The portrayal of Jesus on film received its most extravagant expression of the silent era from Cecil B. DeMille with the Kings of Kings in 1927. It became the most widely viewed Jesus film in the world over the next half century. The continued popularity of The Kings of Kings stemmed in large measure from its reverence for the Jesus story, both off and on the screen. During the production of the film, DeMille sought the opinion of religious advisors and encouraged worship on the set. Not only was reverence shown for the Jesus story during the production process, but the completed film itself obviously caters to religious piety. The film reflects sensitivity to the kind of common piety characteristic of the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. The critics and the public responded favorably to the film. In the U.S. it was DeMille's The King of Kings that remained without a serious harmonizing rival for more than thirty years.

This excerpt was taken from Jesus at the Movies: A Guide to the First Hundered Years by W. Barnes Tatum; 1997; Polebridge Press.

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