Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ben Hur (1907)

This Ben Hur is the first time Lew Wallace's book Ben-Hur was adapted for film. The book can be read online. This film is directed by Sidney Olcott (From the Manger to the Cross).

I'm at a loss to find Jesus in this film.

This short film is at youtube in 2 parts. Part 1:

Part 2:

Bible Films Blog has a post. They say that the film makers "didn't stage it's own chariot race, as the 2 later re-makes would do. Instead they took a camera down to an annual chariot race competition and recorded part of that."

from wikipedia:
This movie is most notable as a precedent in copyright law. The movie was made without the permission of the author's estate, which was common practice at that time. The screenwriter, Gene Gauntier, remarked in her 1928 autobiography how the film industry at that time infringed upon everything. As a result of the production of Ben Hur, Harper & Brothers and the author's estate brought suit against Kalem Studios, the Motion Picture Patents Company, and Gauntier for copyright infringement. The United States Supreme Court ultimately ruled against the film company in 1911. This ruling established the precedent that all motion picture production companies must first secure the film rights of any previously published work still under copyright before commissioning a screenplay based on that work.

There is a 1925 version of this story.

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