Though David has all the wealth, power, wives & children inherent for the King of Israel he does not have what he craves most: the true love of a woman who loves him as a man instead of as King.
He is attracted to Bathsheba, the wife of one of his soldiers who is more devoted to army duty than to his wife. David & Bathsheba succumb to their feelings. Their affair, her resulting pregnancy, & David's resolve to have her husband killed so Bathsheba will be free to marry, bring the wrath of God upon the kingdom.
David must rediscover his faith in God in order to save Bathsheba from death by stoning, his kingdom from drought & famine, & himself from his many sins.
Gregory Peck ... King David
Susan Hayward ... Bathsheba
Raymond Massey ... Nathan
Kieron Moore ... Uriah
James Robertson Justice ... Abishai
Jayne Meadows ... Michal
John Sutton ... Ira
Dennis Hoey ... Joab
Director: Henry King
Runtime: 116 mins
Codecs: XVid / MP3
Audio 1: Espanol
Audio 2: English
This film is famous for several qualities: a literate script, for once in partly-religious film-making, by Philip Dunne, some very good performances, a first-rate production in every department and its intelligent direction by veteran Henry King.
If one were making a film, then getting such talents as Leon Shamroy as cinematographer, Lyle Wheeler as art director and Alfred Newman as composer of original music would guarantee a quality production. Add the cast of this film, including Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward as the title characters, James Robertson Justice, Raymond Massey, Kieron Moore, Jayne Meadows and John Sutton plus a dance by Gwen Verdon and expectations might be raised that the resulting film could be made into something special.
But in a biblical subject script, usually a sub-genre prone to illogical motivations and miraculous interventions, everything would ultimately depend on the author's skills. Philip Dunne here has supplied human beings, a rare achievement in biblical films. David is a man in this film, many-sided, not someone doing mythical deeds on paper in the Old Testament. Gregory Peck makes him curious, passionate, self-controlled, self-deprecating and appealing. As Bathsheba, Hayward is scarcely the perfect choice but conveys a good deal of common-sense earthiness and emotional normalcy that helps one see why the King of Israel would risk so much for her.
The rest of the cast is stalwart and capable by turns. The familiar storyline provides them little to work with, but author Dunne and the cast do as much as is possible with the human situations. David's youth is told in flashback; how he was chosen by a Prophet of Yahweh to be King of Israel, and earns his way to be second to the king, Saul, by defeating Goliath the Phiiistine in battle when all else are afraid to beard the giant warrior. Thereafter, he finally is driven from the court of King Saul of Israel, becomes a famous warrior, and returns to claim the kingdom and become the instrument of death of Jonathan, the King's son, formerly a friend.
His wars are successful-- the film opens in fact with a successful attack scene; but his life is empty since his wife Michal, Jayne Meadows, is Saul's daughter and is cold to him. He turns to Bathsheba, whom he sees from the palace roof bathing naked; later she admits she had hoped he would see her. But she has a husband, Uriah; when she becomes pregnant, it becomes necessary for Uriah to come in from the battlefield and spend time at home; he instead asks David to set him in the forefront of the battle, even after being aroused by Verdon's dance. David agrees. He is killed, a war hero; but this does not solve the infidelity question. Drought comes to Israel, and the king's infidelity is blamed for the phenomenon.
At last, David places his hands on the Ark of the Covenant, recently brought to Jerusalem and housed in a temple, which has caused the death of others who accidentally came in contact with it, inviting his god to punish him--and nothing happens...David exits the temple, and finds that rain has come to his parched land. This film is always interesting, varied in its types of scenes and physically beautiful. The director and author make use of the observer principle, and are frankly more successful in humanizing the characters than in almost any film outside the Grecianized- Near Eastern canon, wherein the feat is a bit easier since neither miraculous nor religious themes are made central in such adventures. .
Well-remembered for its glowing realization, fine performances and intelligent dialogue, this dramatic effort bears repeated study.
To me movies and acting is all about telling a story. The story of David and Bethsheba is a tragedy that is deep and can be felt by anyone who reads and understands the biblical account. In this movie I thought the storytelling by Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward were at their best. To know and understand the story of David and his journey to become the King of Israel, made this story all the more compelling. You could feel his lust for a beautiful woman, Gregory Peck showed the real human side of this man who in his time was larger than life. Susan Hayward's fear, reluctance, but then obedience to his authority as her King was beautifully portrayed by her. One could also feel David's anguish the nigh that Uriah spent the night at the gate instead of at home. As well as the sadness when he was killed in battle. Raymond Massey's powerful and authoritative condemnation of the King made me feel his anger. The sets were real enough, and the atmosphere believable. All in all I think this was one of the best movies of it's kind. I gave it a rating of ten.
Gregory Peck gives a brilliant performance in this film. The last 15 minutes (or thereabouts) are great and Peck is an absolute joy to watch. The same cannot however be said for the rest of the film. It's not awful and I'm sure it was made with good intentions, but the only real reason (if I were to be honest) to see it is Peck. For the rest you are better off just reading the Old Testament.
Old movie buffs will know why I'd call this one "The Man in the Grey Flannel Robe." Most Bible-based movies are basically schlock- what might call forth smiles and giggles here is how Peck, tries to raise consciousness on a variety of psychological and social issues with the spear carrying Neanderthals all about him. As a Great Romance, it falls flat as unleavened bread. But there is something gripping about this movie. Of all the big Hollywood Bible pictures it most strikingly conveys the ambivalent attitude of the Average American towards belief in the Biblical God. Billy Sunday's thesis is duking it out with H.L. Mencken's antithesis all through the script. Who gets the better of it in the Heavenly Chorus-backed synthesis depends on your point of view. Other than that, D & B boasts a good performances by Peck ( especially in the closing repentance scene) and by Jayne Meadows as his bitter first wife Michol, vivid, moody atmosphere (good idea to set most action at dawn or night), and the rousing rendition of the Twenty-Third Psalm at the end.
*The full scale replica of the Ark of the Covenant used in the film was constructed of oiled acacia wood. This prop would be purchased many years later at a 20th Century Fox studio auction by Susan Hayward.
Magnífica producción dirigida por Henry King e inspirada en el personaje bíblico del rey David encarnado por Gregory Peck (ganador del Oscar al mejor actor por Matar a un ruiseñor en 1962 y en reconocimiento a su labor humanitaria en 1967). Mientras elpueblo de Israel vive oprimido bajo el yugo de Roma, su rey se enamora perdidamente de Bathsheba (Susan Hayward - ganadora del Oscar a la mejor actriz en 1958 por ¡Quiero vivir!), esposa de un capitán de sus ejércitos. Esta historia de amor prohibida provocará que la ira de Dios recaiga sobre el pueblo de Israel.