A True Portrayal of the Victory of those Israelites who did not Return from the Captivity.
The Story of Esther (1910)
Original title: Esther
(USA, 1910) Kleine Optical Company
(France, 1910) Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont
CategoriesBased on the Bible Biblical Drama Black and White Drama Esther Jew Judaism Laws Marriage Old Testament Romance Royalty Short Silent Film The Book of Esther Wedding DramaRomanceShortBased on the Bible, Biblical Drama, Black and White, Esther, Jew, Judaism, Laws, Marriage, Old Testament, Royalty, Silent Film, The Book of Esther, Wedding
Dramatic Presentation of Biblical Story to Be Issued by George Kleine
The demand for high-class Biblical productions is a surprise to the very men who first introduced this style of drama, and there have been numerous fine productions placed before the people since the Passion Play films proved the drawing power of religious subjects.
George Kleine has recently imported several remarkable features of this nature, which need no commendation more than has been already accorded them by even the most critical journals of this country, and now announces for about the middle of June another of even greater pretensions.
The Story of Esther is particularly filled with incidents of romance and is particularly rich in opportunities for the display of taste in art and strength in dramatic production.
Both have been exhibited to a marked degree
In this magnificent film which presents fourteen wonderfully staged scenes in rich colors.
There is a notable absence of gaudiness in he colored work which comes as a surprise to critics. All the work is in tones of the finest fiending.
A notable comment in a London paper says, We first have presented on the screen Mademoiselle Gravier, who takes the part of Esther, Monsieur Leon Ferret (Ahasuerus) and Monsieur Grand (Mordecai), three of the most noted of Paris, who interpret their parts with ability that contribute much to the
access of an ambitious picture. Their makeup and type of feature is quite oriental and they act with a restrain that gives digonity to each scene. The properties and scenery are carefully chosen — such minor details as the use of the oriental comb when the maidens are lorning themselves previous to entering the kings presence show that neither expense nor ought has been spared to make the production reflect. Life, too, is evident throughout; there is no dead scene, and the groupings of the numerous characters show clever manipulation for effect. Horses, asses and camels figure in several of the scenes and certainly add to their attractiveness. The early incidents are carefully and unobtrusively colored.
King Ahasuerus, who is now generally understood to have been Xerxes, and who ruled over India and its provinces about B. C. 521, is recorded to have cast aside his wife and directs that it be heralded throughout his domain that he is in search of a new spouse. He issues instructions to have brought before him for his approval the most beautiful young girls of all his lands. Accordingly, the maidens are led to the palace, and we see them being sumptuously gowned and bejeweled before being brought into the presence of his Majesty. Among the number, the king is greatly impressed by the beauty and grace of a handsome young Jewish girl. This one is Esther, who was adopted by her uncle Mordecai, and by him brought to the palace of the king. Esther’s beauty surpasses that of all the others and she is crowned Queen by Ahasuerus. Mordecai is appointed to sit at the king’s gateway. While on duty he discovers a plot to assassinate the king and discloses the facts, whereupon the king orders that this brave deed be recorded in the annals of the kingdom.
Among the king’s favorites, Haman is supreme. He soon becomes violently jealous of Mordecai and plans his destruction. As Mordecai is a Jew, Haman makes preparations to massacre the entire race and thereby complete his revenge on Mordecai.
About this time the king decides to make a review of his annals and to his amazement finds no record there of the good deed of Mordecai, whereupon Haman is ordered to give royal honors to Mordecai. This only serves to increase the jealousy of Haman.
Through the gracious intercession of Esther, Mordecai soon has another and greater victory over Haman. As the time for the massacre of the Israelites approaches, Esther who has been told all by her uncle Mordecai, invites Haman to dine with her and the king at the palace. During the feast she discloses the fact that she is a Jewess and declares that all those who are enemies of the Jews are her enemies, and therefore enemies of the king, and are not worthy of his favor — whereupon the king, who has been informed of the full facts, orders Haman delivered up to the guards and has him hanged on the very gallows Haman had designed for Mordecai.
The victory of the Israelites is now the cause of great rejoicing.
Source: The Film Index - 1910
The film was released in two parts. "The Marriage of Esther" was released 11. June 1910 in the US, and the second part, "Esther and Mordecai" was released 18. June 1910.
King Ahasuerus, having repudiated his wife, Vachti for disobedience, commands the young and beautiful maidens to be brought before him, in order that he might choose another Queen.
The Marriage of Esther
Esther and Mordecai
The Story of Esther has gotten many films over the years, and the first one was this one by Louis Feuillade, which manages to put the story quite close to the one found in the Bible. There are a few things missing, like the touching of the scepter, but it does not remove from the overall experience here. The film runs for 19 minutes in total and that is quite slow for a movie of the time, but somehow Feuillade managed to tell this story well in that runtime, maybe because he did not need to take too many shortcuts. The first scene is pretty slow, but from there it tells the story masterfully all the way to the feast at the end.