- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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My Favorite Silent Film for Over 70 Years Now
- Joe Pearce
When I was a kid, starting around age 7 or 8 in 1946-47, a local theater used to bring back this KING OF KINGS every Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Although our Sunday School nuns used to tell us that we should spend those two days in prayer, most of the kids I knew (all of us going to public school, which allowed us to stay home on those two days) did nothing of the sort, but instead went to the American Movie Theater to see this movie, in most cases the only silent film any of us would ever see until some showed up on TV - but that was only in the mid-1950s. In my case, I was bowled over by the musical soundtrack. I was, even then and without being able to define what I was hearing, immersed in every bit of classical music I came across, and this film is loaded with it. Although one hears the Hallelujah Chorus and "Rock of Ages" in it, it's primary musical background is culled from Wagner's PARSIFAL and LOHENGRIN (every time we see Judas, there is an underlying musical theme heard from the opening of the second act of LOHENGRIN, where evil conspirators plan the destruction of a holy figure - it is magnificently appropriate and becomes increasingly disconcerting throughout the film; and often when we see Jesus, and especially after the Resurrection and at the Finale, we hear angelic strains on loan from PARSIFAL), along with Liszt's "Les Preludes" - used magnificently in the post-Crucifixion storm and the renting of the Veil of the Temple. After that first Thursday, I went back to see it a couple more times on Good Friday, and then did so every year, as the American brought it back every Easter through at least 1952 or 1953. But the music was only my main original impetus for doing so, for the whole film is visually magnificent and great story-telling. To this day, and probably having seen it over 100 times, it remains my favorite silent film. (And the new musical score composed for it a decade or more back, STINKS ON ICE; if used tonight, I will tune out!)
Loved this. Was surprisingly beautifully filmed and artful. I didn't realize it was DeMille till almost done watching it. I am most surprised how well it plays today... I guess... it is because it is such an old film. It is the best silent film I've ever seen.
- Mario A.C.
This is our very first time watching this great film! Wow! This film is incredible in so many ways! It is now one of our favorites! We are still watching and waiting to see the color sequence at the end. We are excited!
Labor of love
Truly, this must have been a labor of love for this director, Cecil B. DeMille! His love for the project, as well as the love I believe he had for his Lord can be seen throughout this whole magnificent project. It was truly well-done for that time. Of course, there are things in the film that might have been done better in costuming, sets, and the like. I gladly overlook any of these for what I interpret as the heart of the makers of this wonderful film. Though theologically not quite accurate in every way, it is accurate, in my opinion, where it counts. I love this film. It warms my heart each time I watch it. I am not even that crazy about silent films. But I love this one. I believe it honors Christ. Thank you TCM for showing it. Please, continue.
A masterpiece of silent drama that still uplifts
- George Spelvin
King of Kings is a beautiful film for all ages, and for all time. I really enjoyed seeing it on TCM and hope you will show it again!
ReWatched King of Kings 1927
- Rebecca Jones
For anyone who has never seen the movie, it has wonderful moments. I had to rewatch it and put H.B. Warner's performance as Mr.Gower ( It's A Wonderful Life ) out of my head. The second time I saw it was better than the first. Joseph Schildkraut is excellent as Judas as he hides his sacrament and slowly goes mad. The color sequences and doves add to the dynamic storyline by heightening the drama and balancing it with softness. The children are expertly cast and cherubic, especially when Jesus mends a doll as easily as He raises Lazarus. This film is a must see for silent movie fans and Christians, and anyone who loves movies.
The King of Kings
- Dashiell B.
The epic story of Christ could only have been made by DeMille. Warner portrays Christ, bringing a aura of mystery and Schildkraut plays the treacherous, but human Judas. The screen is filled with a cast of thousands that spread gospel messages, and two early technicolour scenes. It would have been nice if the technicolour technology was more sophisticated to be shown for longer periods in the film, but for those interested, this is your film. I give it a 4/5.
DEMILLE At HIS ZENITH
- Michael O'Farrell
If you are looking for a great show instead of great cinematic art ; if you are looking for craftsmanship, eye-popping sets, costumes and literally a cast of thousands ; if you are less concerned about historical accuracy and musty, fundamentalist theological interpretations and want to bask in the luxury of spectacle for spectacle's sake, look no further than director Cecil B. DeMille's super epic treatment of Christ's passion, death and resurrection in his blockbuster silent film epic "The King of Kings". This film and his 1956 remake of his original silent "Ten Commandments" are the legacies by which he will be forever remembered, and for good reason. Both films are products of their time, both are squarely entrenched in the white protestant, ages old view of Jesus as The Good Shepherd and Moses as The Stoic Law Giver : blond locks flowing, meek and mild of manner but in the personage of actor H.B. Warner (who will forever own this part, it's a classic performance that defines the Christ Image for 20th Century believers, whether you agree or disagree with the interpretation) the character retains a steely mien just underneath the surface that makes this performance perhaps the most fascinating and successful film portrayal of Jesus ever put on the screen. That fact that both of these aforementioned super spectacles have nothing to do with reality and everything to do with Hollywood Glitz and Glamour, false pieties parading as genuine goodness and actors directed to stand and exclaim as if they were on a proscenium stage clearly demonstrates how entrenched DeMille's filmmaking style adhered to 19th Century stage melodrama, carried right into the 20th Century in his films. In the '56 "Ten Commandments" the highlight is the parting of The Red Sea (Oscar Winner Best Visual Effects) and in "Kings" it's The Crucifixion Sequence to end all crucifixion sequences. Christ hangs on the tallest cross you'll ever see, and the earthquake is truly unforgettable. Classic.
The Best Biblical Movie ever Made.
By far the best silent movie I have ever witnessed and one of the best movies I have ever seen.H.B.Warner was so Christ-like it was incredible. My Mother would take my 3 sisters and me to the theater every Good Friday to see a special showing. I still watch it on You Tube and when TCM shows it some 70 years later.A can't miss movie.
AN EXCEPTIONALLY BEAUTIFUL MOVIE!
I AGREE WITH DEAN THAT THE SILENT VERSION WAS BETTER THAN THE TALKING ONE! H.B.WARNER WAS MORE THAN EXCELLENT AS JESUS CHRIST-HE WAS ASTOUNDING! HE EVEN LOOKED LIKE WHAT I HAVE ALWAYS THOUGHT TO BE THE IMAGE OF JESUS CHRIST. THE SUPPORTING CAST WAS EQUALLY EXCELLENT. AN EXCEPTIONALLY BEAUTIFUL MOVIE WITH SUPERIOR ACTING!
PHENOMENAL-Far better than the 1961 version
The lighting in this movie is spectacular and second to none. It really makes Christ stand out by making him to appear to be surrounded by a glowing aura. What a subtle yet powerful touch. Whoever was in charge of this aspect for this picture was a true master and it's apparent in so many aspects throughout movie's entirety. Modern movie makers would do well to learn from this craft instead of relying on computer generated effects. The musical score is equally well done and is beautiful and truly represented the range of emotions displayed in this film. One more feature that made King of Kings stand out as a classic is the captions used were all directly from the Bible. What a way to tell this story and get the true message across. A MASTERPIECE PAST,PRESENT, OR FUTURE
The Most Elegant Life of Christ
- Paul R.
Cecil B. Demille's Grand re-telling of Christ is an exciting expierience, especially because it's one of the earliest silent films on the life of Jesus. H.B. Warner gives a subtle yet strong performance as Jesus. He is kind,strong, stern and loving. The story is told very reverently, and instead of the Gospel stories being seperate scenes, here they are packed into mulitple scenesand add a graceful flow to the story.As any Demille film this is done on a very grand scale. No expence was spared. There is, interestingly, a balance with the sets. All the Jewish villages and homes look authentic and worn out, and the holy temple in Jerusalem is a huge, elegant structure as it was in its day. And the Palace of Pilate is grand, topped off with a Huge Roman eagle behind his throne. For any who truly aprreciate the art of film, this is a jewel.