16 April 2006

Dream Double Bill # 12 'King of Kings' and 'The Gospel According to St. Matthew'

This week's double bill is timed to coincide with Easter Sunday. In my opinion two of the greatest films about Jesus; ‘King of Kings’ (1961) directed by Nicholas Ray and ‘The Gospel According to St. Matthew’ / ‘Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo’ (1964) directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini.

According to Nicholas Ray’s biography; ‘An American Journey’ by Bernard Eisenshitz ‘King of Kings’ was originally to be titled ‘Son of Man’, and how they registered the title with the MPAA as Cecil B DeMille had not registered the title in the 1920’s when he made ‘The King of Kings’.
For me ‘King of Kings’ is a great epic and everything an epic should be. I enjoyed the voice over by Orson Welles (written by Ray Bradbury), the music and of course the imagery, particularly the scene where the crucifix is raised and the camera follows.


Michael J. Hayde said...

Wonderful frame grabs from "King of Kings." The title change info was intersting, as well as slightly ironic. At the time the film was in production, a few industry wags - believing that Jeffrey Hunter was miscast - began referring to the film as "I Was a Teenage Jesus."

I haven't seen it since it aired on local TV back in the seventies (and probably chopped up to boot). I'm assuming by your frame grabs that it's out there in letterbox format, so I'll seek it out. Thank you!

Richard Gibson said...

Michael: I think I'd heard that about 'Teenage Jesus'. I actually think Jeffrey Hunter works well.

Yes, it's freely available on R1 DVD, with a few minor extras. Sadly Nicholas Ray DVD's are still few and far between in UK. France and Spain are better served where they have 'They Live by Night' and 'Bigger than Life'.