Ben-Hur (1959)

Ben-Hur posetr

 

Genre: Historical drama

Description:

During the time of Christ, Jewish prince Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) is betrayed by his Roman friend Messala (Stephen Boyd). He is sent into slavery,  but when he regains his freedom he decides to take on the Roman Empire.

Cast:

Charlton Heston                              –                             Judah Ben-Hur
Stephen Boyd                                 –                             Messala
Jack Hawkins                                –                            Quintus Arrius
Haya Harareet                                –                             Esther
Hugh Griffith                               –                            Sheik Ilderim
Martha Scott                                 –                            Miriam

The original trailer:

Facts:

–          Ben-Hur is a remake of the 1925 silent film with the same name. Both are adapted from the book Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace from 1880.

–          Both Burt Lancaster and Paul Newman were offered the role of Ben-Hur and they both turned it down. Burt Lancaster because he was an atheist and Paul Newman because he had already done a Biblical film and did not like it.

–          Leslie Nielsen did a screen-test for the role of Messala, part of it can be seen in the documentary Ben-Hur: The Making of a Classic.

–          MGM had over 40 scripts written for the film over a period of six years.

–          Ben-Hur cost studio MGM $15 million dollars, an insanely high amount at the time. It was a gamble by the studio to save itself from bankruptcy. It paid off, earning more than $75 million.

–          Although German opera singer Claude Heater got to play none other than Jesus Christ, he went uncredited because he never spoke in the film.

–          In 1970 a Sacramento restaurateur paid $ 4,000 for the chariot used in the film. Three years later he was arrested for driving it down the highway.

–          The ten square block set that was made to represent Jerusalem is historically accurate.

–          Because the filming of Ben-Hur occupied most of the stages and back lot at Cinecitta, Frederico Fellini had to shoot La Dolce Vita on a small corner of the back lot.

–          Ben-Hur is the only Hollywood film to make the Vatican approved film list in the category of religion.

Ben-Hur chariot

 

Awards:

Wins:

Best Picture – Ben-Hur – 1960 Academy Awards of Motion Pictures Arts and Science
Best Director – William Wyler – 1960 Academy Awards of Motion Pictures Arts and Science
Best Actor – Charlton Heston – 1960 Academy Awards of Motion Pictures Arts and Science
Best Supporting Actor – Hugh Griffith – 1960 Academy Awards of Motion Pictures Arts and Science
Best Art Direction – William A. Horning, Edward C. Carfagno and Hugh Hunt – 1960 Academy Awards of Motion Pictures Arts and Science
Best Cinematography – Robert Surtees – 1960 Academy Awards of Motion Pictures Arts and Science
Best Costume Design – Elizabeth Haffenden – 1960 Academy Awards of Motion Pictures Arts and Science
Best Effects – A. Arnold Gillespie a.o – 1960 Academy Awards of Motion Pictures Arts and Science
Best Film Editing – Ralph E. Winters – 1960 Academy Awards of Motion Pictures Arts and Science
Best Music – Miklós Rósza – 1960 Academy Awards of Motion Pictures Arts and Science
Best Sound – Franklin Milton – 1960 Academy Awards of Motion Pictures Arts and Science
Best Film – Ben –Hur – 1960 BAFTA 1960 Academy Awards of Motion Pictures Arts and Science
Outstanding Directorial Achievement – William Wyler – 1960 Directors Guild of America
Best Drama – Ben-Hur – 1960 Golden Globes
Best Director – William Wyler – 1960 Golden Globes
Best Supporting Actor – Stephen Boyd – 1960 Golden Globes

Nominations:

Best Writing – Karl Tunberg – 1960 Academy Awards of Motion Pictures Arts and Science
Best Actor – Charlton Heston – 1960 Golden Globe
Best Written Drama – Karl Tunberg – 1960 Writers Guild of America

Ben hur

 

Influence:

Ben-Hur is still seen as one of the most epic historical drama’s of all time. Although Biblical films are not necessarily popular today, Ben-Hur is considered a classic and it is a favorite of many film fanatics. In its day, it was the highest grossing film of the year and it won an unprecedented eleven Oscars. It took 38 years for another film, Titanic, to match that number.
Ben-Hur is also Charlton Heston’s most popular and most remembered role. His scene in the chariot race is considered a classic in Hollywood cinema.
When the film was finally broadcast on television in the seventies, it immediately became one of the highest rated movies ever screened at the time. Ben-Hur is still so appealing that a remake is even in the works.

Comments: Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

*