9 April 2004 | Snow Leopard
Interesting & Worthwhile, In Several Respects
With a good cast, an interesting story, and settings that are generally convincing, "Judith of Bethulia" is a worthwhile and enjoyable dramatization of the semi-historical story of Judith (from the Old Testament Apocrypha). It fits together pretty well, and tells the story with a good amount of action and some depth as well. It is also of historical interest, as an example of what movies were like in the era when full-length pictures were just about to become common.
Blanche Sweet stars as the heroine Judith, a popular and prominent resident of the town of Bethulia, near ancient Jerusalem. When the town is attacked and besieged by the Assyrians, Judith becomes her town's best hope, so she must be courageous and must also work through some dilemmas. Sweet does a very good job of letting us see what her character is thinking and feeling. The rest of the cast includes several names well-known to fans of silent films (some in smaller roles), and they help out as well.
Although this was one of the earliest feature-length films, most of the story-telling techniques work all right, and it shows only a few real signs of age (mostly in the more lavish or large-scale sets and scenes). While it's probably too 'old-fashioned' to appeal to most of today's movie-goers, it's a good movie that is worthwhile both for its content and its historical interest.