Film: 6187

Religion | 1910 | Silent | B/W

Synopsis:

Nativity play , Herod , Mary and Joseph in a stable then escaping to Egypt . Massacre of the Innocents . The Christmas story


Against a Black back ground the text appears, ' In the last year of King Herod's reign, news is brought to him of the birth of the messiah, promised King of the Jews,'.

Herod sits on a throne, dressed in elaborate clothing, in front of him three men read from a scroll, they are dressed much more simply than he is.

'And when he had gathered together all the chief priests and scribes of the people together he demanded of them - '

Shot of the old, craggy looking Herod, an advisor behind him, bending over, his lips moving,

'Where should he be born, that they call King,' The scribes consult each other, then a close up of the central scribe who is older with a long grey beard, his lips moving as he turns and looks up to the top left of the screen, then turning as they all bow to Herod. The central scribe then walks forward and passes Herod a manuscript, which Herod takes and looks at.

'In Bethlehem of Judea,' is written against a dark background, a drawing of an empty throne is in the bottom corner, a throne that has some ornaments beside it. Herod looks up from the script, and the central scribe looks towards the camera, turning when Herod begins to address him. Herod passes back the script and points at the scribes who bow and leave the room. Herod can be seen thumping his fist on the chairs side.

The Virgin Mary lies across a bed made up in a stable, she is dressed in white, three men are beside her, one is one his knees and the other two standing they are probably the Shepard’s. A close up of the infant Jesus' feet as they wriggle. A man holding a light looks over at the baby and child and asks the three shepherds who are gathered at the side of the stable to move, one of the shepherds raises his hands in the air as if to give thanks for what has happened. Joseph, the man with the light strokes Mary's face and sits at the end of the bed, Joseph is dressed in stripped robes and has a large dark beard.

Sitting by the side of the bed Joseph quickly wakes up, a white thought cloud appears by his head, and we can know see into Herod's throne room. The room has elaborate patterns hung up and we see Herod moving around the room, clearly worried he turns to his advisor and says, 'What say the populace,' which appears written with same illustration of a throne at the bottom. The advisor moves and says, 'All men in expectation,'. Herod gets irritated and goes for the mans throat strangling him, 'why didst thou not suppress this idle rumour,'. Herod rises a fist to strike the advisor who is pleading with him but then stops, and turns away clutching his head, staggering back and forward as if ill, he composes himself and lifts his arm up regally declaring, 'I am King,'. The advisor moves round him and gently cushions his fall as Herod faints, taking the staggering Herod back to his throne. They talk animatedly; a ghostly demon appears at Herod's back, goading him on in a wicked scheme. The advisor looks unsure of what he has heard.

'Destroy the babe,' appears with an illustration of a dark, menacing figure in the background. The advisor looks genuinely shocked as Herod looks on. The ghost disappears and the King quickly grabs his advisor, as this happens we go back to Joseph and the dream bubble disappears. Joseph looks up and we can see the superimposed words, 'Herod will seek the young,' this is a fragment of the sentence and the other words are unclear.

Against a black screen the sentence appears more visible, 'Arise, take Jesus and his mother into Egypt - Herod will seek the young child's life Matt 2:13,'. The dream bubble disappears and Joseph acknowledges what has happened, getting up and waking Mary up. Herod and his advisor now talk to a soldier, 'Go slay all the children in Bethlehem and all the coasts thereof - of two years old and under,'. The soldier salutes Herod and then goes off to the left of the screen, Herod pointing the way that he should go. Herod then orders his advisor to follow the man to ensure that the task is completed. Herod in close up grins at the camera. Then raises his arm and announces that 'I am King!' quick shot of Herod.

Then the screen says 'The escape from Herod,' Mary and Joseph gather up Jesus, while Herod cries in his throne.

'Then did the streets of Bethlehem reek with the blood of innocent children,’. Mary Joseph and another man sit in a room, on the corner of the room is a bed, clothes are everywhere, the men look through their possessions. A man pops his head through the window and the others stand, the man enters he is a soldier and starts to intimidate the others, stabbing their pillows in the hunt for Jesus. Another soldier comes in and holds aloft a body of an infant. The soldier goes towards the woman, discovering a child hidden in the corner and threatens her; an old man tries to pull him away. The soldier announces, 'Quick! Give me money and jewels, or I will kill it.'. The soldier continues to argue with the people, putting his sword into a rug and emerging with pearls. The old man picks up a bag of coins and offers them to the soldier. Seizing the whole bag the soldier stuffs them into his pocket. Another bigger soldier enters the room and announces, 'Are there no babies here?', the soldier looks around and indicates that he has not found any, to which the other replies, 'then come with me, there is still much work to be done,'. The soldiers leave and Mary and Joseph block the door, with Joseph quickly picking up the child and climbing up a ladder that is on resting by the bed.

A woman runs down a street stunned with grief. Inside a house a woman wakes up a man, 'Jacob! Jacob! Quick wake up! The soldiers, the soldiers!'. Jacob goes towards the window to look out, his mother standing in the corner,'. A young child of around 4-6 comes round a corner carrying a baby and enters into the room where Jacob and his mother are, Jacob quickly runs and locks the door behind them. A soldier tries to force the door, on the other side Jacob holds the door to as it is repeated hit by the soldier. We quickly see a young child that has been hidden in a wicker pot. Finally the soldier forces his way in by sliding a sword through the side of the door and enters the room, the soldier searches the room and when he is about to find the child Jacob accosts him and they wrestle with each other. Quick shot outside with people running around. Jacob strangles the man, laying him dead on the ground. Another soldier outside hears the struggle and comes running in, killing Jacob. At this script comes up, '….and Rachel wept and could not be comforted because her children were no more,'. Rachel lies crying holding her dead child.

Joseph leads a horse down a dusty path. Inside a dark room with stone walls two soldiers find an old man. They ask, 'Where is the child that lay in yonder manger?'. Against this script is a picture of the manger with light shining on it through a window. The soldier then grabs the man who is now begging and shaking his head and hands as if to say that he does not know where the child is, the soldier strikes him forcibly to the ground. Again we see Joseph leading his animal down the path. This is interspersed with Herod’s advisor explaining how all the children were killed, raising and lowering his arm in a stabbing motion. Herod talks to his advisor as they move towards the camera, the advisor appears to be limping, he says to Herod, 'Your soldiers have worked well, Oh! Herod. There is not a new born babe left in all of Bethlehem,’ . Herod looks happy pointing to the air he announces, 'I am King! I am King!,'. Herod clutches at his advisor and they walk off. However, ' But Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus were now safe in Egypt,'. There is a shot of Mary and Joseph standing in a field.


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