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View Diary: Books So Bad They're Good: The Silver Chalice and The Robe (176 comments)

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  •  I should have known you'd get around to (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, Gemina13, Ahianne, Aunt Pat

    "The Robe."  I was thinking about it the other day when "books that changed my life" asked the question, "What book turned you into a reader?"

    The answer to that question is probably "Catch-22," but I grew up in a devoutly religious family, and one thing I remember very well was that when I was little, we read "The Robe" together.  So, reading was valued in my family, but most of it was a rather unworldly reading.

    •  And then there's Ben-Hur (6+ / 0-)

      Which was written by a Civil War general and has been filmed at least six times.  The best is probably the 1950s extravaganza, which contains what is still probably the best racing scene in all of cinema.

      •  One of the few times that the movie was better (3+ / 0-)

        than the book.

        The book is awful. Cecil B. DeMille's silent version is awful. And by awful, I mean silly, melodramatic and overblown, as is almost all of DeMillie's work. I love "The Ten Commandments" but for the scenery, the music and Yul Brunner. (Woof!)

        On the other hand, Wyler's "Ben Hur" is probably the best of the genre. Good script, with dialogue that sound like something actual human beings might say, great production values and some of the best directing--and I mean in terms of subtle, powerful directing--I've ever seen.

        One good example? When we discover that Miriam and Tirzah are lepers. A lesser director would have shown us oozing sores or missing fingers. Wyler just has the casually brutal jailer open a door--the very fact that the door has to be pried open is a chilling way to show the horrors of that jail--thrust a torch inside and then,  back out, horrified and whisper one word: "Lepers!"

        As for Stephen Boyd doing the best acting job in the movie, I thought he was a bit over the top. Heston's restraint and subtlety was much more effective.

        Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

        by Sirenus on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 08:30:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was thinking specifically of the scenes (0+ / 0-)

          Where Boyd was playing Messala as the jilted lover - Heston does a good job overall, and it's my favorite of his movies.

          •  Actually, one of my favorite movies, little known, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Monsieur Georges

            but great fun, is "The Private War of Major Benson."

            Where he plays--no joke--a post-war Army major who's so obnoxiously gung-ho that his commanding general gets mad at him and sents him off to run a ROTC a school for young boys.... run by nuns.

            No joke.

            Heston shows a great talent for comedy in that one, including the physical comedy of his hilarous first attempt to teach the boys football....which he's never played.

            Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

            by Sirenus on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 10:07:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I named my car after Mesala (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Monsieur Georges

        The evil charioteer in Ben Hur.  He is dark, like the horses, and doesn't go as fast as he would like to think he can!  He is also awful purtee...

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