If you have never seen The Seventh Seal – then watch it. A tortured medieval knight is played by a very young Max von Sydow, who you may have seen in The Minority Report and other movies. In this scene, he plays a game of chess with Death in order to remain alive. It’s a Swedish movie with subtitles but don’t let that put you off.
In the Middle Ages, the crucifixion of Christ would have been portrayed in mystery plays put on in towns and villages but in our modern age, it’s the cinema that has brought us the most enduring images of Christ‘s death. Some immediately spring to my mind.
Mel Gibson‘s Passion of the Christ was possibly one of the most gory films I’ve ever seen on the big screen. I’ve no doubt many in the Middle Ages would have identified with its bloodiness but it wasn’t to my taste.
Brilliantly atmospheric is the Cecil B de Mille silent movie The King of Kings – don’t be put off by the absence of people talking.
In my earlier blog post about medieval movies, I said that Orlando Bloom was miscast in the movie Kingdom of Heaven. I still think he was. Bit too wimpy and fey for what I think a crusader should come across like. However…somebody else has rather enterprisingly put together the Orlando Bloom kill rate in Kingdom of Heaven and it does rack up rather impressively – or depressingly if you’re a Saracen.
I should say that movie does portray Saladin in a positive light and the caliphate is not demonised. However, when it comes to swinging his sword around – Orlando does seem to wreak havoc and death.
Watch the on screen counter!
- Best medieval movies of all time! (thetemplarknight.com)