Movie 11min

The Star of Bethlehem (1909)

Not rated.

Director Edwin S. Porter
Country United States
Language English
(Undefined) Star of Bethlehem
Based on the Bible Birth of Jesus Black and White Drama Flight to Egypt Herod Kills the Children Herod the Great Short Silent Film St. Joseph St. Mary The Nativity The Wise Men

A beautiful, reverential picture, suitable for the coming Lenten season, showing the eventful period immediately preceding the birth of the gentlest of men.

The life of the time is faithfully shown and the hardships attending the wanderings of Mary and Joseph. Their seeking shelter, being denied, and finally forced to find refuge in a stable. The arrival of the wise men called magi, gentle philosophers from Persian and India, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the child, whom they worship as a king. Herod, the king, sends for the wise men, questions them regarding the coming of Christ; where he is to be born, and the time - for he is very much troubled withal.

The wise men are warned by an angel and depart from Judas, returning to their own country. Joseph and Mary are also warned and flee with the child into Egypt.

Herod, exceedingly angry, sends forth his command to slay all the children in Bethlehem from two years and under - hoping to encompass the death of the one child whose coming he feared.

Throughout, the action is beautifully sustained; enacted in a reverent spirit. Costumes and characters historically correct and stage settings as elaborate as ever used.

The scenes wherein the shepherds watch by night - the bumble stable and lowly manger - the arrival of the wise men bearing gifts and the tender devotion shown, make this a fitting product of the coming season.

Source: The Moving Picture World, 6 March 1909

The first Nativity movie produced in America was by Thomas A. Edison. It was made in 8 scenes. The Director, Edwin S. Porter, was not in good standing with Edison at the time and was let go the next year. Edison company licensed deals with European companies like Gaumont and Pathe, which makes one believe that this movie short was a recut of other big hits on the market, with new subtitles made into Edison film and then produced. It was made for the Easter celebration in the USA. Some sources say it was produced in 1908.

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Thomas A. Edison - Producer
Edwin S. Porter - Cinematography (Other)
Edwin S. Porter - Director
Edwin S. Porter - Writer
J. Searle Dawley - Writer