He Who Must Die

Jules Dassin followed up his noir masterpiece Rififi with this heavy-handed Christian allegory (1957) shot in black-and-white 'Scope and set in a Greek village controlled by the Turks after World War I. The local priest assigns roles in the upcoming passion play to a merchant (Peter), a saddle maker (Judas), the town hooker (Mary Magdalene), and a stammering shepherd (Jesus), but the same people begin to defy the priest's moral authority after he turns away a group of refugees whose own village has been destroyed by the Turks (who stand in for the Romans). It's a French picture, though Dassin's casting of Melina Mercouri as the good-hearted prostitute marks the real beginning of his Greek period (Never on Sunday, Topkapi). In French with subtitles. 127 min.

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