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The Prodigal
The Prodigal
Actors: Lana Turner, Edmund Purdom, Paul Bryar, Louis Calhern, Ann Cameron
Genres: Comedy, Drama
NR     2007     1hr 52min

A young Hebrew named Micah, unsatisfied with his father's rural life, demands his inheritance so he can try his luck in the city. Once in the city he falls under the spell of a beautiful pagan priestess who induces him to ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Lana Turner, Edmund Purdom, Paul Bryar, Louis Calhern, Ann Cameron
Creator: Joseph Ruttenberg
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Classics, Religion
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 06/26/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/1955
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1955
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 52min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French

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Movie Reviews

Lana Turner at her sexiest!
Dave | Tennessee United States | 10/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"1955's "The Prodigal" was MGM's most ambitious film of the year, filmed at a cost of $5,000,000 with the intention of being one of the "really significant Biblical spectacles of all time." Adapted from 22 verses of the New Testament book of Luke, it was indeed a lavish spectacle. Lana Turner didn't like the script, but was compelled because of her studio contract to star in the movie. Making the most of her situation, she redesigned her costumes to reveal as much flesh as the Production Code would allow, making herself "as sensuous, sexy, and gorgeous as possible." Needless to say, her daring (for 1955) costumes are the best reason to watch this movie!

"The Prodigal Son" is Micah (Edmund Purdom), who honors his aging father Eli (Walter Hampden) by becoming engaged to Ruth, a kind-hearted woman who also shares his faith in God. But when Micah visits Damascus, he sees Samarra (Lana Turner), the high priestess of Astarte, goddess of the flesh, and he is instantly captivated by her stunning beauty. Despite the fact that Samarra worships false gods and presides over human sacrifices, Micah leaves home after breaking off his engagement to Ruth. He brings his inheritance from his father with him and begins spending it quickly.

Damascus proves to be Micah's fall from grace, as he is victimized by Nahreeb the high priest of Baal, Bosra the crook, and by Samarra herself, who uses her beauty to pull Micah away from his religious beliefs. After wasting all his inheritance on Samarra, Micah is thrown in prison. After a successful escape, he leads a revolt against the evil dynasty of Baal and its idol worshippers. He confronts Samarra and offers her a chance to escape, but her stubborn belief in her false gods proves to be her downfall as she faces the rage of the starved people of Damascus.

In spite of the big budget, the critics almost universally slammed "The Prodigal" following its May 1955 theatrical release. One called the movie "$5,000,000 worth of gigantic sets, garish costumes, eye-popping spectacle, vulgarity, sin, seduction, and a generous display of flesh." But, even the critics couldn't deny the fact that Lana Turner was at her sexiest in this movie. Sidney Skolsky wrote that the "long walk Lana takes through the Temple of Love in The Prodigal is the best reason for seeing the picture. Pure poetry in motion..." In spite of the flaws with the script, few can dispute the fact that this movie provided the ultimate showcase for Lana Turner's breathtaking figure!"
Colorful, daring Hollywood epic
Donald Murrell | Augusta, Ga ., United States of America | 08/28/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"From the Golden Age of Hollywood comes The Prodigal (1955), a MGM release. This "Biblical" epic, based on the New Testament story of The Prodigal son, tells of the adventure of the young man who enters the pagan world and discovers the mysteries and charms of Miss Lana Turner, high priestess of the temple of a graven, cruel, jealous god, and the dangers of forbidden love. Edmund Purdom is the prodigal who is smitten by Turner's Samarra.The story plods along with some over-blown and sometimes trite dialogue, but the costumes and sets are eye-popping. This movie era could only produce such grandier and Miss Turner as the brilliant center, is sinfully beautiful. She reveals more of her self as any much younger actress would dare at the time. And she looks marvelous. See this spectacular entry for what we may never see in today's cinema."
All the bits the Bible forgot!
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 12/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The Prodigal fills in all those bits in the parable of the Prodigal Son that Jesus omitted, and very entertainingly too. It seems junior (Edmund Purdom) got the hots for the high priestess of Astati (Lana Turner) while incurring the wrath of the high priest of Baal and tyrant of Damascus (Louis Calhern) and frittered away his fortune before coming to his senses and leading the people in rebellion against their pagan oppressors. As you might guess from that synopsis, there are more than a few similarities to The Egyptian, not least Edmund Purdom selling his birthright for a second time for bit of nookie with a pagan temptress (he'd do anything for a bit of skirt, that Purdom: did he learn nothing from his experience with Bella Darvi?), although this is a lot less thoughtful and a lot more fun. A rare 50s epic shot in Hollywood rather than Cinecitta, it falls somewhere between De Mille - the apprentice child priestess in her miniature chariot drawn by a goat could be straight out of the opening of the silent King of Kings - and MGM at its most opulent. There's not much for the mind or the spirit here, but there's plenty to entertain, from Joseph Wiseman hamming away like nobody's business, even doing an imitation of a teapot in one bizarre shot, to the most imaginative Breen Office-approved sadism this side of Sodom and Gomorrah - not only do we get willing sacrificial victims swan diving into fiery pits and a fight with a stuffed vulture but when people get the knife, they get it literally in the neck, which is a pretty neat trick. Calhern offers some splendid villainy, Francis L. Sullivan's moneylender plays both ends against the middle with sly wit, Hurd Hatfield lookalike James Mitchell fulfils the mute but acrobatic sidekick duties and director Richard Thorpe ensures it all looks great in CinemaScope. It ain't art but it is great fun."
Overblown Epic, racy (for its times...), but still nice...
Patrick Selitrenny | Switzerland a.k.a. Helvetia Felix | 08/31/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A true vehicle for Lana Turner and her curves...

Edmund Purdom alas doesn't shine as nicely in this one, as he did in "The Egyptian". He seems annoyed and bored, and his acting is woody to say the least.

But all in all, it is a Tale of Tales of the New Testament and as such it should be appreciated.

In those days Religion was still a major factor in Society...

But when we talk about Hollywood splendor then, well, there it is, in all its kitch and pompous color.

Wonderful musical score, excellent theatrical actors, a story that still holds your attention.

The transfer on DVD is decent, not special but decent. You get the Hollywood treat, although I am a bit disappointed with the sound in Dolby "conventional" Surround, not in 5.1...

Needs a special edition with remastered sound and picture, but for the price it is truly a treat."