Easter Films – BBC Radio Humberside feature

The Greatest Story Ever Told | George Stevens | 1965 | USA | U | 260m

As well as our own weekly HIC Recommends feature, which reveals which film we were planning to show before our current season was cancelled, and recommending another title our audiences might like (read the latest edition here), we are also working with BBC Radio Humberside on a semi-regular feature recommending five films on a different theme each time.

These might not be the sort of films we would normally screen at HIC, but could be anything from epic Hollywood classics to family-friendly animation, action-packed thrillers to foreign-language gems, anything we think will have a broad appeal.

For our first feature we looked at five films on the theme of Easter. Use the audio player below to listen to the original broadcast from Good Friday.

Let’s start with two classic films telling the biblical Easter story that you can find on free-to-air TV this weekend. Tomorrow (Saturday 11 April) at midday on BBC2 there is the definitive bible epic, THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. Made in 1965 it was one of the most expensive Hollywood films of its time, with an all-star cast starring the incomparable Max von Sydow as Christ and also featuring Charlton Heston as John the Baptist, Telly Savalas as Pontius Pilate and Donald Pleasance as Satan. There’s even a curiously miscast John Wayne playing a Roman guard. Be aware it’s three hours long – and that’s an edited version of the four hour twenty minute original! As well as the TV screening you can also find it on a range of digital platforms.

The Greatest Story Ever Told | George Stevens | 1965 | USA | U | 260m

If that one is a bit too long then why not try THE ROBE, also on BBC2, on Easter Monday at 3pm. From 1953, this concentrates more on some of the supporting characters in the Easter story and stars Richard Burton as a Roman tribune tasked with Christ’s crucifixion and who afterwards wins Jesus’s robe in a drunken gambling game. He then becomes wracked with guilt about what he’s done and tries to discover more about the man he helped kill. It is also available to rent or buy on various digital services.

The Robe | Henry Koster | 1953 | USA | U | 135m

For an Easter story for all the family, try HOP, the animated tale of the Easter Bunny’s son, EB, who heads to Hollywood determined to make it as a rock n roll drummer. It features Russell Brand as EB and Hugh Laurie as his father. It’s free-to-air on ITV2 this evening (Good Friday) at 5.15 and again on Easter Sunday at 2pm, and can also be found on various online services.

Hop | Tim Hill | 2011 | USA | U | 95m

For a bit of classic musical escapism check out EASTER PARADE, a 1948 musical romance starring Judy Garland, Fred Astaire and Ann Miller. With Irving Berlin writing the tunes, it has Astaire as a nightclub performer hiring Garland as his new unknown dance partner in an attempt to prove he can make anyone a star. The film follows the ups and downs of their partnership – and their romance – before the final scenes at the Easter Parade. It’s not on free-to-air TV this weekend but can be found to buy or rent on platforms including Sky Store, Apple TV and YouTube.

Easter Parade | Charles Walters | USA | U | 99m

And finally, another film set at Easter is CHOCOLAT, which sees Juliette Binoche’s chocolatier move into a 1950s French village and upset the traditional order of things by opening on Sundays, selling tempting chocolates to the locals during Lent and planning an Easter Sunday Festival of Chocolate. With a supporting cast including Jonny Depp and Judi Dench, it was nominated for five Oscars, four Golden Globes and eight Baftas. Again, it’s not on free-to-air TV this weekend but can be rented or bought on platforms including Amazon Prime, YouTube, Apple TV and others.

Chocolat | Lasse Hallström | 2000 | UK / USA | 12 | 121m

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