Mr Gower, Don’t You Recognize Me?

Sorry I didn’t get around to talking about King of Kings yesterday. We had Visitors from the East.
In comparison, this movie is a bit slower than Mel’s Movie, but silent films, especially dramas, usually do move more slowly. And of course, there was very little blood ‘n’ guts in the DeMille version.
The core story of the Passion is intact in the silent version, although all the pain is kept at a distance. The movie actually starts earlier in Jesus’ life than The Passion does, so you get to see Jesus performing miracles and the people adoring Him. You don’t really get that in Mel’s version. Despite its slower pace, King covers a lot more ground.
There’s no androgynous Satan-creature (Satan is played by a sinister-looking dude), and the Disciples are pretty much the same in both movies.
DeMille’s Jesus is a little older (and blonder– or lighter-haired I guess) than Mel’s. He seems a little “above-human,” playing the gentle and patient part to an almost extreme, moving slowly, giving long looks… (Cool trivia: Jesus is played by H.B. Warner, whom you all know and love as rummie druggist Mr Gower in It’s A Wonderful Life.)
Most notable, though, was the fact that DeMille rewrote part of Christ’s life (now there’s guts for you). According to C.B., it seems Mary Magdalene was some hottie Cleopatra-like concubine who got upset when one of her “regulars,” Judas, started hanging out with “a carpenter” instead of her. She blows into town on a chariot pulled by zebras, wearing a Janet Jackson-esque outfit, ready to reclaim her favorite customer. When she meets the Big Guy, she immediately has a revelation, covers up, and becomes a follower. Maybe C.B. thought this little twist would sell more tickets.
One really cool (and effective) thing about this movie was the fact that in the Resurrection scene, the film switches to two-strip Technicolor, which is a pretty neat effect, and one you don’t see a lot in silent movies. Jesus visits the Disciples, which is another thing you don’t get from Mel, so there’s a little more context for the Crucifixion.
Anyway, I haven’t changed my opinion of The Passion (mini-review: it was okay but not great) and I’m still thinking the original album of Jesus Christ Superstar had it right all along.