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The King of Kings SE DVD


Tim Willson
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I can't find reference to this on any websites, but the Canadian distributor for Criterion has announced a December 7th release for a Special Edition, 2-disc set of King of Kings (1927-31). Does anyone have any more info on this?

Edited by Tim Willson

"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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Oh, wow! This is great news! I wonder if the longer version of the film will have the more allegedly anti-Semitic footage that, rumour has it, DeMille trimmed from later versions.

And lest there be any confusion, someone should add a "The" to the film's title in the subject title. King of Kings is the 1961 film; the 1927 film is THE King of Kings.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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done... thanks for catching that. I'm checking on screeners, but not holding my breath.

"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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  • 1 month later...

Hmmm, a screener arrived in the mail yesterday, but it is very, very plain -- no packaging, just a couple of discs in a couple of regular CD jewel-box cases, with a couple of titles and code-numbers stamped directly onto the discs. I've just finished checking the extras on the discs, and everything seems to be there, though I'm not sure how, um, thorough a review I can write if I haven't got the booklet with all the essays, as well. (Must contact the publicist about this.)

At any rate, there are some fun little cameos and trivia bits here. We have both live footage and still photos of D.W. Griffith posing with DeMille and a strip of film, and I believe that is Douglas Fairbanks showing off for the camera by flipping a cigarette off the back of his fingers and into his mouth. I also hadn't realized that the premiere of this film at Sid Grauman's Chinese Theatre in May 1927 was also the premiere or debut of that theatre ITSELF; it didn't open to the public until the next day. The DVD even refers to small "riots" outside the theatre as crowds pushed and shoved for a chance to see the stars of this film about the life of Jesus. "Riots". Sigh.

The DVD gallery includes the pages of the original collectible booklet, and the DVD also includes transcripts of the "blessings from the clergy" that DeMille solicited before filming began; the ministers and representatives gathered there were, in order, the Churches of Christ, the Salvation Army, Christian Science, Presbyterian, B'nai B'rith, "Mohammedan", Catholic, Buddhist, Episcopalian and Baptist. When DeMille or the film's promotional materials DO venture into theological territory, they tend to be rather universalistic, or to be worded in a vague way that is supposed to please everybody but doesn't quite communicate what Jesus was really all about, e.g. this foreword to the booklet:

AT NO TIME in the World's history has Humanity so hungered for the Truth. Science has declared there is a God. And a groping, eager World cries, "How may we find Him?"

The answer goes back two thousand years -- to a Man Who stood with a little band of ragged followers in the midst of bigotry, cruelty and ignorance -- lighting with the torch of His own life the flame of hope in the heart of Mankind and showing us by sublime Sacrifice -- Death and Resurrection -- our own IMMORTALITY.

So, um, is that really what Jesus was all about? SHOWING us our own immortality, as though it were already there? Or did he OFFER and indeed GIVE us immortality -- an immortality that is not "our own" but, rather, draws on the very immortality of God? (I suspect DeMille might say I am nitpicking here -- that WE are all immortal because GOD is immortal, and his "divine spark" resides in all of us, etc. And there may be some truth to that, inasmuch as we are all made in the "image of God" and we will all have SOME sort of eternal destiny. But still...)

Similarly, in his intro to the blessings from the clergy, DeMille sates: "No matter whether you believe God descended to mortality or mortality rose to Divinity -- His life is an open book -- no matter what belief, everyone believes this One Man has done a great thing for humanity." Um, well, everyone might believe that Jesus did "a great thing", but if we don't agree on WHAT that "great thing" WAS, then what is the point of getting all these clergy together? And how can the rabbi from B'nai B'rith say the film will promote the "true message" of Jesus "free from any theology"? Is it remotely possible, or even desirable, to tell a life of Christ without SOME sort of theology?

Such ostensible high-mindedness aside, the film's more vulgar (for lack of a better word) sensibilities are on display in other materials, such as the publicity stills which emphasize the bare-shouldered female extras, or the trailer which begins by asking "Does New York like clean, wholesome, powerful motion pictures?" and then goes on to say that this film's "scenes of magnificence, Tragedy, triumph, hurricanes, earthquakes, and great mobs in panic are attracting crowds of every age, taste and inclination."

So, come for the earthquakes and the great mobs in panic, stay for the true message. Or something like that!

Oh, and my favorite publicity still is the one in which DeMille and six bankers (representing the film's financiers, I assume) pose with an actor dressed as a money changer.

Haven't actually watched either version of the film yet, but will do soon.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Wow. Having seen the shorter version of the film twice now -- once with the 70ish-year-old soundtrack by Hugo Riesenfeld, and once with the brand-new pipe-organ score recorded by Timothy J. Tikker -- I am now watching the original, longer, roadshow version (which has a brand new synthesizer score by Donald Sosin), and the opening scenes are kinda shocking.

They are shocking not just because the film begins with an opulent banquet hosted by the scantily-clad courtesan Mary Magdalene, which is how BOTH versions begin, but because the roadshow version shows this sequence IN TECHNICOLOR. In the shorter version, only the Resurrection sequence is in Technicolor.

I wonder how it affects the meaning of the film, visually, to have BOTH Mary's non-scriptural, flesh-baring, cheesily-written opening scene AND Jesus's highly scriptural, reverently-portrayed Resurrection given the same Technicolor treatment, while leaving the rest of the movie black-and-white.

On a side note, this is just one more bit of evidence against Philip Yancey's claim that the Resurrection sequence in this film was the first commercial movie sequence that audiences had ever seen in colour.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Colour" is a loose claim anyway. The Life and Passion of Jesus (1902-1908) and Ten Commandments (1923) both have colour scenes, eventhough they are not full multicolour. But then the colour of the resurrection scene is very washed out (not sure whether this is age or just the newness of the process at the time of making the film (i.e. so it hadn't been mastered yet). Probably a bit of both.

Matt

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The Ten Commandments was just as multicolour as The King of Kings, wasn't it? I thought they both used the two-strip Technicolor process, which was first used commercially in The Toll of the Sea (1922). (Whereas The Life and Passion of Jesus Christ was coloured with stencils.)

In other news, I have gone through the chapters on both versions of this film and calculated their lengths (accurate to within a second or two). While there ARE a few scenes that were apparently cut out of the shorter film altogether, it also appears there was a fair bit of trimming practically throughout the entire film. Chapter numbers are for the longer film.

01 -- 1:52 -- 01:13 -- Logos/Opening titles

02 -- 0:00 -- 00:38 -- Prologue

03 -- 6:36 -- 06:40 -- The house of Mary Magdalene

04 -- 4:06 -- 05:16 -- "Take me to Him"

05 -- 6:28 -- 06:49 -- Jesus the Great Physician

06 -- 5:55 -- 06:10 -- Seven Deadly Sins

07 -- 2:10 -- 03:36 -- House of Caiaphas

08 -- 0:00 -- 04:54 -- Judas fails to heal

09 -- 0:00 -- 07:30 -- "Follow me, Matthew"

10 -- 2:46 -- 02:51 -- "Suffer little children"

11 -- 5:50 -- 06:28 -- The tomb of Lazarus

12 -- 1:56 -- 02:24 -- The adulteress

13 -- 6:18 -- 06:40 -- At the Temple

14 -- 4:17 -- 05:03 -- Den of thieves

15 -- 4:12 -- 05:02 -- "He is our King"

16 -- 3:51 -- 04:13 -- Thirty pieces of silver

17 -- 8:09 -- 10:22 -- The Last Supper

18 -- 8:09 -- 09:23 -- The garden of Gethsemane

19 -- 0:00 -- 04:47 -- Peter denies Jesus

20 -- 5:18 -- 07:39 -- Hall of Judgment

21 -- 3:14 -- 04:08 -- The crown of thorns

22 -- 6:43 -- 09:39 -- "Crucify him!"

23 -- 4:38 -- 06:27 -- The way of the Cross

24 -- 4:37 -- 07:27 -- Calvary

25 -- 5:31 -- 07:22 -- God's wrath

26 -- 9:44 -- 14:44 -- The Resurrection

A few notes here.

1-2. These chapters are combined into one chapter on the DVD with the shorter film, and yes, the two versions do use different opening-title cards.

3. No significant difference lengthwise, but the original film shows this sequence in Technicolor, whereas it is black-and-white in the shorter film.

12-13. Because the sequences showing the high priest's plan to trap Jesus with regard to paying taxes, Judas' failure to heal the epileptic boy, Peter's discovery of a coin in a fish with which he pays the tax, and Matthew's conversion were all deleted from the shorter film, the sequence with the adulteress at the Temple was moved to an earlier point BEFORE the "healing" of the child's broken toy and the raising of Lazarus in the shorter film. Thus, in the shorter film, Jesus appears to make multiple trips to the Temple, as he does in John's gospel; whereas the original film explicitly borrows that line from the Synoptics about Jesus "setting his face toward Jerusalem" when he makes his one fateful trip there. Also, the shorter film now appears to begin with the conversions of TWO wanton women, one right after the other, as though the film needed to exhaust all the gospels' references to sex right away in order to lure the audience in; but in the original, longer version of the film, there is actually quite a bit else going on between those two sequences.

I have noted a number of things that I suspect were deleted from the shorter version, but before I say anything definite, I want to check the shorter version again.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Okay, I've confirmed a couple things. Regarding a few of those chapters that are longer in the original 1927 "roadshow" version of the film:

4. While sick people mill about outside the healing house (where young Mark is cured of lameness and the blind girl is cured of blindness), there is extra footage in which Judas tells the crowd that Jesus will be their king. This underscores the theme, already present in other scenes, that Judas wanted to make Jesus king in a temporal sense.

20-22. I forget which particular chapter has the bit with Pilate's wife, but it's there in the original version of the film, and it's NOT there in the shorter version. I believe there is also a bit of extra footage of the crowd, in which one Jewish person says, "Ye cannot bribe me, a Jew, to cry for the blood of an innocent brother!" This underscores the film's emphasis, present in other scenes, that only SOME Jews -- in particular, Caiaphas and his stooges -- were responsible for the death of Christ.

23. Blink and you could almost miss the fact that, in both versions of the film, a woman takes her baby up to Jesus so that he can heal the child WHILE HE'S CARRYING HIS CROSS. Some might find that inappropriate or exploitative -- she's apparently insensitive to the fact that the man she's approaching is about to DIE -- while others might shrug and say, "Well, it looked like her last chance to sneak a healing in there, so why not?" Anyhoo, just in case we miss this bit, the original version of the film also includes a much more dramatic scene where a few sick people are crowded in a doorway, and through the door we can see Jesus pass by, and he looks over at them and gestures and suddenly they are healed. So this film REALLY emphasizes the healing aspect of Jesus' ministry.

24. In the original version, the mother of one of the thieves is pushed away from his cross by a soldier, and she comes across Mary, who is standing at the foot of Jesus' cross, and who sympathizes with her.

26. The original version has a considerably longer Technicolor Resurrection sequence, in which we see that Mary Magdalene ain't the ONLY woman at the tomb; in fact, Jesus appears to the Virgin Mary FIRST, and she then directs Jesus' attention towards Mary Magdalene, so he then goes over and appears to her as well. Alas, it looks like some of this footage may have sustained some damage, since there are moments when bright red strips run down the sides of the screen, and the final shot of the Virgin Mary bidding farewell to Jesus is black-and-white -- the only black-and-white shot in that entire sequence by the tomb.

There are probably lots more additions, but I'm not quite so nitpicky as to catalogue them ALL just now -- I think I've noted enough for my review!

Incidentally, there are some nice funny AND serious moments in the "deleted scene" where Jesus heals the possessed boy and tells Peter to go fishing so they can pay the tax. Funny: the Roman soldiers who see where the coin came from go fishing themselves, and one of them even shakes a fish next to his ear, hoping to hear the jingle-jangle of coins. Serious: the father of the boy Jesus heals happens to be a carpenter, and Jesus notices a cross by the house, to which the father replies (a little too cheerily, I think), "I make many crosses for the Romans -- they pay me well," which ends the scene on an interestingly poignant and foreboding note; you also have to wonder if maybe, just maybe, the child's demonic possession might have been connected to the father's complicity in the oppression of his people under the Romans.

It is also interesting to note that it is JUDAS who is portrayed as the disciple that could not heal the child. How would our understanding of this pericope change if it were one of the OTHER disciples -- one of the "real" disciples -- who could not perform the miracle at that time?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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MattPage wrote:

: Does this second sequence also take place on the road to calvary?

Yeah, it does; I guess I wasn't clear on that point.

: I was going to say this omission also surprised me, but if it got damaged then

: that explains it.

Possibly; on the other hand, I wonder if the extra footage is damaged because it was omitted. At any rate, the inclusion of the Virgin Mary at the tomb does offer a bit of closure to that scene at the end of the Last Supper where Jesus embraces Mary and bids her farewell -- a scene that is in BOTH versions of the film.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I don't know why it never occurred to me to check this one detail out before.

H.B. Warner, the actor who plays Jesus in this film, is well-known to have been a heck of a lot older than the character he played. Going by his birthdate at the IMDB, he was 51 when the film opened in the spring of 1927.

However, Dorothy Cumming, the actress who plays Mary, his MOTHER, was only 28 when the film opened.

The only other Jesus actor I can think of who was anywhere close to Warner's age is Robert Wilson, who played Jesus in the first full-length English-language talkie about Christ, Day of Triumph (1953) -- but the IMDB doesn't have a birthdate for him. All other actors I'm aware of have been in their 20s or 30s; to quote a post from two message boards ago:

For comparison's sake, here's how old the actors who played Jesus in other films have been, based on the film's release date and the age the actor became when his birthday took place that year (I haven't got time to track down the dates when the films were actually shot, and whether the production took place before or after the actor's birthday, etc.): Jeffrey Hunter (
King of Kings
, 1961) was 35, Max von Sydow (
The Greatest Story Ever Told
) was 36, Ted Neeley (
Jesus Christ Superstar
, 1973) was 30, Victor Garber (
Godspell
, 1973) was 24, Robert Powell (
Jesus of Nazareth
, 1977) was 33, Brian Deacon (
Jesus
, 1979) was 30, Willem Dafoe (
The Last Temptation of Christ
, 1988) was 33, Christian Bale (
Mary, Mother of Jesus
, 1999) was 25, Jeremy Sisto (
Jesus
, 1999) was 25, and Ralph Fiennes (
The Miracle Maker
, 2000) was 38.

The IMDB does not list any birthdates for Robert Henderson-Bland (
From the Manger to the Cross
, 1912), Howard Gaye (
Intolerance
, 1916), Enrique Irazoqui (
The Gospel According to St. Matthew
, 1964), [Pier Maria Rossi, (
The Messiah
, 1976)] or Bruce Marchiano (
The Visual Bible: The Gospel According to Matthew
, 1994).

Since then, of course, we have also had Henry Ian Cusick, who was 34 when The Gospel of John (2003) came out, and Jim Caviezel, who was 35 when The Passion of the Christ (2004) came out.

As for Mary -- I don't have time to do anything exhaustive on the ages of the actresses who have played her, but I will note that even the younger ones have generally been made up to look older for the Easter sequences (cf. Olivia Hussey, who was just two weeks shy of her 26th birthday when Jesus of Nazareth was first broadcast). The only film I can think of where Mary is explicitly made out to be eternally youthful is Rossellini's The Messiah (and FWIW, the IMDB lists neither a birthdate nor other films for the actress Mita Ungaro).

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Clint M wrote:

: * New Dolby Digital 5.1 scores by composers Donald Sosin (1927 version) and

: Timothy J. Tikker (1931 version), plus the original score for the 1931 release

: by Hugo Riesenfeld

Okay, I have to admit, I'm confused here.

I'm getting conflicting information as to when, exactly, the shorter version of this film with the music track was released. A few books I have read (such as W. Barnes Tatum, p. 57) say 1931, but the DVD menu says 1928 ... and the pamphlet I got with the review copy says 1931 in the ad copy, as seen above, but at the bottom of the page, it says:

1927 • 155 MINUTES • BLACK & WHITE AND COLOR • SILENT • ENGLISH • 1.33:1 ASPECT RATIO • DUAL LAYER DVD-9

1928 • 112 MINUTES • BLACK & WHITE AND COLOR • MONAURAL • ENGLISH • 1.33:1 ASPECT RATIO • DUAL LAYER DVD-9

See that? It says the second, shorter, quasi-sound version dates to 1928. Not to 1931, as some sources say, but to 1928. Argh.

MattPage, any chance you could help me out? BTW ...

MattPage wrote:

: I do remember being significantly less impressed with the colour in 10C when I

: saw it after tKoK. I have a vague recollection that 10C was filmed with the 2-strip

: colour process whereas tKoK used a new 3-strip process, but you need to take

: that with a huge pinch of salt.

... paging through Savior on the Silver Screen just now, I came across this, on p. 56:

While more advanced than hand-tinted frames (occasionally used from the earliest films), the process-two system was not considered natural enough. But in 1926, Technicolor invented a "process-three" system, which not only did not warp when projected, but also produced a more even color palette and warmer tones. A full, three-strip Technicolor system would not be used in Hollywood until the mid-1930s, so audiences were truly dazzled by this albeit brief sequence, in the most spectacular of places -- following Jesus' death.

It would seem, from this, that there was a difference between "process-three" (which was developed between the two DeMille films) and "three-strip" (which was developed some years after both of the films), so perhaps that's what you were thinking of?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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: Robert Wilson, who played Jesus in the first full-length English-language talkie

: about Christ, Day of Triumph (1953)

Huh, interesting. I'd always had it in mind that Day of Triumph was released in 1954 and that it had been preceeded in 1952 by I Beheld His Glory , but the IMDB lists both films as 1953. Ah yes this website maybe why I thought that.

Oh and inthis interview seems to say he was 19 when he filmed Gospel According to Matthew

No, actually Pasolini was before that, in 1964, during the Franco regime. I was the only one from the clandestine union that spoke Italian, and so I was sent to Italy to a mission to contact people that could help us fight against fascism. I was 19. The last day, in Rome I was taken to the house of a poet. There, in his living room, I delivered the same speech, which by then I knew by heart. Contrary to what everybody else did, which was to interrupt, to ask, to converse, this man heard me in complete silence until I finished my speech, and only then he stood up and started circling me without saying a word. He told me he would go to Spain, and he would help us, but that at the same time I could do him a favor. For two years he had been preparing a film about Christ, following literally the Gospel according to St Mathew. But he could not find the actor to be Christ. He wanted me to do it. In about five seconds and four words I told him he was nuts, and I told him I had more important things to do: establishing human fraternity.

as for the others, coincidentally, both Marchiano & Henderson Bland have written auto-biographies. In fact I think Henderson Bland wrote two! (and Marchiano has written 3 other books).

I'll see if I can find out any more info on TKOK and releases etc (Campbell and Pitts might say)

: "process-three"...perhaps that's what you were thinking of?

Yeah probably - I knew there was a difference

Matt

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OK Checked Campbell and Pitts last night and here's what they said:

Copyrighted at 18 reels, the film was a 15 reeler (13,500 feet) when road shown in 1927 and it was cut to 11 reels for its general releas. Although filmed in blac and white the opening and closing scenes were in two-colour Technicolour, although all prints in use today are entirely in black and white...

An interesting aspect of the films plot was filmed but not included in the feature. The sequence showing a love relationship between Judas and Mary Magdalene was deleted, lthough inference to such a situation does remain in the release version

FWIW the quote is from pgs 107-108.

The technical details on p105 record it as being 15 reels.

Campbell and Pitts also cite I Beheld his glory as 1952 and Day of Triumph as being 1954 - so I guess that's where I got that from.

Matt

Edited by MattPage
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Campbell and Pitts wrote:

: Copyrighted at 18 reels, the film was a 15 reeler (13,500 feet) when road shown

: in 1927 and it was cut to 11 reels for its general releas.

Hmmm, which doesn't settle whether the cuts happened in 1928 or 1931. (And it was even longer when it was copyrighted? I'd love to see THAT version!)

: Although filmed in blac and white the opening and closing scenes were in

: two-colour Technicolour, although all prints in use today are entirely in black and

: white...

Really? Every version I have ever seen has at least the Resurrection sequence in colour.

: An interesting aspect of the films plot was filmed but not included in the feature.

: The sequence showing a love relationship between Judas and Mary Magdalene

: was deleted, lthough inference to such a situation does remain in the release

: version

"Showing"!?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Yeah it didn't really clear much up categorically did it?

My understanding of all this is as follows:

DeMille makes film as an 18 reeler. He has to cut it down, so he chops the scenes that show Judas & Mary together (in colour) luving it up, as well as a number of scenes seen as anti-Jewish (OK that's my speculation). When he finally releases the road show version it's a 15 reeler. This is the version that's just become available on DVD.

Then in 1928 (rather than 1931) the film gets its general release (I seem to recall this happening near Christmas - I think I got that from DeMille's autobiog) as an 11 reeler, which is presumably the version I have at home on NTSC VHS.

By the early 80s (prior to the advent of video tapes) all the versions in occasional circulation were completely black and white. My theory on this is that as the film was widely used by missionaries, churches etc and as the 2-colour process was so new, the colour reels / copies didn't hold up well and after being used for decades became unusable. Of course there were a couple of protected copies (which were later used to make the videos copies), but most of the versions that Pitts (who cites this as his favourite ever bible film) had seen (and I assume that there were, therefore, quite a few) had been in black and white.

So that's my theory. I agree with you about the 18 reeler - I really wonder what was on that.

Matt

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 10 months later...

I've said on this forum somewhere in some thread that I really don't like Jesus movies. I've seen Mel Gibson's. Pasolini's. and a few others.

Well, at 5AM this morning I watched on TCM the 1927 The King of Kings (Cecil B. DeMille, silent, and black and white.) This Jesus was totally sanitized. A goody goody. Never resisted. And his crucifixion was bland as far as nails and pain.

But as passive and as overly sweet as this Jesus was, I COULD NOT QUIT WATCHING THE FILM. During the Resurrection scene I felt like laughing. I ended up crying.

All morning I have been wondering why I kept watching this old 1927 film. The music score was really good and appropriate, but that is not why I kept watching.

I'm still wondering.

Sara

( I just copied this post from the thread where it didn't belong. )

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  • 8 years later...

Today being the Feast of the Ascension, I have written a blog post on the Ascension of Jesus in film, and this is one of the 12 films highlighted (though it technically does not show the Ascension).

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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