• 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


    Monday, July 17, 2006

    Golgotha (1935) Scene Guide

    I wrote a review for Julian Duvivier's 1935 Jesus film Golgotha when I first viewed it last year. As I hadn't started this blog by then I never got around to writing up a scene guide, but this weekend, I finally got around to it. Like the scene guide for the Indian Jesus film Dayasagar whilst it is a bit more of a challenge working out which episodes from the life of Christ, it is surprising how much of it one can decipher. As usual, this scene guide follows my citation policy.
    Plot against Jesus - (John 11:45-57)
    Triumphal Entry - (Mark 11:1-11)
    Cleansing the Temple - (Mark 11:15-18)
    Taxes to Caesar - (Mark 12:13-17)
    Last Supper - (Mark 14:12-31)
    Gethsemane - (Mark 14:32-42)
    Arrest - (Mark 14:43-52)
    Caiaphas Trial - (Mark 14:53-64)
    Mocking - (Mark 14:65)
    Pilate 1st trial - (Mark 14:66)
    Herod Trial - (Luke 23:1-5)
    Crowds reject Jesus - (Luke 23:6-12)
    Scourging - (John 19:1-3)
    Pilate 2nd trial - (John 19:4-16)
    Road to the cross - (Luke 23:24-26)
    Crucifixion - (Mark 15:24-32)
    Death - (Mark 15:33-41)
    Burial - (Mark 15:42-47)
    Women at the tomb - (Matt 28:1-10)
    Road to Emmaus - (Luke 24:13-35)
    Jesus Appears to Disciples - (Luke 24:36-39)
    Thomas - (John 20:26-29)
    Restoration of Peter - (John 21:15-19)
    The film appears to have originally released under the title Ecce Homo. The title was changed on it's release to American audiences.

    I noted in my review of this film how unusual it is to see John 18:6 portrayed on screen, even claiming that as far as I was aware "no other film has shown this incident". I've since realised that another of my top ten Jesus films also depicts this incident - From the Manger to the Cross (1912).

    It's interesting seeing Judas betray Jesus with a kiss in a French film. Firstly, the way Judas kisses Jesus is on both cheeks, in typical French style. Seeing this though placed the kiss in a new context, a more commonplace greeting, and probably closer to the original cultural practice than the more reserved "Men don't kiss" approach of Britain and America.

    Another fairly rare scene is the restoration of Peter from the epilogue to John's gospel in chapter 21. This is obviously included in The Gospel of John (2003), as well as Dayasagar (1978). It is also referenced in The Miracle Maker (1999), but even so it's still relatively rare. I suppose in some ways it's a bit of a dramatic anti-climax coming after Jesus's resurrection, and it's difficult to include it without it becoming one of those films that has too many endings. That said, The Gospel of John in particular makes this scene a real high point.

    One interesting detail I noticed was that the nails are placed through Jesus' wrists rather than his hands. This is generally held to be more historically accurate, but at this stage filmic depictions of the crucifixion always showed the nails going through the hands. Prior to seeing this film I had thought it wasn't until Campus Crusade/Genesis Project's film Jesus (1979) that a Jesus film had shown the nails going through the wrists (and from then on, it became the norm).

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