Sunday, April 20, 2014

Flick Pick: Ben Hur

Ben Hur
(MGM, 1959)

Made for $15M when that was a lot of money, pulling in $146M initially, winning  a then-record 11 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Heston), Best Supporting Actor (Griffith), and incidentally one of the greatest films ever made, William Wyler's historical epic set the standard for filmmaking for the next 20 years, while Miklos Rozsa's sweeping Best Score was issued as a separate album, and influenced later works by John Williams. The climactic chariot race was iconic, taking five weeks to film over three months of production, and carefully recreating some aspects of the 1925 silent version, while in others taking full advantage of the widescreen color cameras used to shoot the movie. The returns on this movie saved MGM singlehandedly, and Ben Hur was second only to Gone With The Wind for biggest grossing movie of all time.

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