From director Nicholas Ray, who had turned James Dean into a neurotic teen Jesus in Rebel Without a Cause came this biblio-pic with a Method tinge; humorist Arnold Roth dubbed it “Suddenly, Last Supper.” As Jesus, Jeffrey Hunter, who played John Wayne’s young partner in The Searchers five years earlier, has star quality to spare. In orange hair and what looks like portable Nativity-color underlighting, Hunter is such an erotic slab of beefcake, he turns every Messianic agony into an ecstasy. The film, though, has an antidramatic tone that the melodramatic music tries to vivify. Count on the pictorials to keep you awake; watching the movie is like having someone thumb, slooooowly, through a book of religious art history.
Best Jesus film? The Custom Mary. Easily. It's the story of the cloning of Jesus set in modern Los Angeles lowrider culture. Its a wild story. Beautifully directed, acted, shot, and sound. It's a movie that doesn't end after you see it. I've watched it about a dozen times now. You should seriously check it out. :)