April 13 is Palm Sunday, which starts an important week of religious observance that encompasses Passover and Easter. This time of year also fired up some filmmakers to tell stories on that theme. Here are 3:
Charlton Heston portrays the title character, a Jewish prince betrayed and sold into slavery, who returns to his loved ones and embraces forgiveness at the foot of the Cross. In between: 2,500 horses and 200 camels rode through, 100 costume-makers clothed the cast of thousands, and that fantastic 9-minute chariot race.
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What happened to the soldier who won Jesus’ robe in a dice game? In this 1953 film, the great Richard Burton is that guy — Marcellus, a swaggering ladies’ man who gets on the wrong side of Caligula, who sends Marcellus to Jerusalem. He arrives on Palm Sunday, which needless to say, changes his life.
Not much in the way of original plot here — a Broadway dancer (Fred Astaire) needs a new partner to show up his former gal (Ann Miller) who left him in the lurch. He stumbles on Judy Garland. The Oscar-winning Irving Berlin score is the star here: the title song, plus “It Only Happens When I Dance With You,” “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” and “Better Luck Next Time.”
Melissa Davis, assistant features editor