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JESUS ON FILM: Scorsese vs DeMille


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We're getting straight-up sacrilegious on this week's episode of Backseat Filmmaker; Joey Monroy and Connor Quade join forces with me to compare the works of two of cinema's greatest artists.

 

 

The Easter holiday means many things to many different people. 

Chocolate rabbits, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and cascarones, those hollow egg shells, filled with confetti, that Mexican kids use to break on each other’s heads. 

 

But for me, Easter is a celebration of one of my favorite film genres: The Biblical Epic.

 

In 1927, Hollywood titan Cecil B. DeMille directed The King of Kings, a larger than life, sprawling spectacle which presented a very reverent, if traditional, take on the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

 

Decades later, Martin Scorsese offered moviegoers a much more polarizing look at Jesus’ mission in 1988’s The Last Temptation of Christ. The film was immediately condemned by religious audiences and caused rioting and protesting across the world.

 

While Jesus has been the basis for many films made in between, and since, today’s episode will examine why DeMille and Scorsese’s versions are the ones to top.


Tune in Sunday night to see DeMille's take on TCM.

https://bigjohncreations.wordpress.com

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Good discussion.

 

As you and your guests allude to, it's interesting that in both DeMille and Scorsese's films, Jesus is depicted with northern European features.

 

I guess we can blame European artists (from da Vinci and earlier) for turning Jesus into a Gentile.

 

And let's not forget Jeffrey Hunter in Nicholas Ray's 1961 movie:

 

 

KOK29r.jpg

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Good discussion.

 

As you and your guests allude to, it's interesting that in both DeMille and Scorsese's films, Jesus is depicted with northern European features.

 

I guess we can blame European artists (from da Vinci and earlier) for turning Jesus into a Gentile.

 

And let's not forget Jeffery Hunter in Nicholas Ray's 1961 movie:

 

 

KOK29r.jpg

Yepper he probably should look more like this:

 

tt_zpswztgcn2x.jpg

 

;)

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Good discussion.

 

As you and your guests allude to, it's interesting that in both DeMille and Scorsese's films, Jesus is depicted with northern European features.

 

I guess we can blame European artists (from da Vinci and earlier) for turning Jesus into a Gentile.

In his classic work, The Quest for the Historical Jesus, Albert Schweitzer writes about the tendency to turn Jesus into a personage of one's own sort, rather than depict him as the Jew that he was.  This habit not only applies to Northern Europeans, but to African Christians and others as well.

 

I'm sorry in its compulsive holiday programming today, TCM has not seen fit to show some films that might have some connection to the goddess for which the holiday is named: Eostre.  There are probably no films specifically about her, but perhaps the not entirely relevant Wicker Man might have been appropriate, or any film that celebrates the arrival of Spring.

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Decades later, Martin Scorsese offered moviegoers a much more polarizing look at Jesus’ mission in 1988’s The Last Temptation of Christ. The film was immediately condemned by religious audiences and caused rioting and protesting across the world.


 


Well, I really enjoyed the LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, I thought it was an unusual "take" on a Biblical story. But I really disliked the actor who portrayed Jesus. I imagined him to be much more charismatic and attractive....after all....people listened to him.


 


I have heard the new cable TV shows about the Bible depict Jesus as Middle Eastern. I'm not a Christian, but I do find a blonde blue eyed Jesus ridiculous.


 


And BTW, Tiny Tim did have a strong classy singing voice, when not in comedic falsetto mode.


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Decades later, Martin Scorsese offered moviegoers a much more polarizing look at Jesus’ mission in 1988’s The Last Temptation of Christ. The film was immediately condemned by religious audiences and caused rioting and protesting across the world.

 

Well, I really enjoyed the LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, I thought it was an unusual "take" on a Biblical story. But I really disliked the actor who portrayed Jesus. I imagined him to be much more charismatic and attractive....after all....people listened to him.

 

I have heard the new cable TV shows about the Bible depict Jesus as Middle Eastern. I'm not a Christian, but I do find a blonde blue eyed Jesus ridiculous.

 

The chances are that if the real Jesus ever existed, he would've looked something like this:

 

Sephardi-Rat-Kike.jpg

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The chances are that if the real Jesus ever existed, he would've looked something like this:

 

Probably a bit more light skinned. There is considerable DNA evidence in today's Jewish community. Despite the influences of the Diaspora, there is strong DNA linkage among contemporary Jews to the Fertile Crescent.   Andy, I think what you might be doing is what Schweitzer said people have always done: depicting Jesus in the way you want him to look!

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Like he's from India? Jesus probably didn't look like Jeffrey Hunter, but people forget that even then, there was a mixture of different ethnic groups and cultures during that time, thanks to, in no small part, the Roman Empire. I'm sure he looked Middle Eastern, but that's not the same as looking South Asian. 

The chances are that if the real Jesus ever existed, he would've looked something like this:

 

Sephardi-Rat-Kike.jpg

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I'm a sucker for Max von Sydow in anything and thought he made a very interesting Jesus in The Greatest Story Ever Told.

A Swedish Jesus - but he made it work!

Not the best Jesus movie, but my favourite performance.

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My choice for best Jesus is Zeffirelli's 'Jesus of Nazareth'.

 

Best-looking Jesus, best movie about Jesus. For me.

 

maybe someone who's good at posting pics can post ALL the images of the filmatic Jesus & we can have one of our infamous 'polls' to pick our favorite.... ;)

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My choice for best Jesus is Zeffirelli's 'Jesus of Nazareth'.

 

Best-looking Jesus, best movie about Jesus. For me.

The best movie about Jesus is Monty Python's "The Life of Brian"....sorry I just for once would like to see that shown on Easter Sunday, you know a Western Day with "Blazing Saddles" and a movie day with nothing but Robin Hoods and "Men in Tights".  

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First of all, my wife's family(and all the others in the neighborhood she grew up in) usually filled those eggs with FLOUR!  only for the "sissy whettoes"( gringoes) would confetti be used!

 

Second, There are more guys to put in the fray than Scorcese and DeMille.

 

There's STEVENS to also consider.  AND Mel Gibson!

 

also, ZEFFIRELLI

 

and RAY!

 

And, I agree with Blue about Robert Powell being the best "film Jesus".  PLUS Zeffirelli's presentation of Jerusalem crucifixion was based more on historical accuracy.  It WAS more than likely, that Jesus, living in a geographical area with scant amounts of wood, probably DID only carry a crossbar on his shoulders( which, in the day's vernacular, would have simply been referred to as a "cross"), which, when considering it was also about the size and weight of a railroad tie would have been quite an ordeal anyway.  And other historical articles I've read about crucifixion claim the nails were driven through the wrists, due to the bones in the hand not being strong or connected well enough to prevent the nail to split the skin of the hand and having the whole arm from that point just drop off the cross and dangle!( ewww!)

 

So, perhaps THAT'S where the discussion should lie.-----On WHOM was the better "movie Jesus"!

 

As far as ART, .....I recall in art class that one obstacle for potential artists to overcome was injecting too much of themselves in portraiture.  Also it is probably WHY, when an Italian artis attempted to paint an image of Jesus, he looked Italian!  Notice, when El Grco attempted it, Jesus looked Spanish.  GERMAN artists had him looking TEUTONIC!

 

Him being Jewish brings up possibilities of Him resembling MEL BROOKS!, or maybe GEORGIE JESSELL!  :lol:

 

Maybe even JONAH HILL!

 

At any rate, there have been several actors who played Jesus on film.  I don't know ALL of them, but the ones off the top of my head are:

 

H B WARNER

 

JEFFERY HUNTER

 

MAX VON SYDOW

 

ROBERT POWELL

 

CHRIS SARANDON

 

WILLEM DAFOE

 

JIM CAVIEZEL

 

There WAS a "Jesus film" long time ago starring LEE J. COBB, but HE wasn't Jesus in the film.  I don't reall the actor who was, nor the name of the movie!

 

 

Sepiatone

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...There WAS a "Jesus film" long time ago starring LEE J. COBB, but HE wasn't Jesus in the film.  I don't reall the actor who was, nor the name of the movie!

 

 

Sepiatone

 

Oh yeah, I think I remember Cobb in that one, Sepia. Played a real big jerk in it, as I recall. Kind of a racist, in fact.

 

Wasn't it called "Twelve Angry Apostles"???

 

(...sorry...couldn't resist) ;)

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First of all, my wife's family(and all the others in the neighborhood she grew up in) usually filled those eggs with FLOUR!  only for the "sissy whettoes"( gringoes) would confetti be used!

 

Second, There are more guys to put in the fray than Scorcese and DeMille.

 

There's STEVENS to also consider.  AND Mel Gibson!

 

also, ZEFFIRELLI

 

and RAY!

 

And, I agree with Blue about Robert Powell being the best "film Jesus".  PLUS Zeffirelli's presentation of Jerusalem crucifixion was based more on historical accuracy.  It WAS more than likely, that Jesus, living in a geographical area with scant amounts of wood, probably DID only carry a crossbar on his shoulders( which, in the day's vernacular, would have simply been referred to as a "cross"), which, when considering it was also about the size and weight of a railroad tie would have been quite an ordeal anyway.  And other historical articles I've read about crucifixion claim the nails were driven through the wrists, due to the bones in the hand not being strong or connected well enough to prevent the nail to split the skin of the hand and having the whole arm from that point just drop off the cross and dangle!( ewww!)

 

So, perhaps THAT'S where the discussion should lie.-----On WHOM was the better "movie Jesus"!

 

As far as ART, .....I recall in art class that one obstacle for potential artists to overcome was injecting too much of themselves in portraiture.  Also it is probably WHY, when an Italian artis attempted to paint an image of Jesus, he looked Italian!  Notice, when El Grco attempted it, Jesus looked Spanish.  GERMAN artists had him looking TEUTONIC!

 

Him being Jewish brings up possibilities of Him resembling MEL BROOKS!, or maybe GEORGIE JESSELL!  :lol:

 

Maybe even JONAH HILL!

 

At any rate, there have been several actors who played Jesus on film.  I don't know ALL of them, but the ones off the top of my head are:

 

H B WARNER

 

JEFFERY HUNTER

 

MAX VON SYDOW

 

ROBERT POWELL

 

CHRIS SARANDON

 

WILLEM DAFOE

 

JIM CAVIEZEL

 

There WAS a "Jesus film" long time ago starring LEE J. COBB, but HE wasn't Jesus in the film.  I don't reall the actor who was, nor the name of the movie!

 

 

Sepiatone

I assume the word you want to use is guero, right? (my phone doesn't allow me to ise the diesesis....two dots overthe U, so that the pronunciation is like your "whetto", instead of closer to ghetto without.

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