BEN-HUR (1959) C widescreen 212m dir: William Wyler
w/Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Haya Hayareet, Hugh Griffith, Martha Scott, Jack Hawkins, Sam Jaffe
Spectacular screen version of the celebrated novel by Lew Wallace about the conflict between the Jews and the Romans in Jerusalem during the lifetime of Jesus. (This is the third filming of the novel, the previous two being released in 1907 and 1926.) The film is meticulously produced, and there are numerous sequences of awesome proportions, especially the chariot race.
From Variety 's review of the film: "The $15 million Ben-Hur is a majestic achievement, representing a superb blending of the motion picture arts by master craftsmen.
"The big difference between Ben-Hur and other spectacles, biblical or otherwise, is its sincere concern for human beings. They're not just pawns reciting flowery dialog to fill gaps between the action. This has been accomplished without sacrificing the impact of the spectacle elements. ...
"The film took ten months to complete at Rome's Cinecitta Syudios. The 300 sets are one of the highlights of the film, particularly the massive arena for the chariot sequence. The musical score by Miklos Rozsa also contributes to the overall excellence of the giant project.
"Ben-Hur is a fitting climax to [Sam] Zimbalist's career as a producer. He died of a heart attack in Rome when the film was near completion."
Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Heston), Supporting Actor (Griffith), Color Cinematography, Color Art Direction, Sound, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture, Editing, Special Effects, and Color Costume Design.