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The Silver Chalice (2009)

Paul Newman , Virginia Mayo , Victor Saville  |  NR |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Newman, Virginia Mayo, Pier Angeli, Jack Palance, Walter Hampden
  • Directors: Victor Saville
  • Writers: Lesser Samuels, Thomas B. Costain
  • Producers: Victor Saville, Lesser Samuels
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 17, 2009
  • Run Time: 142 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001KO1BC6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,295 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Silver Chalice" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Different movies are legendary for different reasons, and The Silver Chalice has its special place in film history: it's the picture Paul Newman tried to laugh off throughout his career. In his film debut, Newman plays a young artist raised in comfort but then bonded into slavery in the Roman Empire, where he gets a shot at creating a chalice for a sacred cup used by Jesus (crucified 20 years earlier). The strange cast includes Virginia Mayo as an exotic vixen, Pier Angeli as Newman's sweet, sincere Christian adorer, Joseph Wiseman as an anti-Christian plotter, and best of all Jack Palance, as a magician called upon to become the new Jesus. (For a climactic scene Palance dresses in a caped, skintight red costume, looking for all the world like the Riddler in a different color palate.) If this doesn't begin to convey the film's craziness, consider that the great art director Boris Leven opted for sets that are mostly stylized in the stark, spare manner of a 1950s Roadrunner-Coyote cartoon, a wild design that makes the movie look more like a stage opera than a lived-in film. Newman has a deer-in-the-headlights expression that suggests he knows he's made a terrible mistake, but there's nothing to do but say the dialogue anyway. In the 1960s, Newman took out newspaper ads urging people not to watch The Silver Chalice when it was broadcast on TV, and the film was something of a punch line for him thereafter. Little did he suspect how entertaining the film is for "bad movie night," or that it inspires hope for anybody whose career begins in a less-than-stellar way. --Robert Horton

Product Description

Paul Newman - in his screen debut - plays a 1st century Greek sculptor who is sold into slavery. He escapes harm when his talent is discovered and he is commissioned to create a replica of the chalice Jesus drank from at the Last Supper.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bizarre religious epic! February 10, 2009
Based on a best-seller by Thomas B. Costain, and directed by Victor Saville, "The Silver Chalice" was one of the studio's early CinemaScope films, and was really a variation on Fox's "The Robe," the first CinemaScope movie that had been a huge success in 1953... The action follows a group of Christians who are dedicated to preserving Christ's Holy Cup twenty years after the Last Supper...

Since Newman had the lead as a young Greek silversmith, sold into slavery, then chosen by the Christians to design a chalice for the Cup, becomes involved in battles and orgies, and must decide between the pagan world represented by a courtesan (Virginia Mayo) and the Christian world represented by his young, innocent wife (Pier Angeli). There is also a mad pagan magician (Jack Palance), who wants to destroy the chalice and establish his own religion, replacing Christ's miracles with black magic...

Newman was ideally cast as a Greek, because of his classic features, but he makes his film debut at particularly unfortunate time... 1954 was the year of "The Wild One" and "On the Waterfront," and Brando was at the height of his popularity...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but interesting epic with a great score February 1, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This is the movie which became notorious due to an advertisement Paul Newman took out in an L.A. newspaper in the '60's in which he apologized for it before its U.S. TV premiere.(Other castmembers were apparently not so thrilled with this gesture!) From a modern perspective the movie can be seen as one of the most visually interesting wide-screen films from this early era of the "giant screen epics" with generally good performances and a truly magnificent score by Franz Waxman ( a genuis who also scored REBECCA,A PLACE IN THE SUN, SUNSET BLVD.,PEYTON PLACE,SAYONARA,TARAS BULBA etc.). An archeological find in Antioch (one of the crossroads of the ancient world and the home of the church which the Apostle Paul attended) of a beautifully sculptured silver chalice with Christ and the apostles on it led author Thomas B. Costain to write an "historical fiction" which became a best-seller in the early '50's. Like Lloyd C. Douglas' THE ROBE and General Lew Wallace's BEN-HUR the novel mixed real characters and events from the era of the early Christian church with fictitious ones in order to bring the period to life and display the impact of the gospel on the common man. The huge success of Fox's THE ROBE (1953) the first CinemaScope film(itself inspired by the successes of QHO VADIS?(1951) and DAVID AND BATHSHEBA(1952)) led other studios like Warners to produce lavish historical epics in the hopes of re-winning movie audiences recently lost to TV. The representation of scriptural teachings and events may not always have been accurate in the Biblical epics (notable exceptions being Wyler's BEN-HUR and Huston's THE BIBLE(1966)) but in the main they were tremendously entertaining and not without a modicom of genuine spiritual edification and inspiration. Read more ›
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Paul Newman and the Holy Grail November 2, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
This faux-Biblical epic marked Paul Newman's screen debut in the role of Basil, defender of the Holy Grail. His performance is, well, just imagine dropping Paul Newman in the middle of a Fifties religious spectacle, and that's pretty much what you get. You have evil wizards and hooch dancers for villains, solemn patriarchs and saintly good girls as heroes, and a silly plot made sillier by the pious hokum.
But all the stars are upstaged by the curious set designs. Imagine ancient Palestine as an igloo camp designed by Buckminster Fuller. Peculiar, science fiction domes are everywhere, and with the several scenes from the rooftops, including an interessting sword-fight, the scenery is quite distracting.
This film would be enjoyed by those who are in the right state of mind.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh Jesus, I Can't Make This Cup April 8, 2010
The thing that makes me roar every time I see this film is how embarrassed Paul Newman was by it. He took out a full page ad in the "LA Times" one year when he heard it was playing at a prominent theater. The ad was an official apology to fans for how bad the movie and the acting was.

In truth, it is an old-fashioned kind of theatrical acting, which really should have died by this time in film history. It did not die out, and Newman was also nervous in this, his first film. He need not have been, he need only have acted his role as best he could. Apparently he didn't think he did.

The sets are a marvel: I don't know where the locations were--probably sets--but the sparse, OUR TOWN props and the weirdly abstract sets are eye-popping. To me, that was as experimental as it got in the 1950s as I recall seeing this as a kid. The story, alternating between Jerusalem and Antioch in Turkey, is a basic rip-off of THE ROBE as one critic indicated.

It isn't too bad as stories go...a "Greek" Antiochian sculptor is adopted by a wealthy patron as a boy. Once the patron dies, the patron's evil brother sells the now-adult sculptor into slavery. His reputation precedes him, as St. Peter himself--still alive at the time--knows about him. How?

Well, it seems Joseph of Arimathea sends for Newman to build a reliquary silver chalice to hold the Holy Grail...this is a point audiences tend to miss. The chalice-reliquary needs two final touches: the face of Peter and the face of Jesus. Peter (Lorne Greene) is easy enough to do. Jesus, well, he's gone and Newman must play the anguished artist who has missed the train, so to say. Never fear...thanks to St. Luke's endeavors early on, Newman eventually converts to Christianity. How sweet!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A old movie to see again.
Bought it for a friend who wanted it. She said she it loves it.Thanks
Published 2 days ago by Big Rod
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Story Retold By Hollywood
Great film, I wish it paid more attention to the book by Thomas B. Costain of the same title, but we know Hollywood, trying to improve the story, or better yet how to sell the... Read more
Published 14 days ago by DouglasMatley
5.0 out of 5 stars ... my brother for his birthday and he was very happy to receive it
Gave this movie to my brother for his birthday and he was very happy to receive it.
Published 1 month ago by N. Eberhardt
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Oldie but goody
Published 1 month ago by Alan R. Skuba
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie that includes renowned Actors and Actresses as well ...
Great movie that includes renowned Actors and Actresses as well as Biblical themes and some actual church historical material based on the writings of Eusebius who wrote the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Alan M. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless movie
superb acting and action filled plot for its time. The story is religious and straight forward showing how corrupt human nature can be. Read more
Published 6 months ago by George
5.0 out of 5 stars Surrealistic Epic
THE SILVER CHALICE is one of the strangest looking films I can remember. The sets make this film look like a biblical soap opera gone futuristic. Read more
Published 11 months ago by gobirds2
1.0 out of 5 stars A real stinker
I understand why Newman cringed over this film. We can all pretend that it is a cult classic; but do not let your mind trick you into calling a classic because it is a dismal... Read more
Published 11 months ago by sergei kochkin
3.0 out of 5 stars Book or movie
The Silver Chalice book is Christian based. It presented a fictional story with the real characters of Peter, Luke, Joseph. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Paula
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul Newman
Terrific stage-style drama. Classic film. Newman's best by far. Always loved his style and vast range of characters. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Eugene Hyon
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