24 January 2016

Movie Review: "The Story of Jacob and Joseph"

Rated: PG (for unspecified reasons)
Starring: Keith Michell, Tony Lo Blanco, and Colleen Dewhurst
Released: 1974
Synopsis: It's two timeless stories in one! First off: Jacob is jealous of his twin brother Esau; since Esau came out first, that makes him entitled to more.  Jacob cons his brother out of his birthright, even tricking their elderly, blind father.  Soon, Jacob gets a taste of his own medicine.  Will the two brothers ever reconcile their differences? Also: Joseph is despised by his twelve brothers, and is sold into slavery, only for a false accusation to land him in prison.  Just when things are looking bleak, Joseph lands the opportunity of a lifetime: the highest place in the court of the Pharaoh of Egypt.  When a famine hits the land, Joseph's brothers make the trek to Egypt to get food, not knowing that the man distributing it is their brother, whom they sent away! Joseph, however, recognizes his many siblings, and gives them an opportunity to prove if they've had a change of heart since their unthinkable act.  Will they do the right thing?
Based on parts of the Biblical book of Genesis.

The Good: Unlike some movies based on the Bible, this one stays true to the original text.  While some scenes and dialogue are added, the events are just what happened in Genesis.  The performances are great, and the scenery took me back to Bible times.  Some Bible-based movies are dry and boring, but this one kept me interested until the end.  All in all, pretty good stuff, except...

The Bad: Some of the scenes--particularly Jacob's dream about the ladder to heaven, which is merely implied--could have been a bit more dramatic.  Also, the ending of the Joseph part of the story felt a bit rushed.  Those are minor complaints, though.

Content Concerns: Given the source material, I won't do my usual listing, but I will say that this movie sticks to the Biblical text...including the parts that involve sex.  While nothing graphic is shown, I would think that, even by today's standards, this film would be "PG-13"; back when this flick was made, that rating didn't exist.  Also, the story of Joseph features shirtless guys throughout.

Conclusion: This is one of the few older movies I've seen that was based on the Bible; most of the celluloid adaptations of God's Word I've watched are from the '90's or later.  Some of them have been really good, whereas the last one I watched (The Greatest Story Ever Told) left a lot to be desired.  Well, I'm glad to say that this one is among the better ones I've watched.  Fans of classic cinema and the Bible should check this one out.

Score: 4/5

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