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The King of Kings

H.B. Warner , Dorothy Cumming , Cecil B. DeMille    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Silent Movie Version of The King Of Kings! April 11 2004
Format:VHS Tape
This 1927 silent movie The King of Kings directed by celebrated film director Cecil B. Demille was on Turner Classic Movies a couple of nights ago and I watched it and taped it and it was a pretty good movie. At first I was taken aback by all of the heavy theatrical makeup that was used on some of the actors, a look that was very popular at the time and I first thought that the actor who played Jesus looked a lot older then the 33 years old that I believe Jesus was at the time but after awhile you get past that and the story of Jesus really shines through and the actor who played Jesus really gave a moving, inspirational performance and I very greatly recommend this movie. Has this version been put out on DVD yet? If not it really should be transferred to DVD! The only negative thing about this movie is the bizarre and overly theatrical depiction of Mary Magdalene and her riding in on a carriage driven by zebras and I almost gave up on the movie because of that but the scenes with the actor playing Jesus made up for the Mary Magdalene scenes. Btw: This movie is mostly in black and white with one color scene. There is a remake of this movie from 1961 and that is being shown on TCM today and I will tape and watch that one too!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple, Reverent, and Memorable April 8 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Cecil B. DeMille never overestimated public taste, and his films tend to be overblown to the point of garish vulgarity. True to form, he splashes his 1927 silent film of the life of Christ with sex and violence, and he never misses an opportunity to emphasize the obvious. But KING OF KINGS has a simplicity and reverence that transcends DeMille's tendency to overt display, and it is to my mind the finest of his silent films.
This is not a "line for line" translation of the scripture to the screen, and DeMille makes no effort to turn the Gospels--which occasionally disagree with each other re sequence and detail--into the seamless story typically found in later films about Christ. Instead, the film moves in episodic manner, highlighting various events in the life of Christ: the woman taken in adultery, driving the money changers from the temple, the last supper, the betrayal, the encounter with Pilate, and ultimately the crucifixion.
As is typical of the era, there is not a single member of the cast that looks distinctly Middle Eastern; indeed H.B. Warner, who plays Christ, is very blonde. Interestingly, though, the film falls all over itself to avoid even the barest hint of anti-Semitism, placing blame for Christ's crucifixion squarely on the shoulders of high priest Caiaphas, who is carefully shown to be intolerably corrupt. While this is not precisely scriptural, I personally found it a breath of fresh air in the wake of the rather problematic THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST.
While some of the performances are excessively broad, on the whole they are within the boundaries of what was considered realistic in the silent era, and some of them are quite fine. H.B.
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By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Calling The King of Kings a cinematic masterpiece barely begins to do it justice, and this Criterion Collection release is absolutely beautiful, turning the widespread notion of silent movies completely on its head. This print looks like it could have been made yesterday, not 1927, boasting some incredible special effects for its time. Cecil B. DeMille was a genius who helped turn moviemaking into an art form. With The King of Kings, he also retold the story of Jesus Christ in a serious and emotionally powerful way that has effectively helped spread the Gospel for over seventy-five years. This Criterion Collection release is itself a heavenly release that gives viewers the chance to own the film in its original, uncut form for the first time.

While DeMille's film is a reverent retelling of life and heavenly mission of Jesus, it does take some liberties with the Gospel accounts, sometimes combining different events into one and introducing several of its own elements in an attempt to emphasize the linear nature and importance of the story. Mark, for example, is presented as a child healed by Jesus who is there to witness the ministry and ultimate sacrifice of Christ. Judas Iscariot is constantly shoved to the forefront of events, heavily emphasizing his misinterpretation of the Messiah's mission and ultimate betrayal of Jesus. He is depicted as a selfish and ruthless man who only joined Jesus' band of followers because he expected to be made a great man in the traditional kingdom he expected Jesus to found on earth. Most interestingly, Mary Magdalene is depicted as a consort to Judas who first comes to Jesus in order to confront Him for having stolen Judas' attention away from her.
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