Details

A two-episode TV mini-series produced by TNT (Turner Pictures) in 1997. Based on the story of King David from the Bible. Nathaniel is in the title role. Co-starring Jonathan Pryce as Saul, Leonard Nimoy as the series which also includes Moses (Ben Kingsley), Joseph (Paul Mercurio), Jacob (Matthew Modine), Abraham (Richard Harris), Solomon (Ben Cross), and Jeremiah (Harry Winer).

 

Plot Summary

 

Israel wants a king like all the other nations have. First God chooses Saul, a farmer (Jonathan Pryce). But when Saul fails to obey God's instructions to the letter, God regrets having made him king and chooses a young shepherd boy to replace him -David. David proves himself as a mighty warrior, slaying the giant Goliath while still a boy. He's so successful and popular that Saul becomes jealous and plots his murder. David escapes and eventually becomes king of Israel, establishing the Israelites in Jerusalem. David is blessed with a close, mystical union with God, but he loses it when he sins by falling for Bathsheba, the wife of a married man. He plots to have her husband put in the heat of battle so he'll be killed. For this, God punishes David by causing strife in his household. One son, Amnon, rapes his sister, Tamar. Amnon is in turn killed by his brother, Absalom. Absalom is exiled, only to return years later in an uprising against his father.

General Review

 

I'm pretty tolerant of TV mini-series as a rule. I feel the longer format gives more time to develop stories and characters - things that are more important to me than special effects. And, of course, I'm a huge Nat Parker fan. That being said, this isn't one of my favourite NP performances. The main problem is the script and production, which provide a tepid "Sunday School" version of events, rather than being authentic, ethnic and vital. Fortunately, the second half of the mini-series is better than the first. When David's children begin committing nefarious deeds things get decidedly more interesting. Leonard Nimoy is surprisingly convincing as the prophet Samuel. He's scary enough to evoke the true flavour of the Hebrew Yahweh. I also liked Sheryl Lee as Bathsheba. Scattered throughout are quotations of psalms, with NP's wonderful voice narrating, and that's a very nice touch indeed (some audio samples are on the following pages). To give another point of view, one of our regular site visitors loves this movie, so this may well be more your cup of tea than mine.  

Nat Review 

 

To some extent, the film itself is secondary to how much fun Nat is to watch in it. I would definitely recommend this particular offering to any Nathaniel Parker fan. It's a substantial role and there are some nice moments, such as the first meeting with Bathsheba and, as I mentioned above, the wonderful narration he does of the psalms. I particularly liked him as the young warrior David when he was on the run from Saul, and when he begins having troubles with his children in episode two, there are some strong emotional scenes. And as you can see from the pics, there are plenty of nice visuals to catch in this film.

Trivia

How many actors have played opposite a romantic lead named Bathsheba? Nat's done it twice: in David ('97) and Far from the Madding Crowd ('98). This who plays Michal, David's first wife in this film, played Tamar, King David's daughter in the 1985 film King David with Richard Gere. She also starred with NP in the London theater production of "Speed the Plow" in summer 2000.

Status

Widely available in the USA on DVD and VHS, also in Germany (only dubbed version).

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