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In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

1 John 4:9

What is Romance P.S.?

Romance P.S. is an entertainment blog about two of my very favorite things — movies and books.

The title actually stands for Romance with the page and screen so it's not just about romance alone but all kinds of movies and books. Though I will confess that my favorites always seem to be romances in some way ;)

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March 31, 2014

Movie Review: Ben Hur (1959)

Stars: Charlton Heston, Stephen BoydJack HawkinsHugh Griffith and Haya Harareet
Directed by: William Wyler

Movie Blurb: A rich Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur is betrayed and framed by a friend since childhood, for a crime and sold into slavery to the Romans. He escapes and seeks revenge for himself and his family in this classic Oscar winning Biblical epic. 

Review: Ben Hur is one of Hollywood's biggest Historical/Biblical epics and is arguably one of the best films ever made. It was the winner of 11 Academy Awards including best picture, actor, director. A feat that would not be repeated until 1997 with Titanic and 2003 by The Lord of The Rings: Return of the King. It follows the life of a Jewish Prince Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) who seems to have the world by the horns and everything going for him until one of his oldest childhood friends Messala (Stephen Boyd) returns to Judea as the new Roman Tribune. Messala has been ordered to help squash the jewish resistance and asks Judah for his help in convincing the Jews to not resist Roman rule and to spying for him. Judah is outraged and flatly refuses to betray his people even for the friend he loves like a brother. Messala is extremely angry and when an accident occurs that puts Judah and his family in jeopardy Messala refuses to help Judah and in fact betrays both him and his mother and sister condemning them to imprisonment even though he knows they are innocent. Judah vows that he will return and see justice and vengence for this wrong done to his family. Through a series of events after 4 long years rowing in the Roman Galleys Judah wins his freedom and his heart burns for retribution against Messala. Among the great parts of this movie is an extraordinary performance by Heston, the epic and legendary Chariot race, and enterwoven throughout the story Judah encounters Christ several times. Judah's life and those around him are forever changed by the encounters with Christ. 

I have seen this film several times over the years and each time that I have seen it the more profound it's message rang with me. Ben Hur is truly one of the classics and for good reason it has it all action, adventure, betrayal, love, and hope. It's a must see in my humble opinion be sure to get it for your movie collection. 

Before I end this review I wanted to share a few interesting facts about the movie that I found out. The woman who plays Heston's mother Miriam in this one is Martha Scott. She also played his real mother Yochabel  in The Ten Commandments.

Ben Hur never shows Christ's face through the entire movie we always see him from a distance or behind where his face cannot be seen. The reason for this was Wyler wanted it to be "revent but realist" and thought that by not showing his face but to show rather the other people's reactions to Jesus was much more profound. And in actuality it worked in this film because the viewer is struck by how people react to Christ but also they are allowed to see him in their mind's eye the way that they perceived him to look and not the way that Hollywood portrayed him to appear. But if you are curious like me...I wanted to know what the man that played Jesus in it looked like and I did a little searching around and I found several photos of him from the set as Jesus. The actors name was Claude Heater he wasn't even credited in the movie. Here is what he looked like as Jesus pictured here with director William Wyler.


One last fun fact...One notable change in the film involved the opening titles. Concerned that a roaring Leo the Lion (the MGM mascot) would create the wrong mood for the sensitive and sacred nativity scene, Wyler received permission to replace the traditional logo with one in which Leo the Lion is quiet. It was the first time in MGM history that the lion logo was not seen roaring.

My favorite scene from Ben Hur...


A couple of very chaste classic movie kisses.
Squeeky clean you can see worse on TV commercials now a days. 


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