Joseph And His Brethren (Giuseppe Venduto Dai Fratelli) (1961)

LUCIANO RICCI

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBYugoslavia/Italy, 1961.  Dubrava Film, Athena Cinematografica. Story by , Screenplay by Guglielmo Santangelo, , , English version by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by . Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Better-than-average Biblical tale that tells of Jacob’s favourite son Joseph and the journey he undergoes when his ten jealous brothers sell him into slavery in Egypt and tell their father and youngest brother that he is dead. In Egypt, Joseph rises to prominence with his kindly personality and snazzy ability to interpret dreams, a talent that catches the attention of the Pharaoh, who makes Joseph his right-hand man and is grateful when our hero keeps the country well fed through a devastating famine. Years later, Joseph’s starving brothers come to Egypt to beg for help in their time of struggle, but Joseph takes advantage of their not recognizing him to first put them through a little payback before treating them with the kindness they did not show him. It’s as thriftily produced as all similar films made during this time (Saul And David, David And Goliath, Esther And The King, etc.), but the acting is superior and there is a genuine attempt to present more complex characters (Potiphar’s wife is now an unhappy housewife, not just a slutty ho, and she has a name!) which elicits some palpable emotion from the story.

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