David and Goliath

David and Goliath ★★

Surely this must be one of the earliest renditions on film of such an amazing story. Berthe Bovy, from the Comédie-Francaise company, and one of the stars in L'Assassinat du duc de Guise (in which she played a page), is pretty much suited as the then-future king of Israel: boyish-looking, flat-chested and all around angelic, her David comes across as God's anointed one even if only because it seems he is in need of a real miracle to save his and everyone else's lives. It also helps that Bovy was clearly having fun with her role, thus imbuing it with an enthusiastic energy. It reminded me of Mia Farrow as Peter Pan --just a bit.

The sad part in all this is that everything, including Bovy's promising performance, fall short due to the movie having not survived in its entirety. Hence, what is one of the most inspirational tales of all time here can just convey the faith and the divine light that the teenage shepherd was able to communicate and reflect in front of others. Ironically, the short film stops at the point in which David and a not-so-gigantic Goliath are about to come to blows, so to speak. Maybe given the stage-like nature of the production and its proceedings, one thing this version has for it is that you can sense a physicality mostly absent elsewhere when it comes to the adaptations of the story. At least in the surviving footage, the only actor making an impression is Bovy, and yet you can see Goliath paying a most threatening visit to King Saul, and later even the Philistine champion insulting a supernaturally reinvigorated David in his own face, something you don't usually witness in that close fashion within the large scope of epic cinema.

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