Rabbi Edgar F. Magnix Explains His Stand on ‘king Ok Kings’ Picture
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Rabbi Edgar F. Magnix Explains His Stand on ‘king Ok Kings’ Picture

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Agitation Will only Advertise Film; Urges Vigilance for Elimination of Objectionable Features (Jewish Daily Bulletin)

Rabbi Edgar F. Maguin. chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of the Los Angeles lodge of the Independent Order B’nai Brith, explaned his stand in the matter of the film. “King of Kings,” in an interview with the representative of the Jewish Daily Bulletin.

Asked what were his connections with Cecil De Millo, the producer of the film, Rabbi Magnin replied. “A chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith Lodge I went to see Mr. De Mille on a number of occasion for the purpose of protecting the interests of the Jewish people.”

To the question: “What effect do you think this picture will have upon the Jewish people?” the Rabbi stated: ‘”Any dramatization of the Crucifixion story either on the stage or screen is not likely to benefit the Jew. The story, as I told Mr. De Mille in my first interview with him is written from an anti-Jewish point of view.”

“Could anything have been done to stop Mr. De Mille from making the picture?” the interviewer asked.

“I don’t know. The picture was financed in the Hast and not here. This is a matter that I doubt very much could have been handled in Los Angeles.”

“Did your interviews with Mr. De Mille accomplish any Rood?”

“I am sure they did.” the Rabbi stated. “Whatever one may think of the picture I know how much worse it could have been portrayed. Just one example: Mr. De Mille eliminated the words. “His blood be upon you and your children.” Mr. De Mille knew that the Jews were interested, and Mr. Alkow, who was working on the lot. did very much. I am sure to remind him of this and softened the picture considerably.”

“Should Jewish actors have taken part in it?”

“I regret that they did. At the same time it is always presumptuous to pass judgment upon our fellow beings.”

“Will the protests stop the picture from being shown in Europe?”

“This is a question I cannot answer as I have never lived in Europe and don’t know the laws governing the presentation of pictures in the several countries. I have been told that in England the laws are such as to forbid

“What attitude should the Jewish press of America and other Jewish leaders take toward the picture?” the correspondent asked the Rabbi.

“If my opinion it is a mistake for the Jewish leaders and the press to attack Mr. De Mille as some have done and particularly the picture. Being so close to the motion picture geographically. I feel I know something of the psychology of the show business. If the picture succeeds financially at all it will be because the Jews have attacked it. Nothing makes a play go ## attacking it. This is an open secret among all showmen. Another reason why I dislike to see the Jewish people raise a storm against the picture is that the issue is bound to be confused in the minds of the American people. They will regard it as an attack upon the Christian Bible and this will only search to increase the ill feeling between Christian and Jew in America something which is to be deplored.” he said.

“What can be done in the future to avoid reelecting upon the Jew in pictures in an unpleasant way?”

“Handreds of pictures are being produced in Los Angeles and Hollywood annualiy. Most of the financing of these pictures takes place in New York City. I intend to recommend to the B’nai Brith Order that representatives be employed one in New York and one in Los Angeles for the purpose of taking care of such matters and with nothing lese to do but that. I feel that I can do much to help the man on this and but after all the task of reviewing many pictures must be left to one who can give this matter his entire attention. The work will be facilitated of cou9rse by the fact that many of the producers are Jews and are only too glad to cooperate. After all the average motion picture producer is a gentleman and has some common sense. He does not like to make unnecessary enemies.” Rabbi Martin declared.

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