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BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST (1925) - U.S. Lobby Card #03

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Price: SOLD
SOLD
Item Number: LC-BENHUR-03
Vintage original 11 x 14 in. U.S. lobby card, very good+/near-fine condition. 
 
The image depicts one of THE most iconic images of Silent Cinema: Judah, Ben-Hur (Ramon Novarro) whips his white horses to race to victory in the film's celebrated "chariot race" sequence while another rival and his team of black horses follow right behind him. This lobby card is in very good+/near-fine condition with one or two pinholes in each corner and several tiny additional pinholes in the top left corner; a circular area of discoloration around one pinhole in the top right corner; two very small creases on the bottom right corner; a 2 in. wide area of surface wrinkling with light creases in the bottom border below the "R" in "HUR" which ends in a 1/8 in. vertical tear on the bottom border; signs of light wear on the bottom left corner. The beautiful color-tinting is especially effective on this card. It is from the film's original 1925 theatrical release and is not from a later re-release. An important and memorable image from the Silent Era.
 
The original silent version of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is considered one of the true epics of silent cinema and also featured several sequences in two-color Technicolor. Costing between $4,000,000 and $6,000,000, the film was the most expensive silent film ever made. Ben-Hur was a big success as a novel and also as a stage play. In 1922, two years after the play's last tour, the Goldwyn company purchased the film rights to Ben-Hur. Shooting began in Italy in 1923, starting two years of difficulties, accidents, and eventually a move back to Hollywood. Additional recastings (including Ramon Novarro as Ben-Hur) and a change of director caused the production's budget to skyrocket. The studio's publicity department was shameless, advertising the film with lines like: "The Picture Every Christian Ought to See!" Although audiences flocked to Ben-Hur after its premiere in 1925 and the picture grossed $9,000,000, its huge expenses and the deal with Erlanger made it a loser for MGM. MGM was unable to recoup its investment. When filming the chariot scene, the drivers were careful and slow, which disappointed Meyer. To make it more exciting, he offered a prize of $100 to the winner, and the resulting heated competition led to the horrendous crash that remains in the movie. That and another fatal accident led to changes in rules of filming and film safety. A total of 200,000 ft. of film was shot for the chariot race scene, which was eventually edited down to 750 ft. This scene has been much imitated and was re-created virtually shot-for-shot in the 1959 remake. Some scenes in the film were in two-strip Technicolor. One of the assistant directors for this sequence was a very young William Wyler, who would later direct the 1959 remake.
 
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; 1925; dir: Fred Niblo; cast: Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman, May McAvoy, Betty Bronson, Claire McDowell, Kathleen Kay, Carmel Myers, Nigel De Brulier, Mitchell Lewis, Leo White, Frank Currier, Charles Belcher, Dale Fuller, Winter Hall.
 

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