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 Posted:   Aug 20, 2013 - 5:59 AM   
 By:   TominAtl   (Member)

A remake for BEN-HUR is fine with me, even as the '59 version is 2nd favorite film of all time. But... Timur Bekmambetov ??? "Wanted" was ok if not totally outrageous. But his 2nd American film was "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter". I mean, seriously? Please tell me this is a joke. With him at the helm this will be a CG galore fest with ridiculous camera swoops and fake looking sets.

Ugh.

 
 Posted:   Aug 20, 2013 - 7:13 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

They should get Ridley Scott to do the new BEN-HUR.

Though he already dealt with Rome in GLADIATOR, and I read that all he really likes is to create environments...



No he shouldn't.

 
 Posted:   Aug 20, 2013 - 7:19 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

The great thing about the 50's version is that it was all real (well real sets & people, the model ships were bad, but what a chariot race!) & there's no actor around can can fill Heston's boots.




The problem is that Heston, though he made that part his own, is NOT the Ben-Hur of the original novel, and when you make a book adaptation, you make a book adaptation.

Lew Wallace's Ben-Hur is a TEENAGER, and the story is his rites of passage, as well as an allegory of the Jews in history. He and Messala were BOYS really, then young men. Anyone who makes any B-H will automatically take that on board. Look at Niblo and Ramon Novarro.

It's sad that Hollywood fans think that Hollywood defines everything. Wallace knew no more of Hollywood in the 1880s than Jane Austen did earlier. Hollywood does NOT own this concept, no matter who has the rights.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 20, 2013 - 8:03 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

The great thing about the 50's version is that it was all real (well real sets & people, the model ships were bad, but what a chariot race!) & there's no actor around can can fill Heston's boots.




The problem is that Heston, though he made that part his own, is NOT the Ben-Hur of the original novel, and when you make a book adaptation, you make a book adaptation.

Lew Wallace's Ben-Hur is a TEENAGER, and the story is his rites of passage, as well as an allegory of the Jews in history. He and Messala were BOYS really, then young men. Anyone who makes any B-H will automatically take that on board. Look at Niblo and Ramon Novarro.

It's sad that Hollywood fans think that Hollywood defines everything. Wallace knew no more of Hollywood in the 1880s than Jane Austen did earlier. Hollywood does NOT own this concept, no matter who has the rights.


I agree with everything you say, but in a way Hollywood does own it, how many people have read the book? I must admit I haven't, but I did hear a really good four hour version on BBC radio four (in fact I recorded it, I might give it another listen). I think Lew Wallace had read Dumas' The Count Of Monte Cristo. Maybe a lower key version on TV, like HBO's excellent Rome series.

 
 Posted:   Aug 20, 2013 - 8:11 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

Lew Wallace's Ben-Hur is a TEENAGER, and the story is his rites of passage, as well as an allegory of the Jews in history. He and Messala were BOYS really, then young men. Anyone who makes any B-H will automatically take that on board. Look at Niblo and Ramon Novarro.

Yeah, but Wallace's novel is 19th century PULP (pulp, as in crap). There's no need to even care about it.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 20, 2013 - 10:11 AM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

They should remake another of Wallace's novels, THE FAIR GOD, all about a Spanish conquistador who goes native in Pre-Columbian America.

I say "re-make," because there was a silent film version, back in the 20's, starring Wallace Reid, a big star at the time, who died of a drug overdose at the height of his popularity.

Sound familiar?

 
 Posted:   Aug 20, 2013 - 11:20 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Yeah, but Wallace's novel is 19th century PULP (pulp, as in crap). There's no need to even care about it.


Are you winding me up?

The book is uneven, with bits as good as Dickens and other bits penny-dreadful, but read it. And not the awful reduction MGM authorised in '59.

Apart from anything else, it has a good psychological rites-of-passage story, with Judah growing up and recovering his buried feminine and inner self: that's mythic, Greek even.

And a very nice little allegory about the Jews' passage through history: read Jerusalem for the Palace of the Hurs, and the diaspora post-Titus as the galley sequence. The analogy even goes past Wallace's own time as he draws the strings out. Read the chariot race as WWII and Judah's return as 1948. Judah returns AFTER the race in the book, and becomes a freedom fighter.

Some of these things Wallace intended. Some he didn't. There's a collective unconscious that can be tapped.

The 1959 had to rewrite a lot just to fulfil '50s expectations of the action hero. A Sadducee prince wouldn't be unmarried at 35, nor, even given his Sadducee mercantile mixing with the Hellenists and Romans, CLEAN-SHAVEN in the early and late parts of the film.

Nor should Judah leap around doing Schwarzenegger strongman stuff in the naval battle. He should be 'hurled into the vortex' and at the hands of grace, as the ship GOES DOWN: that's the psychological metaphor. And it should be Judah, NOT Tirzah who drops the tile on Gratus. We need to ask if he subconsciously intended it. But of course the '50s action hero could never do that, so blame his sister! That's where the crap lies.

And the scene where Judah threatens Messala with a spear .... Tunberg had clearly seen too many Westerns ... 'Move back or I shoot!' .... with a JAVELIN!?!! Spare me. It's Wyler's great direction that made that somehow feasible. The teenage boy doesn't do any of that in the book.

Plus the religious story.

Without these deeper elements, it's just a cheap potboiler for leather fetishists, and what amazes me is that the people who like it best seem to WANT that potboiler. So to where do we attribute the 'crap'? There's still another good BH to be made.

 
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