Putting Jesus in Every Mailbox
By SHAILA DEWAN
Warren Smith, the publisher of an evangelical Christian newspaper in Charlotte, N.C., compares the movie "Jesus" to the jawbone of an ass.Not so sure that having a British voiceover can be held against it. I'd never even noticed. Is it British? Isn't it Richard Kiley and isn't he American? There are some nice stories in the article, including this:
That is, it does not matter if the movie, a 1979 box office flop, has a gooey soundtrack and a British voiceover, or if the actor who plays Jesus breathes noticeably as he lies in the tomb. If a weapon as unlikely as a jawbone can slay an army, as the biblical story goes, then "Jesus," direct-mailed on DVD to every household in Mecklenburg County, N.C., can offer salvation.
A turning point came when a doctor in Birmingham, Ala., Robert Cosby, bought 1.7 million copies and mailed them in 1998 to every household in Alabama, although he "wasn't very impressed" when he saw the film.Peter Chattaway has a link to Martin E. Marty's comments and to several other useful bits and bobs, with additional comments. Something new to me:
"I mean, it was a nice film," Mr. Cosby recalled the other day, speaking by telephone from his home. "I would say it was moderately good."
The mailing included Mr. Cosby's home address and telephone number. One day, he said, he found a copy of the video in his front yard with a note that said, "Jesus has returned."
Hopping on to yet another tangent, I saw this film on the big screen when it was brand new, and I bought a copy of Lee Roddy's novelization that still occupies a prominent place on my Jesus-movies bookshelf. That's right, a film whose big selling point was that it was for the most part a word-for-word adaptation of the Gospel of Luke was novelized.And if you don't own a copy yet, you can pick one up on Amazon for $0.01! An offer not to be missed, surely.
Peter also refers to an article in Christian Century by John Dart on The Making of Jesus -- the Motion Picture and I have added that to my page on the Jesus film.