Of course, at Easter many of the old classic Biblical movies hit the airways. For years ABC aired The Ten Commandments on Easter Sunday. I noticed it being on another network yesterday. I'm sure if I looked I could have found The Robe playing somewhere. The movie I most wanted to watched aired today on Turner Movie Classics.
The move: Ben Hur.
When they say "they don't make movies like that anymore," they're talking about movies like Ben Hur. It's over 3 and 1/2 hours long. There's even an intermission. There are moments in the film that are painfully slow, by today's standards. They used thousands of extras and film sets they can't afford to construct nowadays. It was the Jurassic World of its day.
There's many reasons why I love Ben Hur. I love the way it begins with Christ's birth. I love the story of Judah's conversion, his inner struggle of revenge, and then redemption. But there's one scene I like most of all. It occurs after the sea battle, after the chariot race, after Judah finds his sister and mother living in the leper colony. Judah, Esther, and Balthaser come upon a gathering on a mountain where Jesus is about to address the gathering people. Esther and Balhaser stay to listen. Judah does not. We see Judah, a lone figure standing by himself, the masses sit to listen. The scene I love is when Judah decides to leave. If you watch Jesus, he follows Judah, tracks him as he walks. To me, it shows that even though all the people are there to listen, Jesus is mindful of the one.
I didn't notice this the first time I saw the saw the scene, but when I did notice it, it changed the entire meeting of the movie for me. I could see myself in Judah--not as a chariot racer or galley slave, but as a failed man fighting the inner demons, at times rejecting the words delivered by the Son of God. And even through all that, He's still mindful of me.
If you can get past the length, the slowness, the intermission, the message is as powerful as any movie ever made. And I hope it airs on Easter every year until the end of time.