Ben Hur 1959

Normal service is now resumed – I have been away visiting our daughter and family in Australia so not been able to post an article for a week or two for which I am sorry.

However, on the plane, one of the film choices under ‘classics’ was Ben Hur. On the way out I did notice someone close by watching it – so on the return journey I watched the whole film – 212 minutes long – and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I hadn’t realised- or had forgotten – what a good film this is.

I hadn’t realised again that there were so many British actors in relatively small parts. George Relph, who I remember from the lovely film ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’ was in this his very last film where he had played the Vicar – also in that cast was Hugh Griffith.

Finlay Currie was here too, as was one of my favourite actors -Andre Morell

Robert Brown – Roger Moore’s companion in Ivanhoe – and Duncan Lamont ( married to Patricia Driscoll – Maid Marian in the TV Robin Hood series ) and David Davies who had been in Treasure Island 1950. Also from Treasure Island 1950 was Ralph Truman who played Gorge Merry – and who had the smallest of parts in Ben Hur.  He was married to Ellis Powell ( Mrs Dale on Radio) – I have done a previous article on both of them

John Le Mesurier played a physician – later to attain fame as Sergeant Wilson in Dads Army

I thought to myself that it was strange that the British actors had been taken to Hollywood for this – but then saw that the film was made in or near Rome.

I would love to see this film at the cinema again on the wide Cinemascope screen in all its glory – that would be well worth seeing.


Ben Hur 1959

Ben Hur 1959

Ben Hur 1959 ABOVE Jack Hawkins who shared star billing with Charlton Heston

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Ben Hur 1959 – Charlton Heston might not have been the first choice for this role but he was excellent and was on the screen virtually the whole time.

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Ben Hur 1959 – Above the famous chariot race – with this still signed by Charlton Heston

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Ben Hur 1959 ABOVE – Hugh Griffith had quite a large part in this film

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Ben Hur 1959 Sam Jaffe in a role not dissimilar to when he played in ‘Lost Horizon’ about 20 years before – when he played The High Lama in a role, to me, that identified his whole career

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Ben Hur 1959 –  Haya Harareet  ABOVE was an unknown actress when she got this part – and to be fair was very good in this leading role

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Ben Hur 1959

Ben Hur 1959 9

Ben Hur 1959

Ben Hur 1959 8 A


Ben Hur 1959

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Ben Hur 1959

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Ben Hur 1959

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Ben Hur 1959


Ben Hur 1959

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Ben Hur 1959





posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Ben Hur 1959”

  1. David Rayner says:

    I’m pleased to hear you got to Australia and back safely, Neil. You’ve gone further than me. I’m 73 now and I’ve never left this country or been on an aeroplane. But then, I’ve never had any desire to travel to distant places.

    “Ben-Hur” must have looked very small on one of those screens on the back of the seats in the plane. A film like that was made to be shown on a very large, wide screen with multi channel stereophonic sound. I went to see it in 70mm at the now long gone ABC in Hanley and also ran it as a 35mm CinemaScope print during my years as a cinema projectionist. It looked very impressive on both occasions. At the time it was made, it cost a staggering $15 million dollars, which, taking inflation into account, must be in the hundreds of millions today and it also won a then unprecedented eleven Oscars, including one for Miklos Rozsa’s wonderful score

    • Movieman says:

      Thanks David. You are quite right of course – this film should be shown on the large cinema Cinemascope screen where it was made to be shown. I have since found out that it was exhibited at certain cinemas last year to mark its 60th birthday – wish I had known. It was the number of British actors that surprised me on viewing it again – I had assumed they had all gone to Hollywood but then saw that filming was in Rome. Ralph Truman had such a tiny part – just handing Caesar something in one brief scene – and yet he was a quite prominent stage and screen actor – however he had a much bigger part in El Cid made a few years later. Neil

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