Monday, November 15, 2021

By the Gods!

Fleeing Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus come across a long line of crucifixes in THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD (1965)

Whatever you think of this movie you can't deny how visual stunning it is. The movie is often compared to KING OF KINGS (1961) and most people prefer that one, with Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus. I can see why but I feel GREATEST STORY looked more modern, more like a movie from the 1970s. The casting of Max Von Sydow as Jesus is an issue to many folks and Jeffrey Hunter did create an unforgettable Jesus but I believe that movie, even with all its faults, is unjustifiably maligned. I bought the Blu-ray and I'll give my impressions of it soon.


Anonymous said...

I've watched Greatest Story Ever Told several times hoping I would eventually warm up to it. Apparently that is never going to happen. I think King of Kings is so much better in every way.

Anonymous said...

The fundamental problem with TGSET is that it tries too hard to be “artful” and ultimately comes across as being artificial.

PEPLUM TV said...

"The fundamental problem with TGSET is that it tries too hard to be “artful” and ultimately comes across as being artificial."

I agree with this. It tries too hard. But it still doesn't take away that some scenes are visually beautiful.


I enjoy both productions for different reasons. King of Kings is very bright and colorful almost like a story book version of the life and times of Christ.

TGSET is dark and moody and more realistic, in particular the Roman military costumes. This is not a surprise as the designer was Vittorio Nino Novarese a military historian in his own right.

In my opinion what really spoilt the latter was the decision made by the studio I believe late in the day to cram as many 'stars' into minor roles as possible. Notoriously John Wayne as the centurion.

PEPLUM TV said...

Hi Graham.

Good to hear from you!

One thing that's interesting about THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD is how director George Stevens approached it. It's claimed he wanted a 'gimmick-free' version of the story of Jesus and yet the casting, with all the cameos throughout, was a gimmick in itself. It's definitely one of the annoying aspects of this movie. But the movie is often visually stunning.

I agree that KING OF KINGS does look like a storybook version of the story of Christ.

Shingo Nishimura said...

I was lucky to see TGSET in Super Cinerama. It was very impressive in that gigantic screen. But not impressive enough to convert a Japanese boy to Christianity.
Later when I saw The Exorcist, I thought that "Father Merrin can easily kick the devil out of the girl. He is played by Jesus Christ Himself!".

PEPLUM TV said...

Shingo lol!