Predictable but magnificent and satisfying. In remaking the silent 1927 classic, which starred Ramon Novarro and Francis X. Bushman, quality-conscious director Wyler shines the old chestnut up. Highlights include the galley ship and climatic chariot race with Heston--in a tour de force
performance--besieged by the sexy but evil Boyd. (This sequence was actually helmed by action expert Andrew Marton.) Even with the western overtones, the actors make stunning rivals. Majesty is in almost every frame of this film thanks to Wyler, who tells the story in human, understated terms.
Everything about BEN HUR was enormous; more than 300 sets were employed, covering...