• 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, August 07, 2006

    1898 The Passion Play of Oberammergau

    I recently got hold of a copy of "The Guinness Book of Film Facts and Feats". Whilst it's only the 1979 edition, and as a result many of the records will now have been broken, many of the entries are "the first film to do X", and so, baring new evidence, they still hold.

    A number of the entries I've come across already relate to bible films, and the following one grabbed my attention in particular. The 1898 Passion Play was apparently the first film to separate the functions of producer and director (p.133).

    The entry goes on to note how said director, Rich G. Hollaman, had never actually seen a movie, and so tried to make a series of still shots instead, rushing onto the set to shout "Hold it" whenever the cameras were rolling. Eventually, the film was shot in his absence in the early evening thanks to the cameraman convincing him the light had gone to get rid of him. Eventually they made it to two reels in time for it's opening at Eden Musee in January 1898. It seems stange that the first film to have a director was also possibly the first to have no director at all.



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