SAUL AND DAVID(1964) Written and Directed by Marcello Baldi. Based on
the book THE BIBLE by God.
Starring Norman Wooland(as King Saul), Pilar Clemens(as
Michal), Virgilio Teixeira(as Abner), Antonio Mayans(as Prince
Jonathan), Carlos Casaravilla (as Samuel), Stefy Lang(as Goliath) Paolo
Gozlino(as Joab) and Gianni Garko as David.
The tragedy of King Saul the first King of Israel whom, upon
losing the favor of the Lord, God of Israel, must watch as he is
gradually outshown and displaced by the Lord's annointed(and ancestor of
Ruth) David of Bethlehem whom after slaying the giant anakim Goliath
and growing to stature as a warrior, the increasingly tortured and
mentally unstable king seeks in vain to destroy.
Though an Italian film during the sword and sandal peplum era,
this happens to be the best film on its subject ever made. A fairly
strict adaptation of the first book of Samuel, the film might be a
little off putting for those unfamiliar with the history involved as it
includes everything and everyone of import to the story fairly well
leaping into history already going at full speed and not so much ending
as merely pulling away again leaving the surviving figures to progress
on towards their fates without being accompanied by the camera and the
audience. An intensley literate and serious film, the film plays almost
as a Jewish version of King Lear with Wooland being very good as the
increasingly deranged yet sympathetic Saul and Garko, as a David who
does not quite realize that he has a destiny with God and does not
truly want to displace the King.
The film also retains the hard edge that is in the Bible with
David presenting Saul with a large sack of Philistine heads, a brutal
mass murder of priests and bloody battle scenes.
For my review of the unofficial prequel to this film see my review for
THE STORY OF RUTH(1960)
For my next reviews of the third and fourth installments of the unofficial HOUSE OF DAVID film series see
DAVID AND BATHSHEBA(1951)
SOLOMON AND SHEBA(1959)