Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
on January 27, 2014
Included with this Collector's Edition are these interesting extras: a documentary of Charlton Heston and Ben-Hur - A Personal Journey; the 1925 silent version; vintage special features; production art book and a 64 page book with rare photos. I have to smile when I hear people complain today about how long a movie is (2 hours) compared to epics like this one of 3 1/2 hours. We watched it over two evenings.
For a movie made in 1959, Ben-Hur proved to be a magnificent undertaking, which is why I gave it 5 stars. Even by today's standards with all the available technology and special effects, Ben-Hur is still considered a remarkable production. Some of the sets are stunning and the sea battle and chariot race are intense and totally convincing. The photography during the chariot race could rival anything that might be done today.
Ben-Hur was a winner of 11 Academy Awards. The storyline tended to be a bit confusing in a couple of places, and was slow moving in the beginning, but overall it kept us involved until the end. The costuming was carefully researched and proved very authentic. The casting for the roles was quite good with one exception. The actress chosen to play Esther, the young slave girl loved by Judah Ben-Hur, was miscast. Surrounded by people speaking English in a certain accent (mainly American), she plays her part with an accent that not even her father has. Also, the characters in the movie were dressed according to the environment (read "dirty" and mostly "poor" here), yet this former slave girl wears beautiful, clean clothes, has not a hair out of place in her elaborate hair-do, and flawless make-up throughout the story.
The other note I would like to make is that I would prefer that when the Bible is used as part of a story, that it be accurately presented. A part of the crucifixion in this story was changed, probably to provide more drama. Other than that, there is some good history presented here in the storyline, especially the cruelty of Rome toward the Jews in general and by some of its leaders in particular. We'll be watching this again sometime in the future, and I recommend this for older teens and adults only because of the violence and bloodshed.