Joseph (1995)

Genres - Epic  |   Sub-Genres - Religious Epic  |   Release Date - Apr 16, 1995 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 240 min.  |   Countries - Germany, Italy, United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Mike Cummings

This 1995 television adaptation of the Old Testament story of Joseph is surely among the finest productions ever made about the Book of Genesis. Skillfully blending forceful acting, strong character development, beautiful cinematography, and a script that pays meticulous attention to the biblical account, the production re-creates this famous story of enmity, suffering, and triumphal love in a way that is both moving and engrossing. Two previous Oscar-winners deliver outstanding performances -- Martin Landau as Joseph's father, Jacob, and Ben Kingsley as Pharaoh's chief steward, Potiphar -- helping to elevate Paul Mercurio (Joseph) and Vincenzo Nicoli (Joseph's envious brother, Simeon) to their high level of acting. Thanks to careful research, the film has the look, feel, and sound of the Bible era, at least as envisioned by modern scholars, even though it was filmed in south central Morocco on the Sahara side of the Atlas Mountains. But while achieving its sense of realism, the production avoids the glitter and pomp of past biblical epics; it is restrained, tasteful, true to life. Here is one film that biblical scholars, historians, and men and women of faith can all enjoy in their own ways. Director Robert Young deserves high marks for demonstrating that a television production can equal -- indeed, surpass -- the best of the big-screen religious productions.