The Holy City (1908)
CategoriesAngels Barabbas Based on the Bible Biblical Drama Black and White Caiaphas Death of Jesus Drama Herod the Great Jesus Christ Jesus Film John the Baptist Judas Iscariot Lost Film New Testament Pontius Pilatus Salome Short Silent Film St. John the Apostle St. Mary St. Mary Magdalena The Betrayal by Judas The Burial of Jesus The Raising of Lazarus The Resurrection DramaShortAngels, Barabbas, Based on the Bible, Biblical Drama, Black and White, Caiaphas, Death of Jesus, Herod the Great, Jesus Christ, Jesus Film, John the Baptist, Judas Iscariot, Lost Film, New Testament, Pontius Pilatus, Salome, Silent Film, St. John the Apostle, St. Mary, St. Mary Magdalena, The Betrayal by Judas, The Burial of Jesus, The Raising of Lazarus, The Resurrection
No style of picture production so thoroughly appeals to the multitude as does a religious subject. Such an inauguration, however, must be based upon positive sources and convey in the staging, scenery, costumes, etc., the most accurate resemblance to Biblical facts. This we have observed, and in a way that exhibits varied beautifully impressive scenes, most realistic, gorgeous, superb and even astounding in their ascendant entirety.
The most prominently attractive features to a creation of this nature is the height of morality and instruction embodied therein, making it appropriate for any entertainment, whatsoever, and a picture that none should miss or fall to acquire the educational and scenic knowledge to be derived therefrom. No one knows this better than — everybody. Here is a subject that attracts the populace.
The first scene shows a sumptuous room in King Herod's palace, where a feast is given in honor of Mary Magdalene, the favorite of a dissolute king, surrounded by scoffers and unbelievers. In all her regal splendor, Mary Magdalene is here reproved by the Apostle John, as are all the others for their sinful lives. They in turn deride and jeer the name of the Messiah, excepting Mary, who is impressed by the earnestness and undoubted sincerity of the Apostle.
The scene changes to the roof garden of Mary Magdalene's house, where, shortly after the feast, she is reclining Oriental luxury, charmed by the music of sweet stringed instruments and beguiling the evening hours in listening to the impassioned words of love from Barrabas, "The Lion of the Desert."
It is here she is interrupted by the appearance of Judas of Iscariot, who imparts more information concerning the Nazarene.
Mary is plainly affected by the words of Judas, and speaks of a dream she bad, of this same mysterious Being, wherein she saw Him quell a raging sea and subdue the elements to His will.
The subsequent picture shows the house of Caiaphas, where a number of conspirators are planning the destruction of The Messiah.
Again we return to Mary Magdalene, where, after dismissing Barrabas and the others, she calls upon the Lord to save her soul. As she kneels in supplication, the wondrous light of truth dawns upon her; she rends the jewels from her neck, and casts them away. It is then she sees, as in a vision, the face of Christ, and slowly the red robe of shame, that adorns her body, is changed to white; ber golden hair falls about her shoulders and she stands transfixed.
We next go to the tomb of her brother, Lazarus. It is here that Lazarus is raised from the dead. He returns to his home amidst rejoicing and thanksgiving for his deliverance, and it is at this house that Jesus is found by the repentent Magdalene, and by Him full forgiveness of her sins is granted.
But Caiaphas has not been idle, and descends upon the house of Lazarus, directed by Judas, who for a sum of money, betrays his Lord and Master. Warning is given, however, in time for the Messiah to depart before the soldiers arrive.
The following scene shows the exterior of the Hall of Judgment, after the betrayal of Christ into the hands of His enemies. Pilate is here shown trying, in vain, to quell the aggressors who clamor for the life of the Saviour.
We next return to the house of Lazarus, after the Crucifixion. The sky is overcast with black clouds, and earthquakes have rent the hills asunder. The grief of Mary Magdalene is beautifully depleted in this scene. She returns to the spot where her blessed Lord had died upon the Cross. The base of the three crosses and top of Golgotha are here pictured, where Mary, the mother of Christ, and Mary Magdalene await, with His faithful followers, permission to remove the sacred body to the tomb in the garden of Joseph. From this point we are taken to the tomb itself, showing the faithful watchers and the Roman soldiers, keeping vigil. The soldiers fall asleep, the tomb opens and the vision of an Angel appears revealing the Christ, the savior of all mankind, has risen from the dead.
Source: Selig Polyscope Company, Supplement No. 96, April 1908
The film came in two lengths, 1000 feet, and 1585 feet (the ad rounded it up to 1600).
"The Holy City" (Selig), an impious and sacrilegious travesty which must arouse the disgust of every serious Christian - a love affair between Mary Magdalene and Barrabas the robber, with a jumble of Judas Iscariot, John the Baptist, Herod, Salome and Christ. This play is built up on the dramatist's imagination, and is without the Biblical authority, which could alone justify its production.
Source: Review in The Motion Picture Magazine, May 1908
|William Nicholas Selig