Friday 29 March 2024

give us barabbas (11. 457)

Via Miss Cellania, we are directed to the rather compelling 1961 biblical epic (overshadowed by others in the genre) directed by Richard Fleischer for Dino De Laurentiis’ studio, originally cast for Yul Brynner in the title role, portrayal of the thief chosen by the crowd over Jesus to the be pardoned and released by provincial governor Pontius Pilate, as a Passover custom, went to Anthony Quinn with supporting roles by Arthur Kennedy, Ernest Borgnine and Jack Palance and expands on the life of the reformed recidivist after the Crucifixion (filming timed to take advantage of an actual solar eclipse that took place on 15 February in the year of the debut) who is only mentioned in passing in the gospels. Upon release and returning to his compatriots, still a sceptic, Barabbas is disappointed and frustrated to discover that his girlfriend has become a convert—stoned to death later in Jerusalem for evangelising. Feckless and devastated by the loss following his reprieve, Barabbas returns to his life of crime and when a botched attempt on a caravan goes awry, Barabbas throws himself at the mercy of the authorities and is condemned to toil in the hellish sulphur mines of Sicily for the rest of his existence. Chained to a Christian slave that at first resents Barabbas was spared over Christ but over the years of their sentence—eventually curtailed by an earthquake that causes the tunnels to collapse killing all the slaves except the two companions—became friends and return to Rome, via the gladiatorial route to freedom. With suspected sympathies and guilt by association, Barabbas is imprisoned with other Christians, including Peter the Apostle, rounded-up and incarcerated en masse, accused of having set fire to the city under the rule of Nero and charged with arson, were summarily executed by crucifixion.


one year ago: the flags of Antarctica plus a special air raid all clear message

two years ago: a NATO expansion (2004) plus omissions in the presidential daily diary

three years ago: assorted links to revisit, Casa Sperimentale plus California cults

four years ago: a record high for the Dow Jones index (1999), Bulgarian postal cancellation stamps,  a GI*Joe reboot plus fashion-enforced social distancing

five years ago: more links to enjoy, satirical job titles that are probably real ones now plus Brexit is going swimmingly