• 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


    Sunday, February 13, 2022

    Obscure silent Jesus the Christ (1923) to be released in July

    Thanks to Sterling Jones for alerting me to this. Grapevine Video – one of the long-running heroes of the silent film world, held a kickstarter in December to fund a digital, DVD and Blu-ray release of an obscure silent Bible film Jesus the Christ purportedly from 1923.

    I don't use the term obscure lightly here. I'd never heard of the film before Sterling's tip off and neither had he. An email from the team at Grapevine explained that they themselves "were unable to unearth really any info that wasn’t in the film itself, and the film itself has no credits for the director or actors." I've consulted with all the recognised works on the subject and various other lists, and asked a number of other people who might have been able to uncover something about this, but still absolutely nothing.

    Judging by the trailer it was a relatively expensive production. The size of the crowd is considerable at certain points (e.g. above) and the costumes look of reasonable quality. My hunch is that this film may have also been released under another name, but even then it's hard to think of a candidate. My mind leapt to 1928's Jesus of Nazareth, but the footage Grapevine have released is at odds with the stills from that film in Kinnard and Davis' "Divine Images". 

    Perhaps when the restoration is complete and the film is released some more evidence might emerge from the wider community. In the meantime, if you have any ideas, please let me know!

    And the kickstarter itself? Smashed its target in just 7 hours – before even I had a chance to sign up. The DVD and Blu-ray are already available for pre-order and are likely to be released in July. Grapevine have also told me they are hoping a digital download option will be available as well.

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