Imaging the Divine: Jesus and Christ-Figures in Film

By Lloyd Baugh | Go to book overview

2
The Gospel According to Hollywood:
King of Kings and
The Greatest Story Ever Told

Another undoubted shortcoming of the Gospel according to Hollywood is the habit of watering down the Bible in our pluralistic society so that it gives the least possible offense to the religious sensibilities of all shades of believers and unbelievers in the audience. 1

In the early 1960s, after decades of representing Jesus as a secondary character, Hollywood produced two major biblical films in which Jesus was once again the principal character, King of Kings and The Greatest Story Ever Told. Both films were made in grand Hollywood epic-spectacular style and boasted important stars supported by hundreds of secondary actors, massive sets, elaborate costumes, and no apparent limits on costs. Both films took full advantage of all that the new film technology could offer: wide-screen images, ever more vivid colors, elaborate music scores and sound tracks and special effects. It was precisely because of these high production values that both films -- "disedifying and even antireligious" 2 -- were failures both in transmitting faithfully the content and meaning of the Gospel narrative and in representing adequately the person and significance of Jesus the Christ.


Nicholas Ray's King of Kings

The first of these "Jesus as Superstar" films is the 1961 MGM-Sam Bronston production, King of Kings, directed by Nicholas Ray, who, six years earlier had directed the award-winning Rebel without a Cause, for which the Jesus of the new film is sometimes referred to facetiously as "a rebel with a cause." 3 Over three hours in length, and costing eight million dollars, King of Kings - a title that blatantly "exploited the title of Cecil B. DeMille silent film, The King of Kings" 4 -- starred Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus and many other well-known Hollywood actors. It featured the voice-over narration of Orson Welles -- a performance which went uncredited 5 -- and included an omnipresent and dramatic music score, almost four hundred elaborate sets, hundreds of minor actors and two huge battle scenes. Once the production team 6 had decided to make the film in this epic-spectacular style, then in order to attract the largest possible viewing public, they had to effect two major transformations on their basic source-text, the gospels. On the one hand, they had to transform the spare, elliptical, linear, non-dramatic text of the gospels into a full, organic

-18-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Imaging the Divine: Jesus and Christ-Figures in Film
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 337

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.