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'King of Kings' (1927) 'KING OF KINGS' (1927) watched Good Friday 18th April, 2014

This 16mm original print is on Kodak stock edge code "Square Square Square" made 1948. It has beautiful theatrical contrast and density. The optical soundtrack has the Photophone music score and is excellent sound quality.

The answer to which 16mm film print to screen this Friday is easy to decide. 'King of Kings,' Cecil DeMille's silent re enactment of Christ's passion. This is the 1928 sound version with the original Hugo Riesenfeld score and sound effects. Also notable for Michael Moore, the child actor, who played the apostle Mark and became Second Unit Director of many outstanding Hollywood films has recently died aged ninety-eight. The last time we watched this the film was 86 years old and he was alive.

The cinematography of Peveral Marley is masterful with some incredible in-camera effects such as the expulsion of the seven deadly sins from Mary Magdalene (Jacqueline Logan), achieved by backwinding and re-exposing the film seven times for each of the sins to make a writhing composite. Some scenes have Christ (H.B. Warner) carefully lit in an ethereal manner so that he appears as of another world. While the episodic direction of DeMille always seems to build into an overwraught tableau and fade out, the film is moving and affecting. I believe the dove landing on the chalice in the Last Supper scene was achieved by perching the bird on the cup to fly off and then cutting the film in reverse so that the dove appears to alight onto the cup.

I was once told by an actor who worked for DeMille at this time that DeMille's direction involved a band of musicians at the back of the set playing 'mood' music for the benefit of the actors who were supposed to emote their particular character roles. So they were never 'silent' films.

 

 

'King of Kings' (1927) Muriel McCormac (Blind Girl) and Micky Moore (Mark) Muriel McCormac (Blind Girl) and Micky Moore (Mark)

'King of Kings' (1927)

'King of Kings' (1927)

'King of Kings' (1927)

'King of Kings' (1927)

'King of Kings' (1927)

 

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