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JulyDiaz

Ben Hur

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Question for the group - if you were Ester, would you keep the fact that Judah’s family were alive a secret from him? If you were Judah, would you have forgiven Ester so easily?

 

I wouldn’t be happy about it, but I think I’d forgive her, yes. Especially once she’s explained that it was Miriam and Tizrah’ wish. It’s not like she was being deliberately malicious or anything.

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Completely unrelated to the movie. In the podcast, Paul said something about how the filmmakers seemed to be mostly focused on the visuals and Paul said they were checking off the boxes without coloring them in. This cracked me up because I imagined Paul filling out forms by coloring in the checkboxes and then checking them off. Adorable..

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I had no idea it was this long? Do you know if it had an intermission in its theatrical run?

 

Pretty sure it did.

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Sorry, didn't mean to put words in your mouth. I was just reading through the thread, seeing a lot of critique, and far less excitement than I expected... which is why I felt compelled to post.

 

I do agree with Paul and Amy's points about there not being enough emotion here (when it EASILY could have been devastating). I gather this had a ton of writers but maybe needed one more to fix that, and to as you say, coalesce some of the parts.

 

But I guess my point is, I got swept up in it (esp. the first half). It seems like a difficult movie -- crazy long, religious, old, brownface, outdated acting, etc. -- but I guess to my happy surprise, it wasn't at all. I had a good time with it.

 

When watching these big studio productions from the 1950s, I find there is something about the pure technical competence on display that makes the movie watchable, even when the story is not the best. This is especially true of musicals from that decade. Ben-Hur certainly has that. Everything about it is well-mounted.

 

The problem was when the Academy kept trying to award this "kind" of film, into the 60s and 70s and even into the 90s, when there was much more interesting work being done elsewhere.

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I wouldn’t be happy about it, but I think I’d forgive her, yes. Especially once she’s explained that it was Miriam and Tizrah’ wish. It’s not like she was being deliberately malicious or anything.

 

But on the other hand, what about Judah’s wish of finding his family? How do you weigh one against the other? What’s more astounding to me is that she had to make that choice in 3 seconds. I bet she had many restless nights over this choice.

 

I think if I were Judah it would’ve taken me longer to reconcile with Ester after I found out she was keeping my family away from me. Then again, I have yet to be touched by Jesus, so im full of vengeance.

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But on the other hand, what about Judah’s wish of finding his family? How do you weigh one against the other? What’s more astounding to me is that she had to make that choice in 3 seconds. I bet she had many restless nights over this choice.

 

I think if I were Judah it would’ve taken me longer to reconcile with Ester after I found out she was keeping my family away from me. Then again, I have yet to be touched by Jesus, so im full of vengeance.

 

Well, to Esther, his mother, and sister, they already were dead even if they weren’t *technically* dead. They would have had no idea that the Son if God was in play. I think the idea was rather than watch them die a slow, disfiguring, and agonizing death, he can begin the healing process right away and remember them the way they were.

 

Also, I think she also thought, that if they’re already dead, Judy would have no reason to challenge the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, when he learns of their death, his objective goes from recovery to revenge.

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Also, I think she also thought, that if they’re already dead, Judy would have no reason to challenge the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, when he learns of their death, his objective goes from recovery to revenge.

 

So if Ester had told Judah, the story would’ve been shorter. This reminds me, if the damn roofer had done his job properly, we might have had a 20 minute movie :P

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I'm only a third of the way into the podcast, but the opening scene of Ben Hur reminds me of the opening scene of the Life of Brian. I swear it's even the same soundtrack?

 

This whole movie reminds me of Life of Brian. I kept waiting for someone to shout, "Bloody Romans!"

 

Seems like this was the prime material for the Pythons' parody there.

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I count 23 movies on that list of omitted films not 36?

 

I double checked and 23 is right. I’m not sure where I got 36 from. I can’t even blame my dyslexia on that.

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Question for the group - if you were Ester, would you keep the fact that Judah’s family were alive a secret from him? If you were Judah, would you have forgiven Ester so easily?

It is a tough call. There are merit to both sides but I think in her mind one she was honoring his mother's wish and two if he thought they were dead maybe he would slow down his quest for revenge and keep him safe. If he knew they were alive he would rush after them and put himself at risk like he does later in the film. Also like Cameron pointed out when it comes clear that it was his family's wishes I think it becomes easier to forgive. I mean if you also think about it from the flip side it must be an incredibly hard choice for his mother and sister as well. They think he's long dead or slaving away in the galley of a ship and will never return home and here he comes home healthy and with new found status. Of course you must be over joyed but at the same time know you can't be with him again because of your condition.

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This whole movie reminds me of Life of Brian. I kept waiting for someone to shout, "Bloody Romans!"

 

Seems like this was the prime material for the Pythons' parody there.

There was a moment in Ben-Hur that made me laugh and I don't know if it was intentional or not or if I'm just a weird person. At the end when they are talking to the blind beggar Judah gives him a coin and then after hearing that he was with lepers he dumps the coin out. I get way he did it, it just struck me as kinda funny. It then also reminded me "Alms for an ex-leper"

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Another thing, since Ben-Hur is a vey long movie and that's touched on by Paul, what is the longest film everyone has seen?

 

I watched Shoah once over the course of a few days. If we're taking one sitting, I managed The Best Of Youth with bathroom and food breaks.

Yeah, I saw Shoah, Little Dorrit, and the longer Fanny and Alexander, but not all in one sitting.

 

Cleopatra is maybe the longest one I saw in a theater at one sitting. (I also saw revivals of Lawrence of Arabia and Gone with Wind in theaters, but according to wiki Cleopatra is longer. I did singalong Sound of Music a couple of years ago and that felt four hours long but it's not!)

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There was a moment in Ben-Hur that made me laugh and I don't know if it was intentional or not or if I'm just a weird person. At the end when they are talking to the blind beggar Judah gives him a coin and then after hearing that he was with lepers he dumps the coin out. I get way he did it, it just struck me as kinda funny. It then also reminded me "Alms for an ex-leper"

 

I thought that was funny too!

 

This movie made me wonder - when Jesus heals the lepers, do they get their missing fingers and limbs back? Does the Bible address this?

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I thought that was funny too!

 

This movie made me wonder - when Jesus heals the lepers, do they get their missing fingers and limbs back? Does the Bible address this?

"Jesus, praise be on to you for curing my leprosy but can you do anything about this missing leg?"

"Sorry, one miracle per person."

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Question for the group - if you were Ester, would you keep the fact that Judah’s family were alive a secret from him? If you were Judah, would you have forgiven Ester so easily?

I wouldn’t be happy about it, but I think I’d forgive her, yes. Especially once she’s explained that it was Miriam and Tizrah’ wish. It’s not like she was being deliberately malicious or anything.

But on the other hand, what about Judah’s wish of finding his family? How do you weigh one against the other? What’s more astounding to me is that she had to make that choice in 3 seconds. I bet she had many restless nights over this choice.

 

I think if I were Judah it would’ve taken me longer to reconcile with Ester after I found out she was keeping my family away from me. Then again, I have yet to be touched by Jesus, so im full of vengeance.

It is a tough call. There are merit to both sides but I think in her mind one she was honoring his mother's wish and two if he thought they were dead maybe he would slow down his quest for revenge and keep him safe. If he knew they were alive he would rush after them and put himself at risk like he does later in the film. Also like Cameron pointed out when it comes clear that it was his family's wishes I think it becomes easier to forgive. I mean if you also think about it from the flip side it must be an incredibly hard choice for his mother and sister as well. They think he's long dead or slaving away in the galley of a ship and will never return home and here he comes home healthy and with new found status. Of course you must be over joyed but at the same time know you can't be with him again because of your condition.

I'm super-late to the conversation ... I had to find a lazy Sunday to watch this, and then I left town for a week. I gotta say, I really dug this movie. The boat sinking scene, the grandeur of the Roman procession past Judah's house, certainly the chariot race ... just about everything worked for me, even though yes, it drug its ass the whole way.

 

But the "Esther keeps a secret" plot is the only part of the movie that just didn't work for me. It seems to do nothing to serve the plot except for turning the audience against Esther for no reason.

 

It's not like Judah discovered his family's fate after learning that Esther had been keeping a secret -- it's Messala who tells Judah where to find them. Which means that Esther's secret-keeping doesn't do anything other than make Judah feel betrayed when he learns the truth. I don't understand why we are supposed to feel any animosity toward a character. Is it to highlight just how alone Judah is in the world thanks to his quest for vengeance? Or is it just that 50s Hollywood can't have a female character that isn't a little bit conniving?

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