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The King of Kings

(silent 1927 b 112')

En: 6 Ed: 7

Based on the Gospels, Mary Magdalene is cleansed by Jesus, who heals, preaches, raises Lazarus, is arrested, tried, crucified, and resurrected.

During the Roman occupation of Judea the courtesan Mary Magdalene (Jacqueline Logan) is told that Judas is following Jesus. Young Mark (Micky Moore) says he was cured for free. He takes a blind child to Jesus (H. B. Warner), and the child is gradually able to see him.

Judas Iscariot (Joseph Schildkraut) wants Jesus to heal the rich and become king. Mary finds Judas and meets Jesus, who helps her become free of lust, greed, pride, gluttony, indolence, envy, and anger.

The high priest Caiaphas (Rudolph Schildkraut) hears reports that Jesus healed on the Sabbath and called God his father. Caiaphas orders an adulteress to be taken to Jesus, who says those without sin may stone her. He writes their sins on the ground, and they go away. Jesus loves being with children. He goes to the tomb of Lazarus and calls him to life.

In the temple Jesus sees selling, overturns tables, and frees animals. Jews ask Jesus by what authority he acts. He says his own temple will be destroyed and raised up in three days. When people try to crown him king, he goes away. Jesus is tempted with worldly glory and power, but he serves only God. Caiaphas sees Judas with the crown and warns him. Jesus says his kingdom is not in this world.

Judas accepts thirty coins for betraying where Jesus is. Jesus eats the Passover feast with his disciples, saying the bread is his body and the wine is his blood in a new covenant. Jesus tells them to love one another as he loved them. He says one of them will betray him, and he tells Judas to do it quickly. Judas leaves. Jesus embraces his mother.

Jesus goes to Gethsemane and prays while his disciples sleep. Judas brings soldiers and as a signal he kisses Jesus. The disciples fight them, but Jesus says to put up their swords because those who take the sword will die by it. He heals an ear and is arrested, but the others are let go.

Jesus goes before Caiaphas and then Pontius Pilate (Victor Varconi). Caiaphas says that Jesus forbade paying tribute to Caesar. Pilate asks Jesus if he is a king. Jesus accepts his implication and testifies to the truth. Pilate wants to let him go. Roman soldiers whip Jesus and put a purple robe and thorn crown on him.

Pilate announces that one prisoner may be released, and people call for Barabbas. Caiaphas and others say that Jesus should be crucified. Mary Magdalene pleads for Jesus and mercy. Pilate washes his hands and lets Jesus be taken. Judas tries to give the money back to Caiaphas.

Jesus drags the cross in the street. He stops to rest, and Simon carries his cross. Jesus and two thieves are crucified. Jesus forgives them, and after three dark hours he dies. Judas has hanged himself. During a thunderstorm there is an earthquake.

On the third day Jesus comes out of the tomb. Mary Magdalene finds the tomb empty, and Jesus speaks to her. In a room Jesus appears to his disciples, and Thomas (Sidney D'Albrook) touches him. Jesus tells Peter (Ernest Torrence) to feed his sheep and the disciples to preach the gospel. Finally Jesus ascends.

This reverential drama reflects Christian faith by portraying the mission of Jesus to heal and preach the way of love in an occupied country, transcending ambition for political power by accepting the most humiliating punishment.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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