Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Jonathan Jackson Dedicates an Album of Songs to Saint Joseph the Hesychast

Great Hours is the title of the album of songs dedicated to the memory of the great ascetic of Mount Athos, Saint Joseph the Hesychast, for the spiritual support he has offered to the world over time.

The song that follows this update, titled "A Prayer for All", comes from Mount Athos and is a prayer to our Creator, a poetic discourse on the Divine love of the Saint. It symbolizes the unity and need we all have now, in this painful ordeal for mankind to pray to God.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Movie Review: "King of Kings" (1961)

King of Kings

Director: Nicholas Ray

Producer: Samuel Bronston

Screenplay: Philip Yordan, Ray Bradbury (uncredited)

Narrated by: Orson Welles (uncredited)

Cinematographer: Manuel Berenguer, Milton R. Krasner, Franz Planer

Music by: Miklós Rózsa

Starring: Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus

Production company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Country: United States

Initial release: October 11, 1961

Run Time: 168 minutes

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Movie Review: "Ben-Hur" (1959)


Director: William Wyler

Producer: Sam Zimbalist

Screenplay: Karl Tunberg, Gore Vidal and Christopher Fry

Based on: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by General Lew Wallace

Cinematographer: Robert L. Surtees

Music by: Miklós Rózsa

Starring: Claude Heater as Jesus, also Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen Boyd

Production company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Country: United States

Initial release: November 18, 1959

Run Time: 212 minutes

Monday, April 13, 2020

Movie Review: "The Robe" (1953)

The Robe

Director: Henry Koster

Screenplay: Gina Kaus, Albert Maltz, Philip Dunne

Based on: The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas

Cinematographer: Leon Shamroy

Music by: Alfred Newman

Starring: Donald C. Klune as Jesus, also Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Michael Rennie

Production company: 20th Century Fox

Country: United States

Initial release: September 16, 1953

Run Time: 135 minutes

Following the success of Quo Vadis? in 1951, which was made to take advantage of the post-World War 2 "return to religion" in America, 20th Century Fox produced The Robe in 1953, directed by Henry Koster, and based on the novel by Lloyd C. Douglas. This was the first film produced in the new wide-screen Cinemascope. Richard Burton has the central role as Marcellus, the Roman Tribune responsible for carrying out the crucifixion of Jesus.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Movie Review: "Golgotha"; a.k.a. "Behold the Man" (1935)

a.k.a. Ecce Homo; Behold the Man

Director: Julien Duvivier

Screenplay: Joseph Reymond

Cinematographer: Jules Kruger

Starring: Robert Le Vigan as Jesus

Production company: Transat Films

Country: France

Initial release: 12 April 1935

Run Time: 95 minutes

When Jesus spoke for the first time on the cinematic screen, it was in French, not English. This French film was Julien Duvivier's Ecce Homo released in 1935 with Robert Le Vigan in the title role. Two years later, 1937, the film was dubbed in English and shown in the United States with the title Golgotha or Behold the Man. As the name suggests, this movie focuses on the events of Passion Week, beginning with Palm Sunday and ending with the Resurrection and Ascension. In doing this, the film returns to the origins of depicting Jesus on screen with a focus on the Passion, Death and Resurrection, much in the tradition of the old Passion Plays.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Movie Review: "The King of Kings" (1927)

The King of Kings

Director: Cecil B. DeMille

Screenplay: Jeannie Macpherson

Cinematographer: J. Peverell Marley, F.J. Westerberg

Starring: H.B. Warner as Jesus

Production company: Pathé Exchange

Country: United States

Initial release: April 19, 1927

Run Time: 155 minutes

Cecil B. DeMille's The King of Kings is the first truly Hollywood blockbuster film about Jesus, and it is both epic and spectacular. Following DeMille's other spectacular biblical film, The Ten Commandments, in 1923, and before his epic story of the persecution of the early Christians, The Sign of the Cross, in 1932, The King of Kings, released in 1927, premiered at the grand opening of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood in its original 155-minute cut, though it was widely released with the 112-minute cut. I have not seen the latter, but just finished the longer cut version, and all I can say is that this is perhaps one of the best film versions of the life of Jesus, if not the very best of them.