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Ben Hur


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#41 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 04:31 PM

View PostDan Engler, on 27 May 2018 - 12:20 PM, said:

Ultimately, I can't tell if Heston is any good because whenever he speaks I only hear Phil Hartman's impression of him from Saturday Night Live. "All we had was bananas, bananas, bananas."


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"It's peopllllllllleeeeeee!"

#42 Susan*

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 07:02 PM

View Postsycasey 2.0, on 27 May 2018 - 08:42 AM, said:


Oh yes! Lots of iconic stuff in there.

Also a nice one to see after Citizen Kane, with Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles playing against each other again.



I keep thinking of Shadow of a Doubt -- which I love and has terrific acting by Cotten.

View Postgrudlian., on 27 May 2018 - 08:25 AM, said:



Guess Who's Coming To Dinner's racial politics are woefully dated. Sidney Poitier is basically the perfect man that anyone should be happy to have as a son-in-law. If he had been flawed in any way, it would have aged better. Now, it's just a well acted movie to make white people feel good about themselves.


I used to have that discussion with my parents -- 20 plus years ago! The real drama should have been whether the daughter was good enough for Pointier.

#43 grudlian.

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 08:27 PM

View PostSusan*, on 27 May 2018 - 07:02 PM, said:

I used to have that discussion with my parents -- 20 plus years ago! The real drama should have been whether the daughter was good enough for Pointier.

This is one of those things that maybe we don't understand how controversial it was at the time. They mention their marriage would have still been illegal in parts of the US at the time. Maybe he needed to be that sanitized even for the most liberal audiences. I don't know.

I know my step sister was in an interracial marriage and I believe my stepfather refused to attend the wedding (This was all before my mother ever met them, so I'm not totally clear). This would have been in the late 90s I think. So, maybe the message is still more relevant that we think it is.

#44 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 08:57 PM

View Postgrudlian., on 24 May 2018 - 04:06 PM, said:

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?


View Postsycasey 2.0, on 24 May 2018 - 10:05 PM, said:

I thought the best usage of Charlton Heston was in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, when he plays an actor in the play-within-a-play. His stagy presence works perfectly there.


My reference here makes me think that Hamlet could be the longest film I've watched (242 minutes, longer than Ben-Hur at 212). I did also see The Best of Youth, but it was broken up into two parts (two different theatrical showings).

#45 grudlian.

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 03:45 AM

View Postsycasey 2.0, on 27 May 2018 - 08:57 PM, said:

My reference here makes me think that Hamlet could be the longest film I've watched (242 minutes, longer than Ben-Hur at 212). I did also see The Best of Youth, but it was broken up into two parts (two different theatrical showings).

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

This suddenly made me remember the extended Return Of The King is 251 minutes. Although I think this version had that really really long credits that pad out the length.

#46 AlmostAGhost

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 06:49 AM

I'm surprised people didn't like this more, in this thread. I recognize its flaws (the '50s style acting bugged me - I'm glad Paul brought this up, the interminable length) but the story was clear and the scope was impressive and it did well to suck me into its world. I lagged in (more than a) few spots but overall I was INTO it.

Actually in thinking about this in relation to Citizen Kane, I -- a liberal atheist who far prefers indie auteurs over big spectacle blockbuster-type movies -- probably preferred Ben-Hur. Go figure! :)

#47 Cameron H.

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 07:00 AM

View PostReginaCrimpsManager, on 28 May 2018 - 06:49 AM, said:

I'm surprised people didn't like this more, in this thread. I recognize its flaws (the '50s style acting bugged me - I'm glad Paul brought this up, the interminable length) but the story was clear and the scope was impressive and it did well to suck me into its world. I lagged in (more than a) few spots but overall I was INTO it.

Actually in thinking about this in relation to Citizen Kane, I -- a liberal atheist who far prefers indie auteurs over big spectacle blockbuster-type movies -- probably preferred Ben-Hur. Go figure! :)/>


I didn’t hate Ben-Hur. It had a lot of great parts. I just don’t feel like those parts came together in a way that made the entire movie great. There are other movies on the list that I feel are far less deserving than Ben-Hur.
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#48 AlmostAGhost

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 07:14 AM

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.

#49 tomspanks

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 07:23 AM

View PostCameron H., on 24 May 2018 - 06:25 PM, said:

This was discussed in the episode, but seriously, was Charlton Heston good?

I think I’m of the same opinion as Paul in that Heston wasn’t exactly “good,” but I couldn’t really look away either. I’ve watched quite a few Elvis movies lately and it’s kind of the same thing. It’s this crazy, ineffable star quality that some people just seem to possess. It’s pretty amazing really.


I think it’s his eyes. The man doesn’t blink! Also, it was fascinating how when he opens his mouth to speak, it seemed like you could see all his teeth.

Anyway, I’m a bit late to the party, but i wanted to bring up a few things.

In the opening montage, did anyone else notice this girl?
Posted Image

I feel like she just wandered onto the set in her 50s A-line dress and nobody kicked her out.

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?

Lastly, leper spelled backwards is repel. Coincidence??

#50 Cameron H.

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 07:29 AM

View PostReginaCrimpsManager, on 28 May 2018 - 07:14 AM, said:

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.


No, it’s cool. I didn’t take it that way at all. It was a really good movie, but I doubt I’d be in a rush to watch it again. It’s awesome that it worked for you though. I think I may have said something like this already (or at least I meant to), but I think I’m just jaded. For people at the time, I bet this movie blew their minds. For sheer scale alone, it deserves to be on here.
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#51 Cameron H.

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 07:36 AM

tomspanks, on 28 May 2018 - 07:23 AM, said:

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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#52 tomspanks

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 07:39 AM

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..

#53 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 07:41 AM

View Postgrudlian., on 28 May 2018 - 03:45 AM, said:

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


Pretty sure it did.

#54 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 07:45 AM

View PostReginaCrimpsManager, on 28 May 2018 - 07:14 AM, said:

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.

#55 tomspanks

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 07:49 AM

View PostCameron H., on 28 May 2018 - 07:36 AM, said:

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.

#56 Cameron H.

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 08:32 AM

View Posttomspanks, on 28 May 2018 - 07:49 AM, said:



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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#57 tomspanks

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 09:50 AM

View PostCameron H., on 28 May 2018 - 08:32 AM, said:

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

#58 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 10:08 AM

View PostSusan*, on 25 May 2018 - 04:47 PM, said:

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.

#59 Cameron H.

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 12:12 PM

View PostSusan*, on 27 May 2018 - 06:55 AM, said:

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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#60 Cam Bert

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 02:08 PM

View Posttomspanks, on 28 May 2018 - 07:23 AM, said:

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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