Posts Tagged ‘Ben-Hur’

BEN-HUR – Miklós Rózsa

September 18, 2017 4 comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

As a new decade dawned, MGM studio executives began searching for a grand tale to bring to the screen. They decided in 1952 to cast their lot with a remake of their epic 1925 silent film, Ben-Hur. The film’s source material would again reference Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. It would take six years before producer Sam Zimbalist could bring the project to fruition. It required twelve versions of the script, from four different writers, to finally satisfy the demands of director William Wyler. Casting was also challenging as over 5,000 people needed to be hired for minor roles and extras. The studio spared no expense, ultimately providing Wyler with an astounding $15 million budget. Charlton Heston secured the titular role of Judah Ben-Hur and was supported by a fine cast, which included Stephen Boyd as Messala, Jack Hawkins as Quintus Arius, Haya Harareet as Esther, Martha Scott as Miriam, Sam Jaffe as Simonides, Hugh Griffith as Sheik Ilderim, Cathy O’Donnell as Tirzah, Frank Thring as Pontius Pilate, and Finlay Currie as Balthazar narrator. Read more…

BEN-HUR – Marco Beltrami

August 26, 2016 8 comments

benhur-beltramiOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ was, and remains, one of the most popular and successful novels in American literature. The story recounts the life of a fictional Jewish prince, Judah Ben-Hur, in 1st century Jerusalem. Ben-Hur grows up wealthy and privileged with his childhood friend, a Roman named Messala. Years later, Messala returns home from Rome as a newly-commissioned commander in the Roman army, and his new status and increasing prejudice against Jews causes a rift between the two former friends. Messala falsely accuses Ben-Hur of attempting to assassinate a Roman prefect, and conspires to have him sent away to serve as a galley slave, while simultaneously imprisoning his mother, Miriam, and sister, Tirzah. Ben-Hur vows revenge against Messala, and spends years training himself to be a warrior and charioteer, waiting until his opportunity to achieve redemption appears. To give it its strong religious undercurrent, Wallace’s story takes place simultaneously with the life of Jesus Christ, who was born and lived during the same time period, which allows Ben-Hur and Jesus to cross paths at several moments during the formation of Christianity. Read more…

BEN-HUR – Miklós Rózsa

December 17, 2010 10 comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

This 1959 film version of General Lew Wallace’s best-selling novel achieved Oscar legend as it went on to win 11 Academy Awards including Best Score for Miklós Rózsa. The film tells the tale of Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur, played in exemplary fashion by Charlton Heston, who lives in Judea with his family during the time of Jesus Christ circa 33 C.E. Judah’s childhood Roman friend Messala returns to Judea as an ambitious Tribune intent on achieving fame and his destiny at any cost. When Judah refuses to provide Messala with the names of local Jewish dissidents, an offended Messala contrives a pretext to exact a terrible revenge. Messala orders the arrest of Judah and his family on patently false charges. Judah is then condemned to certain death on the Roman galleys, while his mother and sister are given life imprisonment.

Doomed to die chained to a galley oar, Judah’s hatred and the desire for vengeance fuels his will to live. Soon the hand of fate intervenes and he gains his freedom. Empowered with the help of a Roman General and a wealthy Arab sponsor he returns to Judea and challenges Messala to a chariot race. In an epic struggle Judah emerges triumphant while Messala lays defeated on the track, his body mangled irreparably by horses that trampled him. Meeting for a last time as surgeons wait to amputate Messala’s legs, Judah realizes the hollowness of his victory, of how unquenching it is to drink from the cup of revenge. He leaves Messala to death and rescues his family from a leper colony. Later he sees them cured as the pounding rains born of the crucifixion storm cleanses the sores from their bodies. Read more…