Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Julien Duvivier's most controversial production to date, 1935's Golgotha is an ambitious and expensive retelling of the Last Days of Jesus. Robert le Vigan plays the Son of God, but as often happens in films of this nature he is upstaged by the villains, Herod (Harry Baur), Pontius Pilate (Jean Gabin) and Judas (Lucas Gridoux). All of Jesus' dialogue is taken directly from the Scriptures, with no movie-style adornments: le Vigan delivers these lines with sincerity and quiet grace. Considering the anti-Semitism prevalent in Europe during the 1930s, the question of the Jews' responsibility for Jesus' death is handled with restraint; blame is squarely laid on the shoulders of a handful of conspirators, rather than an entire race. A throwback to the religious films that Duvivier had made during the silent era, Golgotha may seem a bit old-fashioned and stilted when seen today: one contemporary reviewer has likened the film to a display of picture post-cards.
leader, religion, gospel, life, testament