1st Edition

The Silents of Jesus in the Cinema (1897-1927)

Edited By David Shepherd Copyright 2016
    304 Pages
    by Routledge

    304 Pages 61 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    While Jesus has attracted the sporadic interest of film-makers since the epics of the Sixties, it is often forgotten that between the advent of motion pictures in the 1890s and the close of the "silent" era at the end of the 1920s, some of the longest, most expensive and most watched films on both sides of the Atlantic were focused on the Life and Passion of the Christ. Drawing upon rarely seen archival footage and the work of both the era’s most important directors (e.g. Alice Guy, Ferdinand Zecca, Sidney Olcott, D.W. Griffith, Carl Dreyer, and C.B. DeMille) and others who have been all but forgotten, this collection of essays offers a representative survey of the Silents of Jesus, illustrating the ways in which the earliest films and those which followed were influenced by a multiplicity of factors. Written by leading scholars in biblical and early film studies this collection explores the ways in which the Silents of Jesus were shaped not only by the performing and visual arts of the nineteenth century and the technological challenges and opportunities of a new medium and industry, but also by the artistic, theological and ideological predilections of studios and directors, and the expectations of audiences as the genre evolved. Taken together, the essays collected here offer a seminal treatment of the genesis and early evolution of the cinematic Jesus.

    Introduction  David J. Shepherd  1. The Passion of the Christ: a form, a genre, a discourse  André Gaudreault  2. La Vie et Passion de Jésus Christ (Pathé-Frères, 1902-1905): Tableau Variation in the Early Cinema  Valentine Robert and Alain Boillat  3. La naissance, vie et passion du Christ (Gaumont, 1906): The Gospel According to Alice Guy  David J. Shepherd  4. La Vie et Passion de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ (Pathé-Frères, 1907): The Preservation and Transformation of Zecca's Passion  Dwight H. Friesen  5. Sidney Olcott's From the Manger to the Cross (Kalem, 1912): Out of Egypt and Palestine  W. Barnes Tatum  6. The Star of Bethlehem (Thanhouser, 1912): The Sacred Story from King Herod to the Crip  Terry Lindvall  7. The Shadow of Nazareth (Venus Features/Warner Features, 1913): The Hermeneutics of an Unauthorized Adaptation  Rhonda Burnette-Bletsch  8. La Vie et Passion de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ (Pathé-Frères 1913/24): Pathé's Inclination to Tell and Maître's Instinct to Show  Jo-Ann Brant  9. The Birth of a Nation (D.W. Griffith, 1915) and Intolerance (Triangle/Wark 1916): Griffith's Talismanic Jesus  Richard Walsh 10. Christus (CINES, 1916): Italy's First Religious "Kolossal" by Antamoro and Salvatori  Giuseppe Pucci  11. Der Galiläer (Express-Film, 1921) and I.N.R.I. (Neumann-Film, 1923): The Silence of Jesus in the Early German Cinema  Reinhold Zwick  12. Leaves from Satan's Book (Nordisk, 1921) and Dreyer's Script <


    David J. Shepherd is Lecturer in the School of Religions, Peace Studies and Theology at Trinity College Dublin.