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Monday, February 6, 2017

David And Bathsheba (1951)

The King of Israel (Gregory Peck) lusts after the wife (Susan Hayward) of one of his soldiers (Kieron Moore). They begin an adulterous affair but God will have none of it so he sends a drought upon Israel. Directed by Henry King (SONG OF BERNADETTE), this is a rather ponderous affair. It plays it straight and seriously when what it really needs is some good old fashioned DeMille vulgarity! The closest it ever comes to that is Gwen Verdon in dark Egyptian make up doing a bump and grind in front of the King. Peck and Hayward are the real deal when it comes to star wattage but star power can do only so much and they're not able to kick some life into this sanctimonious tale. By the time the movie reaches its conclusion and psalm 23 ("the Lord is my shepherd") is set to Alfred Newman's music as Peck and Hayward walk nobly to the rain, you just might be ready to toss your cookies! Unlike its biblical counterpart, the screenwriters make Bathsheba a deliberate temptress luring David rather than the victim of his lust. But audiences ate this stuff up and the film was a big hit. With Raymond Massey, Jayne Meadows, James Robertson Justice, John Sutton and George Zucco. 

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