The Wandering Jew (1933)

Article 2174 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-27-2007
Posting Date: 7-26-2007
Directed by Maurice Elvey
Featuring Conrad Veidt, Marie Ney, Anne Grey

A Jew spitefully spits on Jesus Christ as he carries his cross, and is cursed to remain alive until Jesus returns.

There are two versions of this play by E. Temple Thurston, and both were directed by Maurice Elvey; there are other movies of the same title, but not based on the play. The fact that it’s based on a play explains somewhat the structure and the staginess of the presentation. For me, this movie was a bit on the dull side, especially during the middle sequences where we encounter the Jew as a mysterious knight during the crusades and his life years later as a merchant. For me, the movie really starts to come to life during the last sequence, where, as a doctor, he comes under the suspicion of the Inquisition, and finds himself undergoing many of the same experiences that Christ had during his final days. At this point, the Jew’s observations about what makes a true follower of Christ have a real poignancy to them, especially when we observe how those qualities are missing from the inquisitors. The U.S. version of the movie is missing a good 26 minutes from the story, much of which seems to be cut from the opening sequence. Conrad Veidt does an excellent job, but some of the other actors chew the scenery a little too much for my liking.



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