(1951)3Craig ButlerFans of Biblical epics will find a lot to like in David and Bathsheba; although there's little here that will appeal to those who don't look favorably upon the genre. The script is predictably overblown, filled with the kind of bombast and stilted melodrama that is to be expected. It's ridiculous, yet in its own strange way, it works. It is also, typically, both too reverent and too "Hollywood"-ized; also like most Biblical epics of the period, it takes advantage of its religious underpinnings to indulge in some lurid sensuality. The direction is big and broad, filling the screen appropriately yet ultimately rather sterile. But there's plenty of spectacle to fill the eyes, with gorgeous costumes, delicious Leon Shamroy cinematography, and fabulous sets -- and these things count for a great deal. David also has a stellar cast; if Gregory Peck is a trifle stiff, he still supplies the requisite power and charisma, and Susan Hayward is a delight as the luscious adulteress. (Stage fans will want to keep a sharp eye out for future musical theater star Gwen Verdon, who has a few moments in the spotlight as a specialty dancer.) Throw in a grand Alfred Newman score and some nifty battle scenes, and the result is a good, if occasionally dawdling, Hollywood excursion into the Good Book.