Faith in Motion
Written by Brad Miner
Saturday, April 13, 2019
“Whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
At Mass on the second Sunday of Lent, the homilist at my church decried films about Jesus and the saints as shallow and, in some cases, profane. Instead of watching movies during Lent (and, I presume, Holy Week), he suggested reading good biographies about the saints. I take the point, although I’d add that such books are sometimes hagiography, not history.
In an earlier column about portrayals of Jesus in the movies, I mentioned that Jesus never laughs on screen. Father Schall told me it’s also true in Scripture. But he referred me to Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, which speaks about Christ’s openness (“He never concealed His tears. . .”) although Jesus did keep something hidden: “one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.”
I want to expand at length on that earlier column by focusing on three films about faith you may not have seen. I beg the reader’s indulgence because all are from the Silent Era: From the Manger to the Cross (1912); Ben-Hur (1925); and The King of Kings (1927). The links below are to YouTube versions, but these films do pop up now and then on Turner Classic Movies.