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Obsessive Love: Samson and Delilah Go to the Movies

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Chapter Summary

The biblical story of Samson, which the recognised 'Introductions to the Old Testament' rubricate under the somewhat sparse genre-labels of 'heroic narrative', 'heroic saga' or 'folk tale', is irrespective of its episodic structure and some inner tensions an excellent plot for the movies. Therefore, it was far from surprising that Samson made his way quite early onto movie screens. He is arguably the first figure of the Old Testament on celluloid. Once Samson was established as a movie-hero he experienced numerous remakes. The encyclopaedic 'Internet Movie Database' has more than sixty movies registered featuring a 'Samson'. As before with Voltaire, Cecil B. DeMille presents Delilah as a passionately loving woman, who desires Samson sexually and whose hatred towards him is just the reverse of her profound love. At the end all movies, which take reference to Judg 13-16, tend to a harmonization and a happy ending.

Keywords: biblical story; Cecil B. DeMille; Delilah; internet movie database; movies; Old Testament; Samson



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