“Any man can teach, but David’s are the gifts of God.”
Ocassionally I like to go back into the cinematic archives and pull out an oldie but goodie. Although I have this film in my private collection; it just happened to come up on Amazon Prime. Needless to say, I am a fan of both Richard Gere and Alice Krige because of their phenomenal acting careers. So I watched King David, again, as I have so many times before.
A cinematic retelling of the life of Israel’s King David; Bruce Beresford directed an engaging take on this biblical story as found in 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 Kings. From the start, it plunges the viewer into a different and bloodthirsty world as Denis Quilley‘s Samuel beheads Agag the defeated King of the Amalekites. This uncompromising view of the prophets, continued in Niall Buggy‘s Nathan—which is in stark contrast to a troubled and questioning David, portrayed by Richard Gere.
Edward Woodward‘s depiction of Saul and the gradual disintegration of his spirit and mind is near perfect, pulling in the story of Jacob’s all night struggle with the angel of God from Genesis. The song young David (Ian Sears) sings to Saul; Psalm 23 is beautiful. Saul’s offering himself as God’s sacrifice at Mount Gilboa is a wonderfully emotive scene. The other two spectacular scenes are the duel between David and Goliath, and the announcement of Saul’s death to David. The cameo of the escaping Philistine king is worth replaying in the first, and the second is a marvellous bit of intercutting between David watching the runner and the deaths of Jonathan and Saul. Michal’s (Cherie Lunghi) mocking of David dancing naked in front of the ark captures the biblical condescending remark of Saul’s daughter. The story of David’s rule could’ve been more in depth, though there are the biblical echoes of Absalom (Jean-Marc Barr) in revolt behaving exactly as David did to Saul. The end is rather mawkish, with the conniving of Bathsheba (Alice Krige) to put Solomon (Jason Carter) on the throne. Richard Gere does a surprisingly good job of playing David, but Edward Woodward steals the show as King Saul in all of his manic and disturbed glory.
King David was originally released in 1985, is 113 min, and rated PG-13. Can be seen on Amazon Prime, YouTube and the dvd can also be purchased at many online outlets.
When King David was released, the reviews were not very complimentary. However, as my readers all know, I sometimes disagree with reviewers. And this is one of those times. Therefore, we give KIng David
Many artistic liberties were taken with this film, but overall it is a good retelling of the story of David. The sets and costumes are period appropriate and well done as is the score. Don’t expect any type of DeMille style grandeur to be found here. Overall I would say this is a solid adaptation worth watching. However, would caution parents to note there is some nudity in this film.
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