• 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


    Thursday, May 28, 2009

    The Miracle Maker on Hulu

    Following on from an earlier post where I mentioned that US residents can see Last Temptation of Christ, for free at hulu.com, then Henry Nguyen has noticed that you can view the Miracle Maker there as well.

    As I'm based in the UK, I'm a bit off the pace with Hulu. Certainly it look like the content is there (or, in my case, not there) legally, but how do they make it financially viable? I guess the content includes advertising. Does anyone know if commercials crop up in the middle of films or only at the start?


    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    Early Bible Film Screenings

    UCL is hosting a second day's worth of silent historical films. The Ancient World in Silent Cinema will take place at London's Bloomsbury Theatre on Monday 22nd June and is free to anyone interested in attending. The first such event featured films set in ancient Greece & Rome; here the focus switches to Biblical and Egyptian films. In addition to screening 19 silent films, several of which I hadn't actually of, there are also 3 talks from David Mayer (Manchester University), Margaret Malamud (State University of New Mexico), and Judith Buchanan (York University). The full timetable is as follows:
    Wanted a Mummy (UK 1910) 4 mins
    Sposa del Nilo/ The Bride of the Nile (IT 1911) 11 mins
    Vergine di Babilonia / The Virgin of Babylon (IT 1910) 9 mins
    Caïn et Abel / Cain and Abel (FR 1911) 5 mins
    Sacra Bibbia / The Sacred Bible (IT 1920), episode of ‘The Story of Joseph in Egypt’ 9 mins.
    Moïse sauvé des eaux / Moses Saved from the River (Fr 1910) 8 mins
    L’exode (FR 1910) 13 mins
    La vie de Moïse (FR 1910) interspersed with Life of Moses (US 1909-10) 13 mins
    Jephthah’s Daughter (US 1909) 6 mins
    Jephthah’s Daughter (US 1913) 25 mins


    SPEAKERS (4.30-6PM)
    David Mayer, Margaret Malamud and Judith Buchanan

    Samson et Dalila (FR 1902) 3 mins
    Samson (FR 1908) 11 mins
    David et Goliath (FR 1910) 8 mins
    Reine de Saba / Queen of Sheba (FR 1913) 19 mins
    Giuditta e Oloferne (IT 1908) 6 mins
    Judith (FR 1910) 8 mins
    Aveugle de Jérusalem / The Blind Man of Jerusalem (FR 1909) 8 mins
    Vie de Jesus (FR 1905-14) 8 mins, episodes from childhood to transfiguration
    Vie de Jesus (FR 1905-14) 18 mins, episodes from annunciation to ascension
    I've got my train tickets booked for the event, and I know of at least one visitor to this blog who is also going. If anyone else decides to attend, please do come and say hello.

    I've spoken to the event's organiser and though it's not possible to book tickets, they are fairlky confident that the 500 seat theatre will not sell out. I was also told that whilst the talks are informal and, thus, without specific titles, Mayer will be speaking about the films' relationships with other 19th century art forms, Malamud will be covering ancient Egypt and its reception more broadly at the beginning of the 20th century, and Buchanan will talk on the Jesus and Judith films.

    Those of you that would love to join us, but sadly live on the other side of the world, will be pleased to know that the The Ancient World in Silent Cinema Research Project (of which this event is a part) is hoping to secure funding to digitise these films and eventually release a DVD, though this is still a very long way off.


    Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    Gibson Makes Passion Settlement

    Mel Gibson appears to have settled his lawsuit with Benedict Fitzgerald, the screenwriter for The Passion of the Christ. The BBC website is claiming that Fitzgerald and Gibson have settled on an undisclosed sum after Fitzgerald claimed that Gibson told him the cost of making the film was substantially lower than it actually was. Last month he had demanded to see the accounts for the hit film. Fitzgerald is currently working on Mary, Mother of the Christ due to star Al Pacino as Herod.


    Monday, May 18, 2009

    The Guardian's "Reel History"

    Ever watched an historical epic, and came away wondering how historically accurate it was? If so, and you secretly worry that scurrying away to check it out on Wikipedia may be equally as futile, then you should probably try out Alex von Tunzelmann's "Reel History" column in The Guardian.

    Tunzelmann biog describes her as "a historian and writer", name checks her first book ("Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire") and reveals that "she lives in London". Her Reel History articles have been coming out every Thursday since July last year, and are as entertaining as they are informative. Her drawing and quartering of Braveheart is a great example.

    So far only two Bible films have been covered: Life of Brian (my posts on this film) and DeMille's The Ten Commandments (likewise). Hopefully, though, there will be plenty more to follow.

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    Friday, May 15, 2009

    Kings to Come to DVD

    The fate of NBC's Kings goes from bad to worse. Having been bumped from Sunday night to Saturday and then back to June, producer/writer Bradford Winters has announced the inevitable - that the show has been officially cancelled.

    Meanwhile however, Amazon has created a page for the forthcoming DVD. Aside from the ASIN number, and the fact that it will be released by Universal Studios there's very little to go on (suggesting it will be a while until it's released), but it's worth bookmarking for those who might be interested in buying it when it finally does find it's way to stores.

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    Thursday, May 14, 2009

    Weiss to Play Lamarr Playing Delilah?

    Peter Chattaway is wondering whether Rachel Weiss will indirectly play Delilah given The Hollywood Reporter's story that Weiss has taken the leading part in a Hedy Lamarr biopic. Lamarr's most famous role was, of course, as the titular honey-trapping Philistine in DeMille's 1949 Samson and Delilah. Peter asks "Will the new film depict the making of DeMille's film in any way, shape or form?". I would have to guess "yes", but would be surprised if it showed any actual footage.

    The film, with the working title Face Value will be directed by Amy Redford, daughter of Hollywood legend Robert.

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    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Casting and Blog for Ben Hur

    Filming for the Ben Hur mini-series started last week in Ouarzazete, Morocco, utilising the museum there for the interior scenes of the Governor's Palace.

    Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter has revealed the names of the pricipal actors involved in the production. Joseph Morgan (Master and Commander takes the title role, opposite Stephen Campbell Moore as Messala. The film's biggest name looks to be Ray Winstone who plays the Roman who adopts him, Quintus Arrius. The cast will also include Emily VanCamp (Esther), Kristen Kruek (Judah's sister Tirzah), Hugh Bonneville (Pontius Pilate), Alex Kingston, Lucia Jimenez, Miguel Angel Munoz, Marc Warren, Art Malik and James Faulkner (Marcellus).

    The producer of the series, Simon Vaughan, has started a blog charting the progress of filming, and there are already a good number of on set photos of the cast and crew, including the above of Morgan and director Steven Shill.

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    Thursday, May 07, 2009

    Coming Soon on Year One

    Peter Chattaway has links to two on-set reports about Year One. Cinematical's article includes a couple of quotes from Michael Cera which, as with the whole piece, suggest that the filmmakers have pulled out all the stops with this one. A second Cinematical article is due out shortly.

    Meanwhile, a similar length article is up at ComingSoon.net, but it is accompanied by interviews with the following members of cast and crew:
    Director Harold Ramis
    Jack Black (Zed)
    Michael Cera (Oh)
    David Cross (Cain)
    Oliver Platt (The High Priest)
    It seems David Cross's role will go far beyond that of the biblical Cain. i'm not sure what to make of his claim that Life of Brian "didn't really make much of a comment as much as this has". Anyway, there's plenty of reading material there for anyone who is interested, and I guess release of this film is now only 6 or so weeks away.

    Edit: And now Peter has linked to the international trailer which features a glimpse of Abraham and Isaac.

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    Tuesday, May 05, 2009

    Biblical Studies Carnival 41

    Photo by Tim Parkinson, used under a Creative Commons Licence

    Over at Exploring our Matrix, James McGrath has posted the 41st Biblical Studies Carnival. As is often the case, it highlighted to me a number of the interesting biblioblog posts that I had missed, but I particularly enjoyed the way it was written, and the play on the 'carnival' metaphor. The sideshow idea, where James lists posts that were submitted but could not really be classified as biblical studies, is inspired, although it's good to know a large enough number of posts are nominated these days to make this necessary. Thanks also to James for the three links to this blog. I'm not sure that has happened before.

    April list of Top 50 Bibliobloggers has also been posted (and I'm up to number 32). Thanks to the anonymous compiler(s) of that site for all their work.

    Next month's Biblical Studies Carnival will be parading through the streets of Jim Getz's Ketuvium. For more information on these carnivals, including where to submit pieces visit the Biblical Studies Carnival Homepage.


    Friday, May 01, 2009

    Potter's Son of Man on DVD

    Many thanks to my friend Kevin Neece for tipping me off about this one: Dennis Potter's 1969 TV play Son of Man is available to buy on DVD. It doesn't appear to be an official release, and indeed, the fact that the seller has stated that "all transfers are very good quality considering the age of the material and I have used professional editing equipment to master" suggests that potential purchasers should not have high expectations about the film's picturee and sound quality. (It will also be in black and white not in colour as per the still above). Nevertheless, I know that a lot of people are desperate to see this production.

    In looking through my Son of Man label, I'm appalled to find that I've written so little on this film. I had planned to do a podcast on it, but sadly that is on pause for the foreseeable future.

    Anyway, I hope this makes a few people's days. It would be great to hear some feedback from first-timers (or, for that matter, anyone else) on this film, so feel free to post your comments.

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