|My Easter Books: Through Lent to Resurrection, Ben-Hur, The First Easter and Thomas Merton letters|
|Poster for the film|
Other Easter films I watched included The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) The Robe (1954) which wasn't a very good film but was the 1st in Cinemascope so they could show everyone in the Last Supper in its entirety. The Silver Chalice (1954) which I found horrendous. The sets were cheap and as Paul Newman said his performance was very wooden. And The King of Kings (1961) which had the worst looking Christ I have ever seen.
I also read Ben-Hur: A Tale of The Christ by General Lew Wallace. It has been on my "to read" list for about 3 years now ever since Lucy Wold talked about it in a talk from 2009. I'm so very glad I have finally read it. It is wonderful and I highly recommend it to anyone. The imagery from the Christ time was beautiful and I could really see and imagine what it was like. The detail Wallace took in finding out as much of Jerusalem as he could was astounding. Of course, with such detail a few chapters drag on but overall it's beautiful. And when the Christ makes his appearance on the pages, it's magical and my skin tingled. General Lew Wallace was a man who could see many things and he could see the truth and wisdom of Christ and he had the ability to convey it in words. Ben-Hur has now gone on my list of favourite books.
Naturally, after reading the book I had to get the DVD. Now, I've seen the 1959 version with Charlton Heston several times. It is one of my most enjoyed films but I had never seen the 1925 silent, black and white version. So I was able to purchase a 4 disc Collectors Edition of Ben-Hur which included the 1925 version. I must say that the 1925 version was MUCH better. They stayed closer to the novel and included key characters that the 1959 version excluded. The imagery was better and more pronounced and the emotions more vulnerable without sound. But the most stunning effect was that for the scenes with the Christ they individually hand painted the stills to allow it to have colour. This was not something added by Ted Turner. This was how it was shown in theaters in 1925. Each shot was painted over with reds and blues. It's beautiful to be watching a silent, black and white film when the next scene is in colour and its of The Christ giving Ben-Hur his drink of water. Absolutely stunning. So if ever you come across the 1925 version of Ben-Hur I recommend you give it a watch.