Esther (1999)

 

 

Director:  Raffaele Mertes

Starring: Louise Lombard, F. Murray Abraham, Jurgen Prochnow

Made for TV minil-series. 

 

Spoiler Warning:

Remake of the 1960 movie.  Louise Lombard, who plays Esther, is a pretty woman, but looks more like the young married lady next door.  She can't compare to Joan Collins in her youth in the other version of the movie Esther and the King (1960).  Compared to the 1960 movie, this 1999 movie goes a little bit farther with its history, that is, how all this history relates to the Jewish Festival of Purim. 

 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 


Historical Background:

 

485-465 B.C.  --  reign of Xerex I of Persia. 

Queen Vashti refuses to break social custom and appear at a wild 180-day drinking party given by King Ahaseurus (Xerxes I of Persia in history).

So the King demotes the Queen and starts a search for the most beautiful woman in the land. The search lasts for some four years.

The winner of the search is Esther, a Jewish orphan brought up by her soldier cousin, Mordecai. She is part of the Jewish minority living in Persia since the Exile.  Esther wisely does not reveal her religious background. 

Unbeknownst to the king, his chief minister, Haman, plots to destroy cousin Mordecai and then all the Jews in Persia. Esther finds out about the plot and decides to appeal to the king.  This was a dangerous course of action because addressing the King without permission or revealing the reasons for her sympathy with the Jews would mean certain death.

But the King is actually impressed with Esther's courage and he orders that Haman be hanged.  The King then makes Mordecai his chief minister. Furthermore, he also allows the Jews to defend themselves on the day of the planned Jewish massacre.

In the Festival of Purim, the Jews celebrate their delivery from massacre.  (Lots were known as purim.)  The date of the pogrom was chosen by the casting of lots.)

 

For more historical background see Esther and the King (1960).

 

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