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Posts Tagged ‘Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ’

“Martha Graham used to say, ‘if you’re going to steal, steal from the best,’ and I have always embraced the people that I have idolized and tried to incorporate what I’ve enjoyed in their films and in their styles in mine.”
Woody Allen
Interview by Tony Jenkins

“I decided that I would create a modern version of (the Ben-Hur chariot race) which was instead of horses and chariots they would be speeders hooked behind giant engines.
George Lucas on the pod race in Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace


Yesterday’s post covered how the movie Dances with Wolves helped inspire James Cameron as he created Avatar. But before Avatar became the all-time box office winner, Cameron’s Titanic held that spot for 12 years. Was there a filmed that helped Cameron create Titanic?

I couldn’t find a quote from Cameron, but here’s a thought-provoking comparison of Titanic and Ben-Hur, that was created by Kal Bashir.* (One slight correction, Titanic was nominated for 14 Academy Awards but won 11 Oscars, which tied Ben Hur’s total wins. A record they now also now share with Lord of the Rings:Return of the King.)

Ben-Hur was also an inspiration to Ridley Scott on the making of Gladiator—a film that itself was nominated for 11 Academy Award, winning five including Best Picture, and the famous Ben-Hur chariot race was the basis for George Lucas in creating the pod race scene in The Phantom Menace.

Lew Wallace‘s book Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ was first published in 1880 and for over 50 years was the second best-selling book next to the Bible. ( Wallace was born, raised, and died in Indiana. He spent seven years reseaching and writing Ben-Hur “under a tree in Crawfordsville, Indiana.” ) There was a New York stage version of the book done in 1899, and the play would eventually go on the road in the states and overseas and be seen by an estimated 20 million people.  Ben-Hur was made into movies in 1907, 1925, 1958 and an animated version in 2003.

*Kal has several other movie examples on his website where he touches on what he calls The 510+ stage Hero’s  Journey. (Ben-Hur/Titanic synopsis used by permission.)

Scott W. Smith

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