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King of Kings [DVD] [2009] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.5 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

Dispatched from and sold by RAREWAVES USA.
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Region 1 encoding. (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the UK [Region 2]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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  • King of Kings [DVD] [2009] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: NR (Not Rated) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002AT8KBU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,539 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

The life of Jesus Christ is powerfully chronicled in this intelligent, gripping epic. From the producer of the epic spectaculars El Cid and The Fall of the Roman Empire and the director of Rebel Without a Cause and 55 Days at Peking comes a vivid retelling of the world's greatest story.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
For all its low reputation, Samuel Bronston's much-mocked King of Kings is easily the best and most intelligent of the `devotional' versions of the life of Christ, largely because it sets Jesus as a historical figure and, to a degree, a victim of history and politics in troubled times. More importantly, it manages to do it without being as relentlessly dreary and one-note as George Stevens' The Greatest Story Ever Told, which becomes more of an endurance test with each passing year. Even the vigorously-staged battle scenes serve a real dramatic purpose, pitting Barabbas' Davidic warrior would-be Messiah against Jesus' spiritual deliverer ("I am fire, he is water - how can we ever meet?") that is many ways the real conflict of the film: the fight between material pragmatism (the Romans, Herod, Barabbas) and spiritual idealism (Jesus and his followers). Even Caiphas is given a very modern reading, not as a black-hearted villain but as an unpopular Roman-appointed religious leader who genuinely cares for his flock, fearing that Jesus' popularity could be used by the Romans to start a Holocaust that will destroy his people.

There's much imagination at work too: while Jeffrey Hunter's Messiah suffers from MGM's insistence on redubbing the part in more `masterful' tones, he proactively interacts with the crowd in the Sermon on the Mount, played almost like a press conference, while the Last Supper takes its visual design not from Da Vinci but from the CND's peace symbol. The casting IS variable - Robert Ryan's John the Baptist, Hurd Hatfield's Pontius Pilate, Harry Guardino's Barabbas, Ron Randell's centurion, Guy Rolfe's Caiphas and Gregoire Aslan and the great Frank Thring as Herod Sr. and Jr.
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Format: DVD
I think a previous reviewer fails to comprehend the importance of deeply understanding how the Jewish world in which Jesus lived and the Roman occupation the inhabitants of Judea endured are to really appreciating the message Jesus came to give us. I refer specifically to the expectation that the Jewish people had that Jesus deliver them from the Romans using his power in their physical world when Jesus was about delivering humanity from sin to everlasting life in an eternal unseen world. I recall the part where Jesus comes to visit John the Baptist informing Lucius that he has come to free John. Baffled, Lucius asks Jesus just how he plans to free John outside the prison walls. Jesus replied that he plans to free John WITHIN the prison walls. I also would suggest to any reviewer who might be similarly critical that they read Jim Bishop's book The Day Christ Died. This book originally published in 1957 and again released in 1991 gives the reader an indepth look at the life of Jesus Christ, the man, as he struggled between the human and divine side of his persona. I think if this reviewer would read that he or she would understand why this was incorporated into this film.

The film itself is phenomenal. I have been watching it since it first came out in 1961, almost on an annual basis, for years only on television. I was so happy when I finally was able to purchase a video of it and now I am buying a DVD. They just do not make movies like this anymore. I have seen a number of actors attempt to play Jesus but none with the depth of passion that Jeffrey Hunter did in this movie.
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Format: VHS Tape
"King of Kings" is somewhat tame compared to many other films on the life of Jesus, but is still nevertheless well worth watching. It does not have the grandeur and visual beauty of the George Stevens "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965), or the intensity of the silent Cecil B. DeMille "King of Kings" (1927) that it is supposed to be based on, but it is always reverential towards its subject matter, even if at a rather slow pace. Many of the events told in the Gospels are simply read, rather than depicted, and this job goes to a Roman named Lucius (well played by Ron Randell), and the magnificent voice of Orson Welles as narrator. There is also a fair amount of extraneous material in trying to describe the political climate of the time, and to expand on the life of Jesus.
Jeffrey Hunter, an underrated actor during his short lifetime and handful of films, is a handsome Jesus, with crystal blue eyes, and is very effective in the temptation in the desert, and the Sermon on the Mount. His youthful good looks made some people nickname this film "I Was a Teenage Jesus," even though Hunter was in his mid 30s at the time. Others in the cast are Siobhan McKenna as Mary, Harry Guardino as Barrabas, Rip Torn as Judas, and Hurd Hatfield as Pontius Pilate. Robert Ryan makes a good, grizzled John the Baptist, and of all the film Salomes, Brigid Bazlen is the best. Her voluptuous seduction of a drunken, lascivious Herod (Frank Thring) is terrific storytelling and quite believable.
Directed by Nicholas Ray, the film has a grand score by Miklos Rozsa, and the cinematography, shot on location in Spain, is by Manuel Berenguer. In my extensive "Jesus" film collection, this is the one I play the least, but it has value in many of its performances, and as a comparison to other films of this theme. Total running time is 170 minutes.
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