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.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • http://daverattigan.typepad.com Dave Rattigan

    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)

    Matt

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07395937367596387523 Peter T Chattaway

    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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07395937367596387523 Peter T Chattaway

    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!

  • http://exclamationmark.typepad.com/christ_portrayed Mark

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


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