Movie 15min

Ben Hur (1907)

The first adaptation of Lew Wallace’s novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

+ 1 image
Directors Frank Oakes Rose , Sidney Olcott
Country United States
Language English
(Alternative) Ben-Hur
(DVD, USA, 2010) Grapevine Video
1. Century Accident Adoption Ancient Rome Based on Novel Based on Play Black and White Drama History Horse Jerusalem Roman Empire Short Silent Film Slavery

The scene opens with an assembly of citizens who are harangued by one of their number, whose words have great weight with the crowd, and their attitude of approval shows that Roman misrule in Jerusalem has reached its climax. Heralds now approach and Roman soldiers beat back the crowd to make way for the approach of the Roman Procurator. The scene changes to the home of Ben Hur, who is seen with his sister and mother on the house top. The cavalcade of Roman troops approaches, and to get a near view Ben Hur leans from the coping and knocks down one of the stones thereof onto the shoulder of the Procurator. This is seen and misconstrued by the Governor, who orders soldiers to arrest the inmates; they, after ineffectual pleas and struggles, are carried off. Ben Hur is consigned to the galleys, where he is loaded with chains. Here he signalizes himself by saving the life of Arrias, who publicly adopts him as his son and proclaims him a Roman citizen amidst the acclamations of the assembled crowd in the forum. Now comes the scene in the games where Ben Hur is challenged by Messala, and accepts it, to the great delight of the citizens. The chariots and athletes parade before the dais and in due time are arranged, and the chariot race commences. Three times 'round the ring dash the chariots, and at the fourth turn Ben Hur comes out the victor and is crowned with the wreath, to the great, chagrin of Messala, who is borne on a stretcher, wounded to death.

Source: Moving Picture World

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Gene Gauntier -
Harry T. Morey -
William S. Hart - Messala
Herman Rottger - Ben Hur
Frank Oakes Rose - Director
Gene Gauntier - Writer
Lew Wallace - Author (Novel)
Frank Oakes Rose - Cinematography
William S. Hart - Producer
Frank Marion - Producer
Harry T. Morey - Producer
Frank Oakes Rose - Producer
Edgar Stillman Kelly - Music
Max Schneider - Cinematography
Harry T. Morey - Cinematography
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Lacking, even compared to contemporary films

The nice thing about this film is maybe the number of extras and the use of real horses. Costumes too seem good. The big fault here is that you kind of have to know the story in order to understand the film, and if you do know the story the film itself will be very lackluster. The best scenes are probably the whole first part, with the accident and the arrest. It makes narrative sense. Other than that, it is pretty much just crowds doing crowd things that make no sense unless you read the text between scenes. The chariot race was all one angle, but at least real horses were used and there was some speed action going on. The most disappointing part is that the whole "A Tale of the Christ" part is not there at all, as the whole galleys and slave part was cut off. Still, a nice to have relic from the past that give use great comparative value with the many remakes of the story.