Bela Lugosi as Jesus!?

No, don’t worry, this photo isn’t from a movie — though it is a picture of the man who would become famous for a career that included the Dracula movies (1931ff) as well as the early films of Ed Wood (from 1953’s Glen or Glenda to 1959’s Plan 9 from Outer Space, the latter of which was shot almost entirely after Lugosi died).

Instead, this is one of several photos that were taken while Bela Lugosi played Jesus in a passion play in 1909. The host site says, “It appears that this role was of special importance to the young Lugosi, as he had a number of pictures taken of himself in the role. They also illustrate the remarkable resemblance that Bela bore to the traditional images of Christ.” Um, well, sure, okay.

I’m trying to think up a good “I never drink … wine” joke.

Thanks to Christ Portrayed, a blog devoted to portraits of Jesus, for this link. And thanks to David L. Rattigan for linking to that.

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  • Wow. How ironic that Lugosi should have played two roles that are really inversions of each other. I wonder if there are other actors who have played both?

    By the way, interesting to note that the name on the poster was spelled Lugossy.

    PS. Note my new blog address. 😉

  • Matt Page

    Well I’m sure you could count one of Max von Sydow’s roles as fulfilling that function – in fact there coul be a couple to chose from (that one in ‘What Dreams May Come’ for starters)


  • Yeah, they say that the crew on the set of Needful Things (1993), which starred Max von Sydow and was directed by Fraser Heston, used to joke that Moses was telling Jesus how to be Satan.

  • Oh, hey, and let’s not forget Ralph Fiennes, who provided the voice of Jesus in The Miracle Maker and will soon be seen as the Dark Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire!

    Or Christian Bale, who starred in American Psycho and Mary, the Mother of Jesus almost simultaneously!

  • And thanks to you for such a kind mention of my page.