Stories from the Bible, stories of Faith, Family and Inspiration that spread the Gospel to the world through the mediums of film and television from the silent era through the 1960s. These lost films fill a forgotten niche in Christian history. All films available on DVD or Mpeg2.
Constantine and the Cross (1961, color) 120m. Cornel Wilde. Somewhat fictionalized dramatic account of Late Roman Emperor Constantine, his rise to power, and his establishment of religious tolerance among Roman subjects.
David and Goliath (1960, color) 92m. Orson Welles stars as King Saul. The story is adapted from the Old Testament: The Philistines declare war on the Israelites and wrench the Arch of the Allience from them. Saul, the king of Israel, listens meanwhile to the words of the prophets who tell him that the new king will be a young shepard called David. But still David has to fight the enemy in form of their mighty giant Goliath.
Esther and the King (1960, color, Italy) 110m. Joan Collins stars in the biblical story about Esther, an orphan raised by a relative named Mordecai, as she is chosen from all the maidens in the land to become queen. She must risk her life to save her people from a treacherous plan of the charmingly wicked prince Haman.
Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964, Italy) 137m. Director Pier Paolo Pasolini's celebrated life of Christ story stars Enrique Irazoqui as Jesus. Filmed in the actual locations. Available subtitled or dubbed in English.
Martin Luther (1953) 106m. The first motion picture portrayal of the incendiary beginnings of the Protestant Reformation. This excellent film brings to life Luther's growing realization that the religion, to which he had dedicated his life, was flawed. His character is shown to mature in believable stages, culminating in acts of ferocious courage.
The Old Testament (1962, Italy/France, color) 89m. The Jews of Jerusalem are driven out by their Syrian rulers. They gather their forces, and return to drive out their oppressors.
Saul and David (1964, Spain/Italy, color) 113m. The story of the relationship between David the slayer of Goliath and Saul the King of the Israelites.
Church Films Films by Family Films, Cathedral Films and similar religious groups to spread the Gospel. These were shown primarily in churches or on Sunday morning TV. Many were intentionally released into the public domain to find the widest possible audience.
All That I Have (1949, Family Films) 55m. Dr. Charles Greyson is a famous and wealthy former surgeon. His nephews take him to court to challenge his competency, due to his recent inexplicable gifts of large amounts of cash to the church. Message being that all that we are we owe to God, and the profits gained from our God-given abilities require care and thought before sharing.
The Living Christ Series (1951, color) 300m. Cathedral Films. Each of the twelve programs faithfully illustrate aspects of the teachings and the ministry of Jesus Christ, in chronological order, from the Nativity in Bethlehem, to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Last Supper. The Living Christ gives historical context with maps and graphics, and the believable dialogue makes these Bible stories come alive. Robert Wilson gives a strong, sensitive performance as Jesus Christ.
Old Testament Scriptures (1955, color) 212m. Concordia/Family Films series relates 14 stories from the Old Testament about Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Ruth, Samuel, David, Solomon and Elijah.
Pilgrimage Play (1949,color) 92m. A Roland Reed Production tells the story of the life of Jesus Christ, starring Nelson Leigh as Jesus.
Reaching From Heaven (1948) 80m. Drama with strong spiritual overtones that concerns itself with the eternal question, "Can the God whose hand formed the sun and the moon and the stars be concerned about the lives of little men?" In a small American town we meet one such "little man," a European immigrant long-separated from his wife by the war.
Power of the Resurrection (1958) Color, 59m. A young man, facing torture and possibly death for his Christian beliefs, confesses his fears to Peter, who awaits a similar fate. Peter tells him of fear he felt in following Jesus' arrest in the Garden of Gethesamene, when he denied knowing him three times - and yet Jesus told him that he would be the rock upon which the Church was built. Peter goes on to relate the events of the passion week, including the Christ's crucifixion, resurrection and ascension.
The Gospel on Television
Mainstream TV shows with religious themes that were shown around Christmas or Easter.
Hill Number One (1951) 57m. Family Theater Production. A respectful interpretation of what might have happened among Jesus's followers in the three days before Crucifixion. The story is told in the modern context of an US Army company stationed in Korea during the Korean War.
The Nativity (1952) 59m. Hurd Hatfield, Robert Shaw, Paul Tripp in dramatization of the birth of Jesus was produced for television by Studio One.
Picture of the Magi 25m. In 1956 Communist-dominated Hungary young Aranka (Judy Morris) stumbles across the hideout of three ruthless blackmarket smugglers. When the girl discovers one of the men is named Melchoir (Walter Coy) she believes they are actually the Three Wise Men.
Pontius Pilate (1952) 59m. Episode of Westinghouse Studio One TV series. Cast: Geraldine Fitzgerald, Cyril Ritchard, Francis Sullivan. The tale of Pontius Pilate, the Roman administrator of Judea and the man charged with trying and sentencing Jesus to death, in spite of his reservations.
A Star Shall Rise (1952) 29m. Raymond Burr stars in the story of the birth of Jesus and the visit of the three wise men.
(1955-'57) Half-hour TV anthology series dramatizes the lives of clergymen of all faiths and the problems they face in both their professional and personal lives.
Clean-Up (1955) 26m. A pastor (Vincent Price) exhorts his parishioners to take back their city from the gangsters and corrupt politicians who have taken it over.
Dig or Die, Brother Hyde (1956) 26m. A new preacher on the harsh Dakota frontier is severly tested. With Hugh Marlow.
The Judge (1956) 26m. Brian Donlevy does double duty in a lawless town as a preacher and a judge.
Mother O'Brien (1956) 26m. A police detective is torn between family and duty when his younger brother is involved in a petty crime.
The Good Thief (1955) 26m. US Army chaplain (James Whitmore) is tortured by Red Chinese captors for ministering to his fellow prisoners of war.
A Bell for O'Donnell (1955) 26m. A reverend learns a lesson in forgiveness when is is swindled by a fast-talking con man (Edmond Lowe).
God's Healing (1956) 26m. Vincent Price plays a priest who heals an old woman's embittered heart.
Call for Help (1957) 26m. Richard Carlson plays a priest who works with troubled youths, when a gang fight leads to a fatal shooting.
Ringside Padre (1956) 26m. Michael Landon, Stephen McNally. Msgr. Harold Engle, director of the Catholic Youth Organization in New York City, is outraged at the disfigurements of teenage boxers. He crusades to make it illegal for a fighter to turn professional until he reaches 18.
God in the Streets(1956) 26m. Reed Hadley in story of the Salvation Army helping a man on the edge.
Miracle of Faith (1957) 26m. Conrad Nagel An Episcopal minister tries to help a woman whose illness has made her a dominating shrew.
Unholy Trio(1955) 26m. A mother who believes her son innocent of a crime goes to her rabbi for help. The boy is due to be executed for murder.
Paratroop Padre (1957) 25m. Donald Woods. Part 1, in the true story of Father Francis L. Sampson, Chaplain 501st Airborne, Most decorated chaplain in the United States Army.
Lifeline (1956) 25m. Regis Toomey, Barbara Hale. An unscrupulous gambling czar tries to make criminals out of two pretty sisters.
Last Strand (1957) 25m. Conrad Nagel It takes a hospital chaplain to find put why a pretty young girl wanted to commit suicide and refuses to help the medics save her life.
9:30 Action (1957) 25m. Richard Arlen. The Reverend Dr. Robert J. Cox, president of Los Angeles' Pacific College, is sought out for help by a young alumna.