Ben Hur

I’ve added Ben Hur to the list of the AFI Top 100 films that I’ve seen.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Sometimes I’ve wound up enjoying “The Classics”. Harvey, Casablanca and Forbidden Planet are fantastic movies, worth seeing more than once. On the other hand, A Streetcar Named Desire was horrible — I turned it off halfway through. All I knew about Ben Hur was that it somehow involved a chariot race.
It definitely belongs in the list of “Classics I’ve enjoyed.” It tells the story of a man growing up in the time of Christ and in fact “bumping shoulders” with him on several occasions, including right at the time of the crucification.
Sadly, I don’t think Hollywood can make movies like that anymore. They’d want to trim the cast down to just a few main characters and make the whole thing fit into less than two hours — instead of the crucification, it would probably end with the death of Messala. You’d never find out anything about Judah’s mother and sister, much less their miraculous healing.
So I’m pleasantly surprised. Where I’d been dreading something boring, I would up being quite entertained. Maybe even uplifted.
You don’t get that with many films today.