Sunday, 29 May 2011

Encore’s Birthday Marathon: Day 12

I don’t think I’m the first person to make mention of this, but I do find it ironic and not just a little humorous that the era of Hollywood most notorious for its debauchery and other hijinks was the time when they were most likely to spew out all their religious cant. I used to live, for about three years, with this overly religious aunt of mine and she was a big fan of religious fare and whatnot. I swear I’ve seen every incarnation of the Jesus’ life – from Jesus Christ Superstar to some awful animated shtick which I wouldn’t mind getting lobotomised to forget.
So, naturally, it’s no surprise that my favourite religious stars one of the least holy of Hollywood’s stars and also happens to eschew the strictest of religious principles. I’ve spoken about The Robe before, and it was on last month when they were counting down to Easter. I don’t know if it’s my perspective, because there really is little that’s palpably irreverent about The Robe (well except for Burton’s deliciously over-the-top performance, I have no excuse for loving it yet I do) but I still think of the film as an impertinent religious pseudo-masterpiece. It’s probably because the last scene takes place in the palace of the very histrionic Caligula and the only who tops Burton in the histrionic department in The Robe is Jay Robinsonb who’s so ridiculous he seems to have walked off the set of some comedy show and thrust into 1 AD.

Next to The Robe I’d probably cite The Ten Commandments as a worthy religious adventure. Once again, though, it’s the more visceral side of the film that makes me a fan: enter Anne Baxter. In my defense, it’s evidence of good screenwriting that the generally known story of Moses can be turned into a pseudo-love triangle (quadrilateral?) I’m not a big fan of Charlton Heston as it is, but add him to Anne Baxter and then toss in Yul Brynner and Yvonne De Carlo (who is not often remembered but is lovely here) for kicks and it’s a party. I’m a bigger fan of The Robe but I’d never the technical brilliance of The Ten Commandments. I always wish DeMille’s film had made a bigger showing at the Oscars that year. (They lost to Around the World in 80 Days for god’s sakes.) But, that's awards for you.
The Robe or The Ten Commandments? Or no religion?


Yojimbo_5 said...

"Oh, Moses, Moses, Moses..."

Jay Robinson. Now there's a performer. He can be seen in an episode of "Bewitched," and also as the M.C. in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

i actually did see that episode of "bewtiched". his voice is scary.