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The Greatest Story ever told


For any fan of George Stevens’s expansive epic on the life of Christ, this restored version returns the film to its cinematic splendor. The print quality is magnificent. In one important way, the film even plays better decades after it was produced in 1965 : the bevy of cameos is not as distracting. This mellowing-over-time approach was apparently part of Stevens’s plan as revealed in one of two documentaries. A 20-minute segment made in 1965 is thinly veiled public relations but works as an intriguing time capsule capturing how massive moviemaking once was, with its large tent cities built to house cast and crew--in this case, in the remote areas of the Southwest. The new documentary is longer but is pieced together from the older featurette and interviews made for the 1984 documentary George Stevens : A Filmmaker’s Journey. This film--labeled the « Roadshow Edition"--plays 199 minutes, just a smidgen longer than the standard cut. It’s still an hour shorter than Stevens’s rarely seen original cut. --Doug Thomas

United Artists
120 g
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