Samuel Bronston’s epics have one irrefutable virtue—great floors. And the best of them could be the one used for Herod’s palace in King of Kings: in a mosaic of red, black and yellow, it’s a spectacular scene-stealer. The only other attributes in this movie are Ron Randell and his hair—simply the sexiest Roman and Roman cut ever to grace a togafest. Blue-eyed Jeffrey Hunter goes gooey-passive as Jesus, but if you’re acting against Frank Thring in a beard of gray curls, you need whatever it takes as antidote. (No lover of hardtickets could ever buy into the absurdity that Thring, as Herod Antipas, would have sweaty lust for the weaker sex.) Siobhan McKenna is a few decades too old to play a pregnant Mary. With a load of overly familiar contemporaries—Robert Ryan, Hurd Hatfield, Harry Guardino, Royal Dano and Rip Torn, all of whom look like they’re doing penance. Also with Viveca Linfors and Rita Gam in too many coneheaded hairdos and headsets, and with Spanish diva Carmen Sevilla (dubbed). Gregoire Aslan’s Herod is somewhat like John Barrymore coming back as Tom Baker’s Rasputin from Nicholas and Alexandra. Directed by Nicholas Ray; music by Miklós Rozsa; murals by Maciek Piotrowski; the narration reportedly written by Ray Bradbury and without credit narrated by Orson Welles, whose voice you begin to miss when not heard. No Oscar nominations, but the winner of 4 Harvard Lampoon honors: Worst movie of 1961 (tied with Troy Donahue’s Parrish); Worst Supporting Actor (Ryan); Worst All-Around Performance By a Cast in Toto; and The Greatest Setback to Christianity Since The Robe. Filmed in 70 mm SUPER TECHNIRAMA.
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Text COPYRIGHT © 2001 RALPH BENNER All Rights Reserved.