Episode 22 – Ben-Hur 1959

Watch out the listeners! We’re taking a step back in time to examine the classic Rome on film presented in Ben-Hur, the 1959 epic extravaganza!

This film emerges from the Hollywood Golden Age where the studio systems competed to draw in the largest audiences with the most satisfying stories.

Directed by William Wyler, and released through MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), the film stars Charlton Heston as the title character Judah Ben-Hur. The film builds on the novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ published by Lee Wallace in 1880. This means that there are many layers to parse from the perspective of historians.

Luckily Dr R is an expert on the reception of Rome on film. With her knowledge at hand and the curious questions of Dr G, you can be sure that there’s some mysteries to be solved when the Doctors turn their gaze on the more recent past of Rome through the lens of Hollywood.

Join the doctors as they probe the relationships between the Romans and the Christians, the presentation of male relationships, and (of course) the famous chariot scene:

Ben-Hur

 

Ben-Hur
An official film poster from 1959. Courtesy of Reynold Brown / Wikimedia Commons

Drs R and G laugh and spar their way through the ancient Roman world!

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