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Film Review - Greatest Story Ever Told, The
It's a good thing Jesus is dead, because this movie would have killed him!
The Greatest Story Ever Told is George Stevens' next to last motion picture. Stevens was no slouch director. He also made Shane, The Dairy of Anne Frank, and Giant. Here was a man who had a film career of 40 years. He knew what he was doing. So I'm at a loss to explain why he made this film in the manner he did.
The Greatest Story Ever Told is a painfully slow, uninspiring biography of the life of Jesus. Max von Sydow plays a stone faced Jesus. Geez, if this guy ever smiled, his face might crack and fall off.
The film used the Grand Canyon as a stand in for Judea, and big name Hollywood actors as stand ins for Jews and Romans. (Can you imagine John Wayne in a one shot role as a Centurian?)
This may be the greatest story ever told, but it's no where near the greatest telling of this story. Why does everyone in this movie look like they just came from a funeral? (I mean even before they do go to a funeral.) Why is this film so insanely slow and dull? Why is there no joy in the life of Christ and those he touches?
There are so many better films on this subject, not the least of which is the film adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar.
But then I don't know you. Perhaps you like long, dull, boring movies. In which case, this is just the movie for you!
Released in 1965
MPAA Rating: G
Reviewed by Mongo