Golgotha, Premiered on April 12, 1935 in Paris France.

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Golgotha (AKA: Behold the Man or Ecce Homo) was the first sound film of the life of Christ, it was directed and written by Julien Duvivier, with the cinematography by Jules Kruger, the costumes were designed by Jacques-Philippe Heuzé, the makeup artist was Acho Chakatouny; Golgotha was edited by Marthe Poncin, with the production design handled by Jean Perrier and the music was composed by Jacques Ibert (the Golgotha Suite is masterful[i]), with the score being played by the Paris Symphony Orchestra.[ii] The film starred Robert Le Vigan as Christ, Harry Baur as Herod, Jean Gabin appeared as Pilate, Charles Granval as Caiaphas the High Priest, Lucas Gridoux portrayed Judas, and Hubert Prélier as Peter.

Golgotha received rave reviews, and it was considered one of the Top Foreign Films of 1937 by the National Board of Review, and soon Golgotha became a favorite of Churches and civic groups in North America as an evangelistic tool, church after church, group after group, city after city, state after state[iii] (in 1938 and 1939 the film became a part of the Lent and Easter season); all offering admission to the film for free (in a few cases a small entrance fee), to be shown at the host Church or venue. But, if Lent and Easter were the only dates of popularity then Golgotha would have fizzled early, instead the film traveled on a grand tour, coast to coast, north to south and east to west, in every month over the course of the next seven years, April of 1937 through 1944, finally, becoming sporadic in showings in 1945-1946, and then becoming that Lent and Easter repeat seen throughout the remainder 1940’s and beyond. Golgotha played at Bible classes, Grammar schools, varied organizations, PTA’s and high school auditoriums (even a college football stadium) hosted this French import. Anywhere and everywhere, Golgotha played it played well, drawing large crowds, with nary a negative response. (Please see our collection of Golgotha ads and announcements, at the end of this article)

A unique note is that while many believe that the first film to show Jesus being hung on the cross with the nails going through the wrist (instead of the hands) was in the 1979 production of Jesus by The Genesis Project – The Jesus Film Project, yet, Golgotha is the first film to utilize the modern-Biblical-understanding of the crucifixion, 44 years earlier than any other film. Golgotha is available on DVD both in the English dubbed version and the original French version with subtitles.

 

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Golgotha Church announcement The_Lincoln_Star_Tue__Apr_5__1938_ Golgotha church announcement The_Winnipeg_Tribune_Mon__Mar_11__1940_ Golgotha Church showing The_Circleville_Herald_Mon__Jan_24__1938_ Golgotha community annoucement The_Piqua_Daily_Call_Wed__Sep_10__1941_ GolgothaThe Film Daily Wednesday, February 10, 1937Golgoth Church announcement The Kingston Daily Freeman October 9 1937Golgotha review The Times Recorder, Zanesville, Ohio February 14 1937 (2) Golgotha ad  Alton Evening Telegraph November 15, 1937 (2) Golgotha ad The Brooklyn Daily Eagle February 7 1937  (2) Golgotha ad The Brooklyn Daily Eagle February 12 1937  (2) Golgotha Cinema Quarterly, Autumn, 1933 Golgotha Motion Picture Daily (Jan 7 1937).htm_20140412054239 (2) Golgotha Movie Makers January 1939 (2) Golgotha community announcement Corsicana_Semi_Weekly_Light_Fri__Dec_19__1941_ Golgotha community announcement Denton_Record_Chronicle_Wed__Mar_13__1940_ Golgotha community announcement Panama_City_News_Herald_Fri__Feb_28__1941_ Golgotha community announcement The_Delta_Democrat_Times_Mon__Apr_28__1941_ Golgotha community announcement The_Gettysburg_Times_Mon__Jul_29__1940_ Golgotha community announcement The_Muscatine_Journal_and_News_Tribune_Wed__Jan_18__1939_ Golgotha community announcement The_San_Saba_News_and_Star_Thu__Feb_15__1940_ Golgotha community announcement The_Winnipeg_Tribune_Mon__Mar_30__1942_ Golgotha review Abilene_Reporter_News_Sun__Jun_19__1938_ Golgotha review The_Post_Crescent_Sat__Mar_19__1938_ Golgotha ad Abilene_Reporter_News_Wed__Jun_22__1938_ Golgotha ad Oshkosh_Daily_Northwestern_Tue__Mar_15__1938_ Golgotha ad The_Ottawa_Journal_Tue__Feb_17__1942_ Golgotha announcement Abilene_Reporter_News_Sun__Jun_19__1938_ Golgotha announcement Sioux_Center_News_Thu__Jan_12__1939_ Golgotha announcement The_Post_Crescent_Sat__Mar_19__1938_ Golgotha church announcement  The_San_Bernardino_County_Sun_Tue__Feb_19__1946_ Golgotha Church Announcement Altoona_Tribune_Tue__Apr_5__1938_ Golgotha church announcement Fitchburg_Sentinel_Fri__Mar_15__1940_ Golgotha Church announcement Harrisburg_Telegraph_Sat__Apr_2__1938_ Golgotha church announcement Hope_Star_Thu__Jul_3__1941_ Golgotha church announcement Oshkosh_Daily_Northwestern_Sat__Mar_11__1939_ Golgotha church announcement The_Coshocton_Tribune_Wed__Aug_9__1939_ Golgotha Church announcement The_Circleville_Herald_Sat__Jan_15__1938_Golgotha church announcement Suburbanite_Economist_Sun__Apr_4__1943_Golgotha Church announcement The_Daily_Herald_Fri__Feb_24__1939_ Golgotha church announcement The_Daily_Independent_Fri__Apr_28__1939_ Golgotha Church announcement The_Daily_Messenger_Thu__Apr_7__1938_ Golgotha church announcement The_Evening_Review_Sat__Sep_9__1939_

 

 

 

By C. S. Williams

 [i] An excerpt from La crucifixion by Jacques Tchamkerten from his Album: Jacques Ibert: MacBeth / Golgotha / Don Quichotte, August 22, 1990

[ii] The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 9, 1937

[iii] Many of the church announcements began to change the focus of the film by adding the words “Passion Play,” or that Biblical instruction was the purpose for the making of Golgotha.

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