Paul Newman - in his screen debut - plays a 1st century Greek sculptor who is sold into slavery. He escapes harm when his talent is discovered and he is commissioned to create a replica of the chalice Jesus drank from at t... more »he Last Supper.« less
"Based on a best-seller by Thomas B. Costain, and directed by Victor Saville, "The Silver Chalice" was one of the studio's early CinemaScope films, and was really a variation on Fox's "The Robe," the first CinemaScope movie that had been a huge success in 1953... The action follows a group of Christians who are dedicated to preserving Christ's Holy Cup twenty years after the Last Supper...
Since Newman had the lead as a young Greek silversmith, sold into slavery, then chosen by the Christians to design a chalice for the Cup, becomes involved in battles and orgies, and must decide between the pagan world represented by a courtesan (Virginia Mayo) and the Christian world represented by his young, innocent wife (Pier Angeli). There is also a mad pagan magician (Jack Palance), who wants to destroy the chalice and establish his own religion, replacing Christ's miracles with black magic...
Newman was ideally cast as a Greek, because of his classic features, but he makes his film debut at particularly unfortunate time... 1954 was the year of "The Wild One" and "On the Waterfront," and Brando was at the height of his popularity..."
A Highly Underrated Epic Film
Gary A. Smith | Los Angeles, ca USA | 02/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Silver Chalice, finally available on DVD in a beautiful widescreen transfer, is a unique example of the epic genre. Hoping to achieve something different from the type of epics being made in Hollywood at the time, Warner Bros. hired Art Director Boris Leven and Production Designer Rolf Gerard (of the Metropolitan Opera) to create a very stylized concept of the ancient world. Thanks mainly to Paul Newman's derisive comments about this movie, it's reputation has suffered over the years. The Silver Chalice needs to be reevaluated as, in addition to the stunning visuals, it also boasts an involving plot, some fine performances, and a wonderful Academy Award nominated score by Franz Waxman."
Dreadful, even by religious epic standards
Michael Giltz | 06/20/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The death of Paul Newman means the usual flood of releases and tributes, but naturally an actor who worked steadily for decades can't have made ALL good movies. The Silver Chalice ($19.98; Warner Bros.) was a plodding Biblical epic and the first showcase for Newman, who loved to make fun of the film. Indeed, it's a strange, miserable little movie, with the sets either bizarrely stylized (the outdoor scenes look like leftovers from Fritz Lang's Metropolis or maybe the dream sequences from Hitchcock's Spellbound) or in the case of the interior scenes cavernous and echoing to a ludicrous degree. Visit me at michaelgiltz dot com."
BETTER THAN ADVERTISED
C. Chandler | Whitesboro, Texas USA | 04/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
.....I bought this DVD because of the star power and to own the film that was Paul Newman's debut. Besides Newman, it had Jack Palance in one of his earliest films, Pier Angeli at her most alluring, Virginia Mayo at her most vampish and Natalie Wood in one of her many roles as a child.
.....Newman wasn't comfortable with the role of a greek silversmith, he much preferred the sarcastic anti-heros of Hud and The Hustler or the crusading hero of Ari in Exodus where he could display his fiery temperment but he did justice to the role as it was written. The story is a very fictional account of what in later movies would become the Holy Grail but it is entertaining and the DVD is of good quality. If you are a Paul Newman fan this movie should be in your collection."
Newman Didn't Have To Take Out Trade Ads...But
David Baldwin | Philadelphia,PA USA | 03/01/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
""The Silver Chalice" is a real enigma to me. It's a sincere religious epic but it left me a little less than inspired. It's not a bad film. It's just not very good. It's numerous sins include flat direction, pat scripting and amateurish acting. It's interest to modern audiences would be the distinction that this is Paul Newman's film debut. The best you can say is that Newman doesn't embarrass himself but he sure seemed to be embarrassed. Jack Palance seems to be about the only participant who sized up the camp element of this enterprise and chews the scenery accordingly. If you must see it once and then not at all."