14 July 2003 | dinky-4
Bad history but good crucifixion
As a documentary, this is laughable in a campy sort of way -- a schlocky collection of re-created Biblical tableaux mixed in with solemn interviews of so-called "experts." Think of it as an infommercial which pushes Jesus instead of thigh-masters.
However, the detailed crucifixion scene is, in terms of historical accuracy, superior to similar scenes in such widescreen Hollywood extravaganzas as "Ben-Hur," "King of Kings," and "The Greatest Story Ever Told." Rather than dragging his entire cross to Golgotha, for example, John Rubinstein simply carries his crossbeam strapped across his shoulders to his outstretched arms. Nails aren't driven through his palms but instead through his wrists. His feet aren't nailed separately but one is placed over the other so that just one nail need be used. Incidentally, Rubinstein's flogging prior to his crucifixion ranks 35th in the book, "Lash! The Hundred Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies."
Of course, Rubinstein and the two thieves wear modest loincloths, which probably isn't true to the shameful reality of Roman crucifixions, but allowances must be made. Curiously, the "good" thief is positioned on the left hand of Jesus, which goes against a long-standing tradition. Just why this thief is played by a pudgy, overweight man is, however, a mystery, especially in view of the fact that the "bad" thief is something of a "hunk."