• 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


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    Sunday, January 07, 2018

    Trailer for Pureflix's Samson

    I try to space out my posts here rather than doing them in one go and, to be honest, time commitments usually enforce that anyway. In any case, the result is that I've been a little slower posting about this year's forthcoming PureFlix Samson, for which the above trailer has just been released.

    For those not in the know PureFlix are a faith-based producer, who run an online Christian film content subscription service in not dissimilar fashion to Netflix. This is not their first foray into the Bible film genre, back in 2013 they produced the adaptation The Book of Daniel. (I wrote a little about that here).

    It's been a while since I wrote anything about film portrayals of Samson. Indeed the last post, prior to this one, with a Samson tag is over 8 years old. Nevertheless I watched a few since then, most memorably the episode from the History Channel's The Bible series back in 2013. Three things struck me from this trailer in particular, then.

    Firstly, we see a shot of Samson lifting the gates of Gaza. This is quite rare as I recall. Certainly it's not a part of DeMille's famous version of the story. According to my scene guide for the Bible Collection's version of this story, the incident with the prostitute from Gaza is included, but I don't recall seeing Samson lift the gates. I'll check on The Bible's version and report back. I'm also due to review the 1922 silent version shortly. For some reason, I suspect it will feature in that one.

    Secondly, the weakest aspect of DeMille's 1949 version is the scene where Samson wrestles with a lion.Not unreasonably actor Victor Mature was reluctant to be too closely involved, the final sequence featured scenes of a stunt man (who seemed a little reluctant himself) wrestling with a live lion and Mature wrestling with a fake one. It's hard to tell in the latter scenes who turns in the better actor performance...

    Finally we also get to see a brief shot of , what I presume is, the climatic scene where (and I don't want to give too much away here) Samson destroys the temple. I guess most of Pureflix's audience will know the story, but still it's unusual to see a trailer give quite this much away, even if the story in question claims to be 3000 years old.

    My good friend Peter Chattaway has also made some interesting observations, including that the trailer suggests that this film's Samson "seems to fall into the 'reluctant hero' trope" adding that "he does fight back, but usually as a way of seeking personal revenge rather than to fulfil any sort of divine destiny." He has also posted a whole group of stills in this post.

    The film is due for release on February 16th  - the first Friday after Ash Wednesday - and stars James Taylor in the lead role, with Caitlin Leahy as Delilah and Bladerunner's Rutger Hauer as Samson's father.

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