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"I recently watched Ben Hur after seeing Wyler’s film ‘The Heiress,’ which has the most extraordinary production design. I was wondering what Wyler would do with Hollywood sword-and-sandal boilerplate. Sans the Eisenhower-era indifference to authentic historical milieu and lighting that’s often bland, it really holds up. It cannot be easy to orchestrate so much action without drowning in minutiae. Although this is ‘the story of the Christ,’ it’s the attraction and conflict between Hur and Messala that creates and drives the drama. The religious sub-plot is woven into the personal drama and historical sweep without trivializing it and without a trace of preachiness."

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