“David and Bathsheba”: I’d Rather Read It Than See The Film

David in the 1951 Biblical movie David and Bathsheba, by Henry King, is not a man of much religious fervor, as the real David must have been.

The film is more serious about grief and sin and doubt than other old Hollywood movies, but it needs a major jolt of energy.  It’s rather wan and slow-moving, and neither Gregory Peck nor Susan Hayward is particularly interesting in the title roles.  It is a sure thing that Hollywood’s Biblical flicks provided an excuse for injecting sensuality into American film, so some of that is certainly here, courtesy of a dancing Gwen Verdon (uncredited) and to a lesser extent of Hayward.  Verdon, however, is part of the padding we frequently get from this movie.

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