HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Auschwitz Escape, The
Jungle Fever
Great White
Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
   
 
Newest Articles
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
   
 
  King of Kings Rebel With A Cause
Year: 1961
Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: Jeffrey Hunter, Siobhan McKenna, Hurd Hatfield, Ron Randell, Viveca Lindfors, Rita Gam, Carmen Sevilla, Brigid Bazlen, Harry Guardino, Rip Torn, Frank Thring, Guy Rolfe, Royal Dano, Robert Ryan, Grégoire Aslan, George Coulouris, Gérard Tichy, Orson Welles
Genre: HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: In 63 B.C. the Roman Empire invaded Judea and after a long siege captured the capital city of Jersualem, leading to many years of totalitarian rule over the Jewish population when many of the locals died due to their conquerors' savagery. Before long, Herod (Grégoire Aslan) had been placed as King, but took his orders from Rome though considered himself the most important man in the land, so when, during the census he imposed, news reached him that a supposed new King of the Jews had been born in Bethlehem, he ordered the death of any baby boys in the area. But one escaped...

It's forgotten now, but King of Kings, now thought of as one of the most reverent treatments of the Christ story, was once considered very controversial, receiving poor reviews and public criticism in some quarters, leading its powerful producer Samuel Bronston to demand reshoots to make it more piety-friendly; he even added a sober narration written by Ray Bradbury and delivered by the voiceover man's voiceover man of the day, Orson Welles. The perceived problem here was down to its director, Nicholas Ray, whose previous efforts were considered edgy and, in his own word, "hip", and he approached the Biblical tale in the same way.

Watching it now, you'd be hard pressed to find much edgy about it, but Ray evidently regarded this biography as one of a revolutionary, and set his context by bringing the contemporary of Christ, Barabbas (Harry Guardino), the man best known for being the freedom fighter here (he was a simple criminal in the text) who the crowd chose to release over Jesus, and offering him far more screen time than he ever had enjoyed before. The idea was to contrast the two styles of these folk heroes, with Christ the man of mediation, peace and sermonising, and Barabbas the counterpart who thought force and might was the only way to throw off the shackles of the Romans and their corrupting influence on his land.

Famously at the time, the man chosen to play Jesus was Jeffrey Hunter, a handsome performer who nevertheless never quite got the breaks he probably deserved, though nobody really came out of this film much better than they had before. He led it to be dubbed "I Was a Teenage Jesus" by the critics due to his youthful countenance, although he was by all rights exactly the right age to be playing the Christian saviour, but it wasn't as good a role as it might have first appeared. Indeed, Hunter came across as straitjacketed by having to speak in stoic, measured tones throughout, though his best scene came not with the finale, but with the Sermon on the Mount, which builds up a lot of talk to a moving recital of The Lord's Prayer that for a brief time shows what Hunter could have done if he had been given a better opportunity.

Actually, for long stretches it seems as if Ray was less interested in the Messiah and more in the other, more colourful characters, with Barabbas a fiery presence and Robert Ryan's John the Baptist as curious and charismatic a figure here as he was in the scripture. The two Herods (Frank Thring played the successor) are entertaining in a boo-hiss manner, although it was Brigid Bazlen's perverse Salome who captures a lot of the attention though sadly did nothing for the actress's shortlived career. The supernatural elements to the Testaments were downplayed, to the extent that Ray and his screenwriter Philip Yordan looked almost embarrassed as if they wished to get back to the political stuff, and Miklos Rosza's heavenly choir overemphasised what they wished to remain subtle, but the theme of the contest between violent reactions to persecution and the pacifist response that is viewed as more noble by Christ's followers was strong enough to make you wish for a film that favoured passion over careful, thoughtful holiness.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3680 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: