Björn Ægir Norðfjörð: Filming Divinity. Cecil B. DeMille, the Epic and the King of Kings
The essay debates the pros and cons of defining a film like Cecil B. DeMille’s The King of Kings as a Jesus-story film, given the somewhat common practice of grouping together films that involve the life and work of Jesus. Such a grouping, however, does not adhere to the criteria laid out in the two most common classifications of genre within film studies: theoretical and industrial. Following the former, Jesus-story films would fall within such diverse genres as the epic (e.g. The Kings of Kings) and the musical (e.g. Jesus Christ Superstar), while the latter emphasizes the industry’s own criteria and rationale for producing films. In what follows The King of Kings is analyzed in terms of its historical, industrial and social background that highlight aspects of it that risk being neglected in a purely theological interpretation. Ultimately, it is argued that The King of Kings is no less a celebration of cinema than the messiah.
Keywords: The King of Kings, Cecil B. DeMille, Jesus-story films, the epic, genre