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Syracuse Film Fest: Ben-Hur (1925) w/New Score

24 April 2009

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The Syracuse International Film Festival opens with a screening of the silent feature Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ at the Palace at 7 PM. Directed by Fred Niblo, the film stars Ramon Navarro and Francis X. Bushman. The Syracuse screening features a new score by J. C. Sanford with the Central New York Jazz Orchestra.

The 1925 extravaganza cost approximately $4 million (making it, by some accounts, the most expensive silent ever). Such an undertaking involved, predictably, plenty of revisions to the original plans for the picture.  The production, originally shot in Italy, was moved to California. (Unconfirmed:  the “famous chariot scene was filmed at what is now the intersection of LaCienega and Venice Boulevards in Los Angeles.”) The film features some scenes in two-strip Technicolor. Supposedly, dozens of Hollywood’s future stars were among the film’s extras. (Who can be spotted in which scene? Unknown. But keep your eyes peeled.)

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