Something for the weekend. One of the most powerful depictions of Christ on film from the movie Ben Hur (1959). A wonderful melding of music and dialogue as Christ goes silently to the aid of Ben Hur and gives him water. The wordless encounter between Christ and the Centurion was amazing, as the Centurion’s face registers bewilderment, shame and curiosity as he has a totally unexpected encounter with the Divine. Whatever the actor who played the Centurion was earning that day, it wasn’t nearly enough.
Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week. The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov and Telly Savalas may be read here, here, here, here and here.
The late Frank Thring, an Australian actor, had the distinction of playing both Pilate and Herod Antipas in major films, Pilate in Ben Hur (1959) and Herod Antipas in King of Kings (1961).
In Ben Hur we get a glimpse of the backstory of Pilate. Thring portrays Pilate as an urbane Roman aristocrat dismayed that he is being sent to govern bleak and hot Judea. At a party given by Arrius to anounce his adoption of Ben Hur, go here to view the video, Pilate indicates his dismay at the prospect. After Ben Hur wins his famous chariot race, Pilate cynically crowns Ben Hur as the “one true God” for the moment, of the people. Go here to watch the clip. Continue Reading