By all rights, the original (yes, original) 1925 Ben-Hur should have been a disaster but it somehow managed to survive and thrive despite budget woes, fascists, and fired directors, screenwriters and producers.
While not without flaws, the film is extremely impressive overall with all the pomp and spectacle that made the silent era great. Ramon Novarro is a vulnerable hero and Francis X. Bushman’s hammy villain is a hiss-worthy delight.
How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.
In spite of the chariot race being the show-stopper, the film actually ends with the hero reuniting with his lost family and converting to Christianity.
If it were a dessert it would be: 18-Layer Chocolate Cake. Over the top but sometimes that’s just what you want.
Read my epic full-length review here, in which I reveal the amazing background of the film, share a whole ton of gossip and dissect how this production snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Availability: Released on DVD as a companion to the 1959 remake.
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