• 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, October 03, 2006

    Testament: The Bible in Animation: Elijah

    Elijah has always been one of my favourite characters in the Old Testament. There’s just something about the way he sees his God do incredible things, and yet there is a frail insecure humanity about him that makes him easy to relate to. It’s a shame, therefore, that his story has largely been neglected by filmmakers. I’m aware of only four versions of the story: Sins of Jezebel (1953), Elijah - A Fearless Prophet from the “Living Bible Series” (1958), the Latter Day Saints version Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath (1996) and this entry in the “Testament: Bible in Animation” series, simply called Elijah (also 1996). IMDB gives two other possible films, but has no information other than their years.

    As a whole, the series is animated using a whole range of different techniques, most of which are very expressionist, few of which sit simply as just “cartoons” (see posts on Jonah, Ruth). Elijah is no exception. Eschewing attempts to create life-like illustrations of these characters the animation is again highly stylised. Elijah looking like Atlas, Ahab wide and squat, Jezebel tall and decorated. This is not animation just for kids.

    Another unusual feature of this film is the soundtrack. Most 30 minute cartoons maybe have a silly song or two to break up the story. Elijah, on the other hand, realises the epic nature of it’s material, and enhances the towering images on the screen with operatic music performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC National Chorus of Wales. Elijah’s solos are performed by Bryn Terfel (as opposed to David Schofield who voices his speech).

    The film depicts nearly all of the biblical material concerning Elijah as can be seen by looking at the following scene guide.
    Intro to Ahab - (1 Kings 16:29-34)
    Death of the prophets - (1 Kings 18:4)
    Elijah predicts drought - (1 Kings 17:1)
    Elijah and the Ravens - (1 Kings 17:2-6)
    Elijah and Widow of Zarephath - (1 Kings 17:7-24)
    Elijah and Prophets of Baal - (1 Kings 18:1-2, 16-40)
    End of the Drought - (1 Kings 18:45-46)
    Elijah on the mountain - (1 Kings 19:1-18)
    Elijah calls Elishah - (1 Kings 19:19-21)
    God declares Judgement on Ahab - (1 Kings 21:17-21)
    Elijah taken to Heaven - (2 Kings 2:1-14)
    The only episode missing from the film then is Elijah’s meeting with Obadiah in 1 Kings 18:3-15, although Elijah getting his servant to climb the mountain in search of a rain cloud is also excluded. The screenplay does also subtly add some useful pieces of historical information such as the fact that Baal was god of the rain, or that the widow of Zarephath hailed from the same place as Jezebel herself. It also illustrates the slaying of the prophets of God, which is only referred to in the text (1 Kings 18:4), but acts to provide a good context for the stories that follow.

    Another note the film adds is when Elijah calls Elishah from his father’s fields. Elishah’s father tells Elishah he is due a double portion of his inheritance, and this is obvisouly still in Elishah’s mind when shortly afterwards he asks his spiritual father, Elijah, for a double portion of his blessing instead.

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    • At 8:12 pm, October 06, 2006, Blogger Bible Discernment said…

      The Bible is under attack from all sides. Satan knows it tells the truth about him, the victory that Jesus had at the cross, and what will happen in the future. As such, Satan has and still is making every attempt to destroy the Word of God. What better way to do this, than to change the meaning of the Bible over time with different bible versions; each version as it comes along claiming it is the truth and the most accurate of all the versions up until that point.
      The line must be drawn where we say, "If the King James Bible was good enough for 400 years, then it is still good enough for me." For by it men and women have been saved and the knowledge of God imparted unto them. When new bible versions come along, they always take something away that is never replaced, only to be lost forever. If you believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, then stand up for it. Take a stand and speak out against these new bible versions. An objection often raised against the "King James Only Crowd" is that people learn something from the other (modern) versions, too, and that some even get saved: but I dare say that this occurs in spite of these errant versions, not because of them!
      The Authorized Version of 1611, or, in other words, the King James Bible, stands alone in its uniqueness, integrity, and fidelity to the truthfulness of God’s Word. Among reasons why this writer holds this conviction is because of the great harm done not only to the Word of God, but the detriment wrought in the local church in its public worship, and, of course, because of the confusion created in countless group and individual Bible studies. After all, it could be said: How do you think your professor would think or feel if all of his students used different textbooks in his class?! In our case, God is our Great Professor! He alone is the one true God, who has walked among us upon this earth and left us the living and enduring legacy of His Word and His Spirit. Until He comes, Amen.

    • At 9:09 pm, June 13, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      how can i oder this movie

    • At 2:43 am, June 14, 2008, Blogger Matt Page said…

      You should be able to order it from Amazon marketplace.
      UK link
      US link



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