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    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


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    Monday, April 21, 2008

    Interrupted and Ray's King of Kings

    Director Nicholas Ray is best remembered for Rebel Without a Cause (1955), even though the masterful In a Lonely Place (1950) is, in my opinion, his best work. But he was also the director of the 1961 Jesus film King of Kings. Whilst King of Kings is clearly not in the same league as those other films, it does continue to explore some of the thematic elements from those earlier pictures. It was apparently a bad experience for Ray though, indeed Bernard Eisenschitz catalogues the production team fall out regarding the film1 and his wife Betty Ray regarded it as "the start of his self betrayal".2.

    So it will be interesting to see if King of Kings features in next year's Ray biopic Interrupted. There's precious little information about it at the moment. It's based on Ray's posthumously published auto-biography 'I was Interrupted', and is being produced by City Lights Pictures (The Ten). Philip Kaufman (Quills, The Unbearable Lightness of Being) is lined up as director and City Lights claim that there's "A-list talent slated to star". Variety has a brief piece on this, as do a few other outlets, but there's not much to go on so far (and the Variety piece is from Jan. 2006).

    In any case, I suspect King of Kings won't figure too highly: it is mentioned on only 5 pages in the index for 'I Was Interrupted', as opposed to 24 in Eisenschitz's index (although Eisenschitz's is book is more than twice as many pages) . But it would be interesting if it were included. No doubt it could make an interesting double bill with the sort of DeMille biopic Sands of Oblivion.

    1 - Bernard Eisenschitz, "Nicholas Ray: An American Journey", Faber and Faber (London), ch.34, but especially p.371-375
    2 - Bernard Eisenschitz, "Nicholas Ray: An American Journey", Faber and Faber (London), p.379



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