An early example of feature-length filmmaking, this epic (by 1905 standards) is unusually entertaining despite the stiff acting and tableaux posing.
A surviving print exhibits an excellent example of the turn-of-the-century stencil-based hand-tinted Pathécolor process, which added a pastel coloring to release prints.
2003 DVD edition
The Life and Passion of Jesus Christ (1905), color-tinted and color-toned black & white, 44 minutes, not rated,
with From the Manger to the Cross (1912), color-toned black & white, 70 minutes, not rated.
Film Preservation Associates, distributed by Image Entertainment,
ID1917DSDVD, UPC 0-14381-19172-1.
One single-sided, single-layered, Region 0NTSC DVD disc (reissued on DVD-R disc), 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in full-frame 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 7 chapter stops; standard DVD keepcase, $24.99.
Release date: 8 April 2003.
Country of origin: USA
This DVD edition features a full-frame video transfer mastered from a very-good Pathécolor (hand-tinted) English language 35mm print, entitled Passion and Death of Christ, as preserved by Haghefilm Holland, and distributed on home video by Lobster Films, Paris.
While the video transfer appears to be very-good, holding a broad range of colortones and image detail, the encoding of the video information to the DVD appears to be a bit higher than desireable, as unnecessary edge-sharpening and video compression artifacts will be visible to the sharp-eyed viewer. Playing the disc on high-definition equipment with signal upscaling helps to smooth out some of the artifacts, but the video information probably didn't need to be as compressed as it is.
The film is accompanied by a pipe organ music score performed by Timothy Howard that is appropriately liturgical. Sing, Hosanna!
The edition has been reissued on DVD-R disc.
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0NTSC DVD-R edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0NTSC DVD-R edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.