Monday, February 09, 2015

The Nativity (1978)

While teaching Jesus in Film, I realize that there are still several Jesus films that I have not seen.  One of these is a 1978 TV movie from the USA simply called The Nativity.  It is mentioned a couple of times (of course!) on Matt Page's Bible Films blog (here and here) and it has its own IMDb page, but otherwise there is not a lot of coverage of the film online or in the literature.

It has never been released on DVD (ignore the link on the IMDb page -- it's to something else) but it is still possible to get hold of it second hand on VHS -- and I've just ordered a copy.  I'll report back once I've received it and watched it.

There are several features of interest.  One is that it features John Rhys-Davies who is playing Annas in the forthcoming Killing Jesus.  Another is that Leo McKern plays Herod the Great.  I loved McKern as "Number 2" in three episodes of The Prisoner in 1967, though he became more famous for playing Rumpole of the Bailey.  Another great British character actor, Freddie Jones, is also in the cast.

There is a trailer online, one that advertises the video at a whopping $59.99, and this several decades ago!

There is also this great seven second preview from ABC in 1978:


Peter T Chattaway said...

I think I have a VHS copy of this somewhere, but I haven't watched it in a while. The more interesting late-1970s Mary-and-Joseph, to me, was Mary and Joseph: A Story of Faith, which, if memory serves, incorporates elements of the Galilean rebellion against the Romans during the time of the census, as well as an allusion to the story of Hagar (which may or may not have been inspired by a similar allusion in the Koran).

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks, Peter. I haven't seen that either but I've added that to my list too. Looks like it's nice and easy to get hold of on VHS too.

Matt Page said...

I've not seen this one either. And VHS is so heavy to fly into the UK it's prohibitively expensive!

Unknown said...

I wonder if anyone else feels the same as I do about most religious movies (by that I mean "biblically based" ones). Apart from Jesus Christ Superstar or Ben Hur, they all seem to run the gamut from one-dimensional characters to an undue reliance on special effects ...just askin.