Experts Who Were Invited by Cecil De Mille Explain Part in ‘king of Kings’ Film

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Rabbi Ernest R. Trattner, of the City Temple, this city, issued a statement explaining his part as Jewish expert in the production of the film, “King of Kings,” by Cecil de Mille.

Rabbi Trattner stated that he had agreed to give De Mille as much information and technical help as would correctly represent the Jewish point of view in its historical setting but resigned after a month’s work.

“At that time I did not fully realize how distorted the picture would be but I was wise enough not to be misled,” the Rabbi declared in his statement “I acted for my own interests and protection when I said good-bye. The ‘King of Kings’ was never sanctioned by me or any other Rabbi or any Jew prominent in public life.

“I make this statement not only in the spirit of defense but also to guard against any insinuations that may be made in Europe to the effect that American rabbis have given it either encouragement or approval.

“In the interests of international and religious goodwill the picture must not be shown in Europe. It has already done an incalculable amount of harm here in the United States. What will be the outcome if it is shown in countries of bloody anti-Semitism like Hungary or Roumania?”

J. M. Alkow, who replaced Rabbi Trattner in De Mille’s studio, has issued a statement which will be published by the California Jewish Voice this week, “I did everything in my power to influence Miss McPherson, De Mille and Lou Goodstadt, General Manager of the studios, to eliminate those parts of the story that would be hurtflul to my people. They all promised me time and again that the production would be the greatest thing for the Jews inasmuch as it will show the world that the Jews are not responsible for the death of Jesus. Such assurances and such attitude on the part of De Mille made me hope that the picture would actually be of some service to my suffering brethren.”

Alkow further tells of his frantic protests when the assurances were disregarded and violated, but was again assured that when the picture would be assembled and cut, much of that which might not look good to him would be left out. However no Jew had anything to do in the assembling, cutting and titling of the picture, Alkow having left De Mille’s employ before the picture was shown.

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