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The Wandering Jew (1905)

Le juif errant (original title)
Based on an early 13th century myth, this short film tells the story of a Jew who is forced to walk throughout eternity having refused water to Christ on his way to Calvary. He falls asleep... See full summary »

Director:

Georges Méliès
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Cast

Credited cast:
Georges Méliès
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Storyline

Based on an early 13th century myth, this short film tells the story of a Jew who is forced to walk throughout eternity having refused water to Christ on his way to Calvary. He falls asleep and sees a vision of himself as a youth, when he refused the water Christ asked of him; he plods on and runs into Satan who beats him with his staff; he makes his way through a frightful storm. On and on he goes, forced to walk through time until the Second Coming. Written by Tornado_Sam

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Genres:

Short | Drama

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Details

Country:

France

Release Date:

10 May 1905 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wandering Jew See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Star-Film See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Remade as The Wandering Jew (1933) See more »

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User Reviews

Well done for 1904
20 September 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

It's hard to really understand this film unless you turn on the optional commentary track. It begins with an old Jewish man struggling as he walks. You learn, through the use of a double-exposure, that the man witnessed Christ being led to the crucifixion and refused him water. Now, he's cursed to wander through eternity--and there is no let up to his misery. He sees what he's done repeatedly, is attacked by Satan and the elements conspire against him--all in repayment for his sin.

While the set appears very crudely done (almost quaint), this is the norm for 1904--and that is why it all appears very stagy. But, it makes nice use of the double-exposure and is decent for its time.

I wondered, however, if this was film was perhaps based on some folk tale (I've never heard of it). So I checked and found the story began sometime around the 13th century and the man was cursed to do this until Christ's second coming. Perhaps this story was created to explain the displaced Jewish people (who had no homeland for almost 1900 years) or was in some way antisemitic--I have no idea. But here in the States, it's a story I would assume very, very few would recognize.


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