• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as current film releases with spiritual significance, and a few bits and pieces on the Bible.

    Monday, February 20, 2006

    Guess what I missed - Son of Man (1969)

    There's a lot of talk at the moment about the new South African Film by Mark Dornford-May Son of Man. This however is actually at least the third filmed version of Jesus' life of that title. The first, as far as I am aware was basically a shot for shot remake of The Life and Passion of Jesus Christ with one or two additional scenes added in. (FWIW it's currently available on ebay)

    Prior to Dornford-May's film, the one most people have talked about when they talk about Son of Man was a 1969 filmed play by Dennis Potter, starring Colin Blakely as Jesus, Brian Blessed (Peter), Robert Hardy (Pilate), Bernard Hepton (Caiaphas), and Edward Hardwicke (Judas). It was directed by Gareth Davies. I first became aware of this film after reading Philip Yancey's book The Jesus I Never Knew - a book that is in many ways responsible for me ending up running this site.

    Until recently it had only been shown on TV 3 times - the last time being in 1987 after Blakely's death from Leukemia. Clips were available on video if you bought the course based on Yancey's book. However, I've just found out that it was recently shown on BBC4 four weeks ago. Needless to say I'm very disappointed to have missed it. Whilst I have seen it (thanks to a rare showing at the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham), it's a shame to have missed the chance to get a copy on DVD.

    On the plus side, it does mean two things. Firstly, that it may have generated sufficient interest to lead to an eventual DVD release, or at least a repeat viewing. Secondly, it has generated a bit more information on the web and a few more stills from the play. The film was shown as part of BBC4's Potter Season, so there's some information there and some useful looking links. As for the stills - a number of these have been coloured. The play was originally shot in black and white, and the fact that a few of the stills remain in black and white implies that the version shown was still black and white, it is just a few of the stills that have been coloured. There are a few interesting comments about the screening here.

    For what it's worth I wrote a few brief comments on the film for the IMDb


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    • At 7:13 am, February 24, 2006, Blogger Tyler F. Williams said…

      Hey Matt... if you ever do get a chance to copy it, you'll have to make me a copy too! I haven't seen the entire film, though from the clips on the Yancy video and clips available from the British Screen Institute (see link below), I have to say that I like Potter's Jesus -- he's quite refreshing and iconoclastic!


    • At 9:58 pm, July 11, 2006, Blogger Rod Kesselring said…


      I too would love to see the entire work... unfortunately I am in the US and have no way of seeing it unless it comes out on dvd or some kind soul gets a recording of it. If you ever do get it please let me know and I would be eternally greatful.


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