King of Kings (1961)

King of Kings
Directed by Nicholas Ray
Written by Philip Yordan
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Samuel Bronston Productions
First viewing/Amazon Instant


Narrator: And when the tomb was found empty, some days passed, and Christ was seen at Emmaus, and in Jerusalem, and those who saw Him knew He was the Lord God. And then a final time He came among His disciples by the shore of Galilee…

Apparently my bias against long Biblical epics extends to those directed by Nicholas Ray.

The story of Jesus of Nazareth is well-known and does not need repeating.  This film plays up the portions dealing with the oppression of the Jews by the Romans and the rebellion headed by Barrabas, leading to more than usual amounts of violence by the standards of these things.

Jeffrey Hunter makes a bland Jesus and Robert Ryan is a strange choice for the role of John the Baptist.  My Biblical studies are decades in the past but I couldn’t recall some of the incidents portrayed being included in the Good Book.  Ray is a master of color and the widescreen but the movie lacks the passion that could have made the movie work.

Interesting how my randomized list just happened to stop on this one for Easter Sunday!