Friday, December 30, 2016

Ben - Hur (1959)

Since I saw the remake of "Ben Hur" a 1959 movie in 2016 that too in 3D, I always wanted to watch the original one not for the comparison sake but because I saw the original in early 2000 as a part of film festival in a cinema at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. Today was the day I finally saw it and what a mesmerizing experience it was - my humble 40" LED Television and a 2.1 channel home theater was a no match to this movies giant wide camera shots and to that awesome background score. It didn't even made me go breathless teary eyed so many times that I lost count as those haunting scenes came rushing back to me from my memory - the fantastically handsome "Charlton Heston" as Juda Ben Hur was one heck of a site, I can imagine what kind of fan following this guy must have back then when this movie got released. No doubt it ended up sweeping 11 Academy Awards, a record which got broken only after 37 years by a movie of "Titanic's" caliber.
WOW!! look at the camera work, expressions of the cast, thrilling scenes, excellent cinematography, even by today's standard - it will be very tough to match this movie's class. It deserves all the accolades and a standing ovation even today when I noted after it ended that I actually watched a 3 and a half hour long classic in one shot without a break and still I was asking for a little more. How life screws Juda Ben Hur when his best friend turns a foe out of no reason still he fights back and gets his due. Loses everything, his family, friends, country, almost on the verge of death but he is destined a revenge that he gets in the end and how - is one heck of an experience.
It is actually the story of Life of Jesus yet the son of god gets three minor shots but even that is enough to call him a her by the way he steals the movie even after getting no close up and you don't even get to look who played the awesome character. My hands are actually shaking in mentioning the three important scenes he makes an entry, One were Ben Hur gets arrested and is being sent out to serve as a slave, as he falls thirsty - Jesus comes to his rescue and offers the fallen a glass of water - a background shot of Jesus - his flowing curly hair and that amazing aura he had - I so much prayed that he will turn but he doesn't - yet its breathtaking and I missed a couple of heartbeats. Second time when Juda Ben Hur comes back and he is told that the child has grown into a man and is healing people and you see the Son of God again on top of a hill in White robe - a shot from quite a distance yet you see him very clearly among a mob of followers in tatters. Third and the best scene of the movie - as Jesus carries his cross on his shoulders and falls while walking - Juda Ben Hur lifts the man and offers him water - with a million dollar look in his eyes he thinks "I know this man" - Classic, Unbelievable stuff - I am sure if you have seen the movie you will agree with me.
No ways that I can miss to mention the grand finale Chariot race - although it still is way way better then the chase scenes we see in today's time - shot in one solid way, straight it sent me to the edge of my chair even after knowing how it ends - it still was amazing to see one more time, although it is visible that a lot of it was in fast forward mode still it works and what a superb ending.
They just don't make those movies any more. And this is one Iconic movie which will remain in my memory till the end of time. If you haven't seen the original yet - you are a criminal in my eye :) please do not like or comment my post till you see it - I refuse to get your like and I request you to leave my post alone.
A movie which is too good to get a rating.
If I have to - I will give it a 5/5 with two thumbs up and a standing ovation.
A movie which needs to be watched every year.

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