• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    Can you name this Jesus film?

    I got an email from someone trying to trace a Jesus film made in Britain (Poole, Dorset to be precise) between 1949-1952. They thought John the Baptist had something to do with it, and Lady Leyes was apprently involved. It was made by the Bible Society.

    I think it's The Westminster Passion Play - Behold the Man (1951), certainly the dates are right. Furthermore, Campbell and Pitts note in "The Bible on Film" that "to evaluate the film critically would be unfair, as it was a church project and not meant to be a professional film", so this fits the "Bible Society" criterion very well.

    On the downside, most Passion Plays wouldn't have much to do with John the Baptist. That said there is of course a chance that this one might have done. It was based on a play by "Walter Meyjes", but I can't seem to find that play for sale anywhere, so that can't be checked.

    The other piece of info that doesn't quite fit is the Lady Leyes connection. There's simply no information on it that mentions her. This is far less critical than the above as lots of people would have been involved and I only have the name of the writers (Walter Meyjes and Walter Rilla), the director (Walter Rilla - pictured right), the producers (Susan Dallison and Fred T Swan), the narrator (Walter Meyjes) and the actor who played Jesus (Charles P. Carr).

    Does anyone know anything about either the original query, or Behold the Man? I've not seen it, and wondered if anyone else might know more. It has never been released on DVD or video (as far as I am aware) though I would dearly love to see it. Sandra Brennan (All Movie Guide) notes that "This British drama is based on an annual production from Westminster Abbey and movingly chronicles the last days and subsequent death of Christ".

    If you do know anything about the film in question please either post a comment, or email me via this form



    • At 1:14 am, March 08, 2006, Blogger crystal said…

      There's a book by Michael Moorcock titled Behold The Man - science fiction/fantasy of a man who travels back into the biblical past and meets John the Baptist and Jesus .... is this related at all or am I out in left field? :-)

    • At 8:14 am, March 08, 2006, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Hey, sometimes left field is good. I've not heard of Moorcock's book, but it might well be related - any idea of when it was published?


    • At 9:02 am, March 08, 2006, Blogger crystal said…

      I think it was originally published in 1978 - here's a link to the book at amazon - link

    • At 9:17 am, March 08, 2006, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Great - thanks Crystal


    • At 9:58 am, March 08, 2006, Blogger crystal said…

      Matt - thanks for your comment on my blog. I stole the collage from the google image search place :-).

      About writing scripts - no, I don't think it's easy either! I don't have as much trouble with dialogue as I do with the formatting. What exactly is your screenplay about, if you don't mind me asking.

    • At 9:15 am, May 09, 2023, Blogger Unknown said…

      The "Play" was called ECCE HOMO "Behold the Man" It was made and directed by Fr Walter Meyjes who was my legal guardian at the time in 1947 when he made it. He wanted to present it to the Pope in Rome where he had once studied at the Beda. Following on from that he, along with Susan Dalison, formed a company called Philomena Films. It went bust and he had to wind it up. Fr Meyjes's mother set up a Trust Fund for me to go to Downside School at which I stayed for 5 years. Subsequently, I joined the monastery Sadly, I ran away from Fr Meyjes for the usual reason and when I informed the Abbot of Downside Dom Christopher Butler he replied "What bad luck!" The 200 year monastery dissolved itself a few years ago. In 1953 Fr Meyjes and Mrs Dalison scarpered to Gibraltar where he died. I tracked her down and asked her if she knew he was a paedophile. Charles Gilbert : heleberry@hotmail.dot.com


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