"Worthwhile Reminder of God’s Mysterious Ways"
What You Need To Know:
JOSEPH & HIS BRETHREN isn’t extremely concerned about historical or biblical accu-racy. Potiphar is there primarily for comedic relief, but it offers a glimpse into what it might have been like for Joseph and brings the story to life in a way that is more engag-ing than simply reading words on a page. Most of the biblical inaccuracies do not affect the main story. There is a fair amount of violence, but nothing graphic. A few of the background actors wear skimpy outfits. Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce Joseph and falsely accuses him, so caution is recommended for young children.
(BBB, Pa, RH, VV, S, NN, A, M) Entirely about the biblical story of Jo-seph, multiple mentions of God and His divine powers, characters offer prayer to God before eating their meals, Egyptian gods are referenced in a couple of scenes, some scenes were revised by the writers and do not reflect Biblical accuracy; two men with a knife fight over ownership of a sheep, man throws a stone at another man's head and knocks him out, man brings a knife to a lamb’s throat to kill it, but does not show the act itself, man cuts another man's arm with a knife as a form of medical treatment, slaves are beaten with whips or clubs and shown with cuts on their backs, man is hanged but the camera cuts away during the act and only the sound is heard, invading army stampedes over fallen men, floodgates open onto an unprepared army, and several people and ani-mals are shown as having drowned, some dead sheep due to famine are shown, man is slapped in the face and blood is drawn, and a man beats his slave; married women tries to tempt a man into bed with her; male slaves and Egyptian men are shown without shirts, and females wear revealing undergarments that partially show their backsides; some wine drinking at meals; and, woman falsely accuses man of trying to rape her, brothers make fun of sibling and plot to get rid of him, men lie to their father about a sibling’s death.
JOSEPH & HIS BRETHREN is a digitally re-mastered version of the 1960 Italian movie that tells the biblical story of Joseph. It begins in the fields where Joseph and some of his brothers are tending to their flock. A fight breaks out between the broth-ers as they argue about how many sheep each gets to keep for their own. Joseph is shown to be wise beyond his years as he does some simple math to divide the sheep equally ac-cording to each brothers’ inherited share. The youngest brother, Benjamin, is awed by Joseph and lets him know this on no uncertain terms. Joseph takes it all in stride and re-turns Benjamin’s affection. The two clearly have a strong bond between them, much in the same way that their father Jacob seems to favor Joseph over the rest of his sons.
At dinner that night, Joseph tells his family about a dream he had where they all bowed down to him. This only causes Jacob to admire his son more, but his brothers are less than impressed. One day while Joseph and his brothers are away from home, they decide to get rid of him. After knocking him unconscious, a traveling caravan finds Joseph and bargains with the brothers to purchase him as a slave. When Joseph wakes, he finds him-self in a slave market and sold to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s aids. Potiphar gets angry and collapses in heart-attack fashion. Joseph miraculously knows exactly what to do to save him, and this endears him to Potiphar so that he is treated better than an average slave.
Joseph’s intelligence and talent for making fine wine draw the attention of Pharaoh and the favor of Potiphar. However, Potiphar’s wife is attracted to Joseph and tries to seduce him on multiple occasions, which eventually leads to Joseph’s arrest after he turns her down, and she falsely accuses him of attempted rape. Joseph’s stint in prison leads to him meeting the right Egyptian officials who eventually recommend him to interpret Phar-aoh’s dreams. Though he gives God all the credit, Joseph is the only one who understands the meaning of the dreams, and Pharaoh promotes him to oversee the daily operations of his rule, particularly preparing for the severe famine that Joseph warned was coming. When it does come, Joseph’s family back in Canaan must travel to Egypt and beg for food, unknowingly bowing before their brother just as he’d predicted so many years be-fore.
Like many biblical films from this era, JOSEPH & HIS BRETHREN isn’t extremely con-cerned about historical accuracy. Some of the costuming has hints of 1950s styles, par-ticularly the tight fitting evening gown-like dresses that a few of the women wear. The Egyptian costuming stems in large part from the imagination of the production designer, but it looks Egyptian enough to pass the eye test of the average viewer. Much of the dia-logue is very campy. Potiphar is there primarily for comedic relief, playing part bumbling idiot and part spoiled brat. This makes the movie come across as almost vaudevillian in some scenes, which is a stark contrast to the seriousness of the story. Still, it offers a glimpse into what it might have been like for Joseph and brings the story to life in a way that is more engaging than simply reading words on a page.
The main thing to be aware of with this version of the story is that it isn’t completely ac-curate according to the biblical account. It is obvious that parts of the movie were cut out completely either for decency’s sake or to cover up some of the liberties taken by the writers. Most of the inaccuracies do not affect the main story and should be expected since most films based on true events tend to alter things for entertainment value. Al-though there is a fair amount of violence, it is nothing very graphic. A few of the back-ground actors wear skimpy outfits that are a little too revealing. Potiphar’s wife also comes onto Joseph in several scenes and tries to get him to sleep with her, eventually ac-cusing him of attempted rape. Caution is recommended for young children.