• 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, November 14, 2006

    FilmChat: A tale of two 80s Bible movies

    The 80s were a fairly thin time for Bible films. Over at FilmChat, Peter Chataway has a piece called A tale of two Bible movies from the 1980s where he compares the box office fates of 1985's King David and 1988's Last Temptation of Christ. Peter's main point is that these were the only two American films to get a cinematic release in the 80s that were based om the bible. (None of the following films fit into that category: (1980) The Day Christ Died, Wholly Moses, (1981) Peter and Paul, (1985) Hail Mary, (1986) Esther, (1986) Genesis, (1988) A.D., The Seventh Sign, (1989) Jesus of Montreal (Jesu de Montreal)).

    Peter also goes onto note how despite the back of a major studio, King David ultimately did worse than Last Temptation at the box office. I do think Peter overlooks some of Last Temptation's bankability factors. Firstly, whilst King David did feature a star (Richard Gere), Dafoe and Keitel were also fairly well known by this point. Secondly, whilst King David had a major studio behind it, nothing sells a movie like controversy (just ask Mel Gibson). All publicity is good publicity etc.. Last Temptation had controversy by the bucket load, and as a result is still well known today whereas King David is all but forgotten.

    Either way, as Peter has pointed out elsewhere, The Nativity Story is not the first Bible film to be released by a major studio in 50 years.

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    • At 4:08 am, November 15, 2006, Blogger Daniel Lay said…

      This is beside the subject of the blog, but why did you choose to refer to Peter Chataway by his first name rather than his last name?

    • At 4:55 am, November 15, 2006, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Mainly because Peter's a good friend. It would seem weird to call him "Chattaway" unless it was either a more formal piece, or something more akin to banter.


    • At 1:33 pm, November 15, 2006, Blogger Daniel Lay said…

      I thought that him being a close friend might have been the case.

      For me as a reader, it seemed a little weird when you called him by his first name.

      I'd say this piece had the same caliber of formality as your other posts on this blog--at least the same as what I've read on this blog in the past two weeks.


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