From the Manger to the Cross

From the Manger to the Cross ★★★½

I don't often watch movies on my phone, but while waiting for an oil change I figured I'd knock another relatively short silent film out while I had some time. Even though this is actually streaming on Amazon Prime in a version without a score, I decided to watch the version that is on YouTube that does have the 1995 Timothy Howard score attached to it (it is the version on YouTube that has the most views as best as I could tell). It is the first feature film I have watched from 1912, making it both the second oldest movie I have watched ever as well as specifically this week. I don't have any others in my Watchlist from this year, though, so I'm not sure I'll find much else to join it in terms of full-length films I have seen from the year.

As you can probably gather from the title, it is a pretty straightforward tale of the life of Christ, literally chronicling every phase from his birth to his death. It is a short 70 minutes, and that obviously counts the intertitles that set up each individual set piece. The title cards are all direct scripture verses, so there is nothing by way of a screenplay that will come as a surprise. The acting is all typical for the time period, and really not much stands out from a visual standpoint either. It is safe and standard from a filmmaking standpoint even for the time period, and any emotional power it has stems mostly from the source material (so your mileage will vary as you might expect). Still, it's fascinating to see such an early work of film history, especially considering they shot it all on location.