Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tales from the Archives: The Movie Church May 1928

This week's installment of my Tales from the Archives series about the "Movie Church" (Church of the Holy Infancy in Bethlehem, PA) is a bit different. Instead of having a schedule for upcoming films to be shown at the church auditorium, the May 1928 issue featured an advertisement for a motion picture called "The Crown of Thorns." The film, about the Passion, was to be shown that June at the Orpheum Theatre. A Google search revealed that there was a theater by that name in nearby Easton, PA so I assume it is the same one referred to in the article.

I searched for the film on IMDB and it appears that Crown of Thorns was also known as I.N.R.I. and came out in 1923. The film was directed by Robert Weine, the man who also directed The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). I wrote about that film and The Hands of Orlac, another movie directed by Weine, in one of my earlier posts.  Below is a picture of Robert Weine:

Famous German actor Werner Krauss played Pontius Pilate in this film. Krauss is best remembered for playing the titular role in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Krauss as Dr. Caligari is pictured below.

IMDB lists the American release date for Crown of Thorns as 1934. I am guessing that this is incorrect since the article clearly states that people in the US were watching it in 1928. It is possible that the article is referring to a different film, but I wasn't able to find any others that fit the title and time period.

According to the IMDB page for this film, Crown of Thorns was long thought to be lost. However, in 1999 a 16mm print was found in an Italian archives and a 35mm version of the movie was found in 2006 in Tokyo. Luckily a clip has made its way online! I'm not sure when or why a narration was added but check it out here!

Crown of Thorns
is a Passion story, but the film also included a framing story in a contemporary setting about an anarchist jailed for an attempted assassination. More information on both the film and director Robert Wiene can be found here.    

Come back Sunday for the spooky weekly wrap-up!

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