, so I've not got a huge amount of comments on these films. I say "three" because the elderly David does appear at the s... [David] [Solomon]

February 6, 1PM

Like The Story of David, Bruce Beresford's King David (1985) also tries to fit the majority of the events of David's life into a single storyline. However, as with that film King David also starts with Saul's sparing of the Amalekite king Agag.What follow... [David]

February 2, 1PM

Saul e David by Italian director Marcello Baldi is a much undervalued member of the Bible films canon. So much so, in fact, that despite it having sat in my film library for many years I had to be reminded of it recently by Witlessd.The image above occurs... [David]

February 1, 7AM

I have a great deal of sympathy for King Saul. I've experienced depression myself and have several close friends who have also struggled with it, so it, no doubt, makes me empathise with those whose minds trouble them.It would be foolish, of course, to tr... [Bible Miniseries (History Channel)] [David]

January 28, 4PM

Of all the films about David easily the most ambitious is Rei Davi. Indeed with 30 episodes and perhaps as much as 20 hours of footage it's probably the most ambitious project to film the Bible that has successfully been brought to fruition. The series wa... [David]

January 26, 2PM

The latest in this series of films about David is this entry from The Greatest Heroes of the Bible series and I have to say it exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations. Perhaps the main reason for this is the filmmakers decision to limit the story to tha... [David]

January 17, 5PM

Somewhere in the 70s someone decided it was OK to do away with even the pretence of authenticity in casting biblical films and just go for sun-bleached blonds instead. So we get Ted Neeley and the super-blond Robert Elfstrom playing Jesus in 1973, Blanch... [David]

January 16, 3PM

(Warning: sometimes I write well, intelligently and interestingly. Other times I seem to be more driven by a desire to record everything, even if it's dull and meandering so at least I know where to find it if I ever need to. Sadly for all concerned this ... [David] [Silent Bible Films]

January 3, 1PM

Le festin de Balthazar (Belshazzar's Feast - 1905) is one of three short films made by Pathé that were also packaged as the one-reeler Martyrs chrétiens (also 1905), and of the three it is undoubtedly the most interesting and technically acco... [Daniel] [Silent Bible Films]

December 24 2013, 4PM

It's long been the policy of this blog to try and focus on a film's positives, rather than picking apart their many negatives. After all, with a genre like this, it would be rather like shooting fish in a barrel.It's an approach that is sorely tested some... [Nativity - Mary Joseph]

December 10, 2PM

Back in 1998, The Prince of Egypt was a surprise hit, not only turning in a profit, but launching a whole new animated studio to challenge the dominance of Disney. Hardly surprising, then, that two years later Dreamworks sought to cash in on their success... [children] [Genesis] [Joseph (Genesis)] [Prince of Egypt]

November 30, 9AM

The History Channel's miniseries The Bible finally arrives in the UK tonight tucked away on Channel 5. I've written a few bits and pieces on some of the episodes here, but my main review of the series as a whole has just gone up at Ken Morefield's 1 More ... [Bible Miniseries (History Channel)]

November 12, 12 PM

El Can't Dels Ocells means Birdsong, but there's barely a bird to be seen, let alone heard. It's also about the three kings, but their royalty is similarly silent. This is perhaps the least monarchical depiction of Jesus' royal visitors that I can re... [Birdsong] [Nativity - Mary Joseph]

October 29, 2PM

I've been meant to be writing a proper piece on the History Channel's The Bible miniseries for quite a time now, but on top of having too much else to do and exhaustion to contend with, I now find myself with a major case of writer's block. Fun times. Get...

October 23, 2AM

A while back, one of the churches I'm involved with has asked me about good clips for use in a series on Joseph. I've been flat out recently, so I suspect I'm too late to be of any use, but I thought I'd highlight a couple of films that might be useful fo... [Lists] [Genesis] [Joseph (Genesis)]

September 30, 11PM

Four years after the 1909 Vitagraph film of the same name Warner's Features released another Jephthah's Daughter, four times the length of the original (though at 25 minutes it was still far shorter than some of the 70+minute films that were starting to b... [Silent Bible Films] [Judges]

8PM

It seems like a bit of a cheat to call this piece the definitive guide to Jephthah in film; after all there are only two of them. Aside from this pair of early silent films, the complex and controversial story of Jephthah has been overlooked by filmmakers... [Silent Bible Films] [Judges]

September 15, 2PM

Having meandered in my last few blog posts I thought I really ought to get back on talking about Bible films again. I'm still working my way through the silent bible films I studied from the Joye collection almost a year ago now - not to mention those I s...

August 29, 1PM

I was asked to give a five minute introduction to Roman Polanski's classic neo-noir Chinatown at last week's Greenbelt Festival so I thought I would post up what I said. It's a film I've loved since I first watched it and preparing for this talk and watch...

August 11, 9AM

I've been having another look at Amos recently, in particular reading Dow Kirkpatrick's interesting Bible study guide to the book that bears his name.In contrast, one of my churches is returning to the story of Joseph son of Jacob in the autumn and has as...

July 18, 3AM

One of the most interesting things about the Hebrew Bible is the emergence of different voices offering conflicting opinions, sometimes even within the same book. Arguably one of the most divisive issues in this respect seems to be the role of Israel's ki...

June 15, 12 AM

I've been slowly posting a few bits and pieces on The History Channel's The Bible as I work my way through the blurays and I thought as this was the episode based on Jesus' ministry it was the one perhaps most requiring a scene guide, as this will hopeful... [Peter] [Scene Guides] [Bible Miniseries (History Channel)]

May 30, 2PM

I've not written a great deal about The History Channel's miniseries The Bible yet mainly because it's not due to air in the UK until the autumn and no-one thought it would be worth sending me a preview DVD. By the time I was sent one, the airing was over... [Bible Miniseries (History Channel)]

May 27, 1PM

I'm trying to write a few comments on the key films about the Kingdom of Israel. In some ways it's fewer films than one might think - the kingdom starts with Saul, splits three kings later, and both the separate parts peter out. In terms of films there ar... [Lists] [Elijah] [David] [1 and 2 Kings] [Solomon]

May 13, 3AM

Photo from Judith et Holopherne (1909)Having done a series on Judith films at the start of the year, I realise I never actually wrote a piece on the eponymous heroine herself, so here I want to draw together my thoughts on some of those films with a parti... [Judith]

May 3, 2PM

The Ishmael of the Hebrew Bible is essentially a passive character acted upon by Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, but never an active initiator. This has resulted in his appearance in film roles being rather limited: no modern filmmaker has taken the sparse det... [Abraham] [Genesis] [Bible (The - Huston)]

April 22, 2PM

This is the the second of two posts about Ishmael in film. The first, it turns out, was rather error strewn, and anyone with any decency would have gone and made the corrections and added the labels and so on before writing the second. He or she would pro... [Abraham] [Real Old Testament] [Genesis] [Bible Collection (The)] [Bible Miniseries (History Channel)] [Testament] [Bible (The - Huston)]

April 21, 2AM

Possibly the longest ever title for a Bible film, this cartoon is part of the "Greatest Heroes and Legends of the Bible" series. I believe it was originally released as simply as The Passion, Last Supper, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, so this ve... [children]

April 9, 1PM

This post is incomplete as there are a number of errors that need rectifying.One of the characters who appeared in the History Channel's latest series The Bible was Ishmael, Abraham's first son by Hagar. Abraham in general hasn't appeared in that many fil... [Lists] [Silent Bible Films] [Abraham] [Genesis]

March 30, 1AM

He Who Must Die is an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis' novel "Christ Recrucified" by Jules Dassin, best known for his classic film noir Night and the City (1950). Dassin's eye for stunning black and white photography is in evidence from the first frame, a...

March 26, 1PM

Rossellini's final film, Il Messia, is, as one might expect, unusual for a Jesus film. Rather than starting the story with Mary and Joseph, or John the Baptist, or Jesus about to ride into Jerusalem, it starts 1000 years before as Israel's tribal leaders ... [Il Messia]

February 22, 4AM

No, not a post on spiritual or faith-based horror films, just a bad pun about the portrayal of the Holy Spirit in film. It's quite a difficult distinction to make. Is the Holy Spirit pure spirit? What about passages where s/he appears as...? If the spirit... [Peter]

February 21, 3AM

Given the fairly one dimensional portrayal of Holofernes in the book of Judith, it's perhaps little surprise that he has rarely been fleshed out in film. The earliest silent films about Judith - Giuditta e Oloferne (1906) and Gaumont's Judith et Holophern... [Judith]

February 20, 8AM

By the time D.W. Griffith got around to making Judith of Bethulia in 1913 it was already the third film to have been made about the Jewish heroine. An Italian film from 1908, Giuditta e Oloferne, was the first and two years later a French film Judith et H... [Silent Bible Films] [Judith]

February 19, 4PM

Commonly Known as Judith (1910-UK) or Judith Retterin Israels (D)I'm unsure how many prints of this film still exist. Certainly the BFI archivelists only one and silentera.com are unsure as to whether the film is still in existence. The intertitles are in... [Silent Bible Films] [Judith]

February 18, 4AM

The BFI Archive print of the film starts with an introduction"The Italian film. From 1908 to 1914 Italy played an important role in film history with her classico-historical spectacles. The success of Quo Vadis (1911) as well as of the French Queen Elizab... [Silent Bible Films] [Judith]

February 17, 12 PM

I'm going to be writing a bit on films about Judith and Holofernes over the next week or so including writing about 3 silent portrayals of the story, as well as a quick look at how the main two characters are portrayed in the various films. So it seems a ... [Lists] [Judith]

February 4, 5AM

Thomas and the Gospels: The Making of an Apocryphal TextMark GoodacrePaperback: 224 pagesPublisher: SPCK PublishingDate: 18 Oct 2012Language: EnglishISBN: 978-0281067763When I was growing up, if people talked about the fifth gospel, they meant you yoursel... [Books]

January 20, 12 PM

Over the last year or so I've been getting into film noir and reading a couple of books on the subject as well. It's changed my understanding quite significantly. It's always been a genre that I've enjoyed, but previously my understanding of it was primar... [Last Temptation of Christ]

January 14, 2AM

The History Channel is airing a 10-part series this March called The Bible and the official trailer went online last week. Various snippets have been emerging over the last few weeks, and you can catch them all via Mark Goodacre's NT Blog. Mark is one of ...

January 9, 1PM

I've had a query from a reader and as my own answer is a little long, but also not entirely adequate I thought I'd post it here in case anyone has anything to add, or in case it was of interest to other people.Matt, I know that many of the better films th... [DeMille] [Prince of Egypt] [Ten Commandments (1956)] [Books]

January 3, 4PM

December 26 2012, 5PM

I did a talk a few weeks ago on different film portrayals of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and how they relate to the issue of poverty and the Christian message. I chose the reading of the rich man and Lazarus from Luke 16 as I have a hunch that it was som... [Other Films]

December 25, 5PM

Absolutely Fabulous star and British national treasure Joanna Lumley headed out to Mount Ararat in an attempt to find Noah's boat in Sunday's ITV documentary The Search for Noah's Ark.Starting off in Tissington Derbyshire, before heading to Mount Ararat (... [Noah] [Documentaries]

December 24, 4AM

Heavenly Holiday Film Classics is a collection of six lesser known Christmas films from days gone past. The majority go back to the fifties and sixties but at least one has their roots even further back. As a result these films are hard to get hold of and... [Nativity - Mary Joseph]

September 9, 2PM

DeMille's Sign of the Cross is notorious for being the film that brought about censorship in American cinema. A quick image search confirms DeMille's instinct for the public's appetite. Claudette Colbert's nipples poking out of a bath of milk might seem t... [DeMille]

July 12, 4AM

Click on image to enlargeThese days most of the news about Bible Films in production goes through the Facebook page, partly because so many projects start but never really finish. That said the best place to go for updates for that kind of thing now is Pe... [Noah] [Genesis]

June 29, 1PM

BBC Radio 4 has been broadcasting readings from Song of Songs juxtaposed with bits from Lamentations. The idea is to combine the most beautiful and erotic parts of the Biblical imagery with some of the most violent. I heard five minutes of it in the car a... [Solomon]

June 7, 4AM

I can't think of a more perfect film to watch to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee than Roman Holiday. Released in 1953 the year of Queen Elizabeth's coronation it imagines the story of a young princess (Audrey Hepburn) who escapes her duty for a single da... [Other Films]