• 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


    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    Does Anyone know Anything About This Jesus Film?

    I cam across this still at the Los Angles Public Library site, which accompanied it with the following text:
    Images of marathon dancing, state society picnics, silent films and junk car races re-create that celebrated decade [the 20s]which secured California's reputation as a social trendsetter...

    The evening presentations of the Life of Christ opened in July and ran for approximately twelve weeks. The play was advertised as a "Serious religious drama, attractive to the more thoughtful type of visitor."
    It is unclear then whether this is a film, or simply a promo shot for a play. The text directly next to the photo implies that it is from a play, but the intro at the start of these various photos suggests that is a film. Whilst that could just be a nice intro, I thought I'd throw it our to see if anyone knew any more about it.


    • At 9:10 pm, November 09, 2006, Blogger WitlessD said…

      I've been looking through your site and found this request for info. Here's a long shot. Check out this IMDb page. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0282842/ This Pilgrimage Play was filmed in 1949, but the staging had been going on, I believe annually, since 1920. According to this site http://losangeles.about.com/od/venueslandmarks/p/fordtheater.htm: "The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre was built in 1920 as the site of the Pilgrimage Play. The outdoor amphitheatre is located in the Cahuenga Pass on a 45 acre garden setting complete with a waterfall, chapparal and cypresses along with two dozen other species of trees and plants.
      The Pilgrimage Play was again performed at the amphitheatre until 1964 when a lawsuit forced its closure because of its religious nature. The County continued to use the amphitheatre for a variety of concerts and performances, but public attendance dwindled."

      Well, as this photo was from the Los Angeles Library site, it's not implausible. The photo is, I suspect, from one of the earlier 1920's stagings of the play.

    • At 6:06 pm, November 27, 2006, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Hmmm, that's a great piece of research, and it sounds like it is a possibility. I guess the film version recorded in 1949 would be totally different from this early photo, so it's difficult to know for sure.

      FWIW Nelson Leigh went on to play Jesus in the "Living Bible" series made around 1951-52.

      Thanks for finding this out for me



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