Saturday, April 19, 2014

Holy Saturday at the movies

 Yesterday being Good Friday I found myself looking on YouTube for "The Greatest Story Ever Told," and I watched the Crucifixion scene, up above.

I was looking to hear John Wayne, as the centurion at the foot of the cross, saying "Surely this man was the Son of God." It is in there!

But I ended up kind of marveling at the movie. It's funny, for years all I have heard is how kitschy this movie supposedly is. And it is not! They did a beautiful job.

Admittedly it is kind of a big, slow target, with John Wayne and all these other celebrities including Angela Lansbury and Charlton Heston (as John the Baptist) and ... oh, the list goes on and on. You could not make this up. Jose Ferrer is Herod Antipas and Claude Rains is King Herod. Pat Boone is the angel at the tomb. Sal Mineo is Uriah, I am not sure who Uriah is, so I will have to watch the rest of the movie and refresh my memory. Roddy McDowall is St. Matthew. Telly Savalas is Pontius Pilate.

In the clip up above. Simon of Cyrene, who helps Jesus carry the cross, is Sidney Poitier. He gives such a moving performance. And of course that is Max von Sydow as Jesus.

Oh my goodness. Reading the cast list I see the great vaudevillian Ed Wynn is in the movie too. He plays someone referred to as Old Aram. Ed Wynn played Uncle Albert in "Mary Poppins."

What I was going to mention is the music. I had not realized how wonderful this music is. That haunting theme you hear, in the clip, over and over. The music is by the great film composer Alfred Newman. I shared this clip on Facebook and I was afraid of opening things up to jokes about Alfred E. Neumann, so I did not write that. But I will write it here. It's strange, in a roundabout way Alfred E. Neumann was named after Alfred Newman. Google it and you will see I am right.

The real Alfred Newman teamed up with Leonard Pennario for the classic album "Gershwin By Starlight." He wrote the most wonderful movie music including to the 1939 "Wuthering Heights." Pennario loved this movie.

It was over 25 years between this movie and "The Greatest Story Ever Told." Mr. Newman was on top of his game for a very long time.

Pennario's friend Miklos Rozsa wrote the music for "King of Kings."

I have never seen this. Rip Torn is Judas!

Anyway. You could waste all day on this and I do believe I might! Well, first I have to clean up my house for the family Easter dinner. But after that we just might be talking a glass of wine and "The Greatest Story Ever Told."

A perfect Holy Saturday!

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