Brand : Lew Wallace

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ

Anna niemann |

Read this book before seeing the movie

This wonderful book is right up my alley, but may be a bit too dense and arcane for some. wallace's writing style is intentionally stilted at times, but the story moves relentlessly from scene to scene, building up to the key dramatic climax, and from there to the underlying spiritual climax. very satisfying if you can get with the flow of the character's sometimes-verbose speaking style to understand their subtle complexity. if you want to really understand the movie, you should read this book first.

Bernie (xyzzy) |

Ben-hur: a tale of the christ

Prince judah ben-hur (charlton heston of ten commandments fame) was raised up with his best roman buddy messala (stephen boyd). little did they know at the time that they would grow up become adversaries, and as a result this would lead to may adventures. in the process judah leads many different lives that parallels and crosses the life of jesus. we see judah in the mines, on the galleys, and even adopted by a roman noble man as young arrius. mean time back at home his family is incarcerated by messala leading to trials and tribulation that only jesus can correct. ------------------------------------------------- a lot of time and money went into this mgm production that netted 11 academy awards, along with many others such as bafat, david di donatello, directors guild of america, golden globes, laurel, writers guild of america, ...etc. you will be so intrigued that you may not notice the 212+ minutes depending on the version. one highlight, the chariot race was reproduced many times in various forms.

Armando |

Our folk`s gladiator.

Just as we "young un`s" lined up to awe at ridley scott`s and russell crowe`s virtual epic tour of the roman world in "gladiator", it`s sometimes hard to imagine that our own parents (or even great-grandparents in that matter) lined up to awe at epic visions they shall always call their own. william wyler`s and charton heston`s "ben-hur" delivered these visions and even more. this film, complete with physical struggle and emotional anguish, blended with eternal themes of personal retribution and divine redemption, proves that even a forty year old film can carry the same compelling messages and visions without the aid of digital reality. at times, i found this film to surpass "gladiator" on many sides. i`ll be quite blunt about it, stephen boyd`s massala was a more vicious opponent to judah ben-hur than joaquin phoenix`s commodus was to maximus. sure, commodus showed no mercy as he swiftly swiped maximus`s identity away from the roman sphere of power after maximus defied his claim to power, but massala took a more deliberate act of personal retribution to vanquish his blood brother`s standing in judea, illustating massala`s stern allegiance to the roman way. yes, the acting is a bit theatric at times and there is a very overt religious message attached, but if you watch "ben-hur" closely you will understand how well constructed these parallels are. as far as the chariot spectacle goes, sorry ridley, but this scene shall always be film`s greatest tribute to rome`s ancient glory. the organic vitality of this scene is simply unmatched in speed, fury, and urgency, and its surprising outcome will leave you shocked! clearly, you will be at a loss if you don`t experienece "ben-hur", not only as a source of inspiration for our own epics, but also as a glimpse into the spectacles and values our older family members saw and learned from. the dvd is a complete evening of entertainment, really! take time to notice the subleties of the color and sound. later, relish the outstanding documentary film about this production. if you watch and listen very closely, you might notice that they never needed a computer to accomplish some very convincing illusions of size ans splendor, but that`s just movie magic for you, it inspires generation after generation, as this film always will. watch "ben-hur", enjoy it with your family. and hey, do watch it side to side with "gladiator" and notice their similarities, their differences and their wonder. but most of all, learn from it, and treasure it forever!