This book covers the spectrum of the Jesus figure in television and film, including early works, documentations, reverent treatments, and bizarre interpretations. The author also brings his perspective as a Catholic missionary to the work. Eighteen chapters cover the Jesus figure, biblical portraits, and films, from the earliest cinema to the present. Four appendixes, selected background reading, and an index complete the volume. More than just a film text, this book would do well in either a reference or circulating collection. Recommended for academic libraries supporting a religious-studies or film-studies program. Booklist Malone (a member of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Order, Australia) updates and expands material from his Movie Christs and Antichrists (1990) into an impressive encyclopedia of the screen versions of Jesus of Nazareth. As the apostle to the cinematic Savior, Malone covers the films chronologically. Beginning with the silent Passion Play films and Cecil B. DeMille's spectaculars (e.g., King of Kings), the book covers the usual suspects of mainstream films and international productions, and culminates in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and other 21st-century films. Rather than focusing on the symbolic "Christ figure" who resembles some aspect of the Messiah in suffering or redemption, Malone focuses on depictions (both realistic and stylized) of the historical figure of Jesus. Malone also ventures into looking at the verbal presence of Jesus in films (i.e., films in which characters talk about Jesus). Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; general readers. CHOICE
Since the dawn of film in the 1890s, religious themes and biblical subjects have been a staple of cinema. One of the earliest focuses of screen presentations was the Bible, especially the New Testament and the Gospels. In Screen Jesus: Portrayals of Christ in Television and Film, Peter Malone takes a close look at films in which Jesus is depicted. From silent renditions of The Passion Play to 21st-century blockbusters like The Passion of the Christ, Malone examines how the history of Jesus films reflects the changes in artistic styles and experiments in cinematic forms for more than a century. In addition to providing a historical overview of the Jesus films, this book also reveals the changes in piety and in theological understandings of the humanity and divinity of Jesus over the decades.
While most of the Jesus films come from the United States and the west, an increasing number of Jesus films come from other cultures, which are also included in this study. Fans and scholars interested in the history of religious cinema will find this an interesting read, as will students and teachers in cinema and religious studies, church pastors, parish groups, and youth ministry.