Cecil De Mille Defies Jewish Critics of His ‘king of Kings’ Production

In Arrogant Language He Charges Jews with Blame for Prejudice; Plans New Picture of Jewish Nature; Indifferent to Jewish Protest but Considerate of Klan, Rabbi Newman Relates; Metro-Goldwyn Withdraws Film Objected to by Irish in America; ‘Callahans and Murphys’ Regarded as Insult to Race; Producers Yield to Public Demand (Jewish Daily Bulletin)

Cecil de Mille, producer of the film, “King of Kings” which was widely criticized in the Jewish press and from the Jewish pulpit for its tendency to revive anti-Jewish religious prejudice, took an arrogant stand in reply to this criticism in a statement he made in a press interview.

Setting himself up as an authority on the history of the beginnings of Christianity and declaring that he knows better what is good for the Jewish people, he charged the rabbis and editors of Jewish papers who have attacked the picture with the blame for any prejudice which may result. The critics’ reaction to the “Kings of Kings” may lead Christians to see in this criticism a sign of “a guilty conscience.”

“They will infer,” he said, “that if Jesus were alive today these Jews I speak of would crucify him again.”

In his statement Mr. De Mille declares:

“No Christian has ever found a trace of Anti-Semitic prejudice or propaganda in the ‘King of Kings’ for the simple reason that Christians are fully acquainted with the New Testament history and therefore realize that my presentation of it is a fair one. Jewish editors and Rabbis in some instances have read Anti-Semitic ideas into their interpretation of my picture because they are not acquainted with what the New Testament tells us. They have out of their own minds invented a hostility that does not exist.

“The danger now is that some Christian editor or other will say that the Jews’ reaction to the ‘King of Kings’ springs from a guilty conscience and consequently they will infer that if Jesus were alive today these Jews I speak of would crucify him again. The very men who read prejudice into the picture are themselves storing up material for anti-Semitic propaganda. They are the ones who will be entirely responsible for any prejudice against the Jewish people. The ‘King of Kings’ does not in any manner encourage such prejudice. It tells the immortal story without any racial implications whatsoever and shows the Jews divided into opposing parties over the reforms urged by Jesus.”

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