"THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST" -- FACTS
Origin of the story:
Nikos Kazanizakis wrote a fictional novel, The Last Temptation of
Christ, for which he was reportedly excommunicated from the Greek
The history of the film version:
Paramount Studios dropped the project in 1983 due, in part, to
pressure from Christians. Director Martin Scorcese sold the idea to
Universal Studios and produced a 10 million dollar version, The
Passion, which was finished in June 1988.
Basis for evaluation the film's content:
The original novel, two versions of the script by Paul Schrader
(one of which was represented by Universal as the "shooting script"),
and an eyewitness account of the film as shown to Universal "insiders"
provide the basis for evaluation.
Content of the film that is offensive to Christians:
(1) Mary declares that her son, Jesus, is "crazy" and "not well in the
(2) Jesus is depicted as having "brain fever," "struggling over his
sins, "lust driven (especially for Mary Magdalene), confused,
bedeviled by "nightmares and hallucinations," not able to answer basic
questions about His identity, and shocked by His own magical powers.
(3) There are clear references to a youthful sexual encounter between
Jesus and Mary Magdalene in which Jesus did not lose his virginity.
(4) Jesus is shown waiting in line at Mary Magdalene's brothel and
entering the darkened room where she lies naked.
(5) One scene shows copulating snakes, one of which speaks to Jesus in
Mary Magdalene's voice.
(6) In a dream sequence Jesus marries Mary Magdalene and has sex with
her, kissing her on or near her breasts, as an angel is invited by
Jesus to watch.
(7) Jesus convinces Judas to betray Him.
(8) Jesus declares to Mary Magdalene, "...Woman is God's greatest
work. And I worship you. God sleeps between your legs."
Efforts to work with Universal to alter the film:
Before the contents of the film were really known, Universal
hired a film producer and film marketing expert, Mr. Tim Penland, a
believing Christian, to "build bridges to the Christian community."
Mr. Penland was joined by a "secret consultant," Dr. Larry Poland,
with expertise in the dynamics and structure of the evangelical
Christian community. Universal promised to invite Christian leaders
to a mid-June screening "far in advance of the release date" and sent
invitation letters confirming this. Martin Scorcese assured
questioners that he was making a "faith affirming" film and that Jesus
would be depicted "as sinless, as diety, and as the savior of the
world." Based on these assurances, Christian leaders agreed to "hold
their fire" on the film until its contents could be more clearly
Breakdown of relations with Universal:
As the date of the screening for Christian leaders drew near,
Universal "waffled" on its commitment. A "bootleg script" was
spirited out of Universal by a studio employee and fell into the hands
of Christian leaders. Universal execs then declared that "the
Christians can't stop us from releasing this film." Mr. Penland, true
to his original statement to Universal that he would terminate his
relationship "the minute it was determined that the film was
blasphemous to Christ or it was viewed as destructive to the cause of
Christ," resigned effective June 12, 1988.
Indications that Universal hopes to profit from
The executives at Universal decided to make prints of the film in
70 millimeter, instead of the usual 35 millimeter, so it could be
shown in the biggest theaters in America. They screened the finished
script in early June for their distribution people with indications
that they expected a box office bonanza. They are adjusting the
timing of the release apparently to capitalize on the height of the
Christian leaders have refused to attend any screening by
Universal based on the disclosures of the content. They are mounting
a nationwide effort involving hundreds of Christian groups and costing
millions of dollars to mobilize national pressure to stop the release
of the film. They don't want impressionable viewers to receive a
twisted view of Christ that will keep them from faith in the historic
* For the key figures at MCA - Universal listed below, that God will
show Himself to them in a powerful way, convincing them to kill the
* For Christians employed by various divisions of MCA - Universal that
they will have the boldness to stand against this release at every
* For judgement on those perpetrating blasphemy against our Lord.
* For protection of those who might have their faith stolen by this
* Thanking God for turning this situation into a great victory for the
2. Create pressure on key figures to stop the release -- lovingly but
firmly. Call or write more than once:
* MCA-Universal, 100 Universal City Plaza Blvd., Universal City, CA
* MCA-Universal headquarters phone: 818-777-1000
* Lew Wasserman, MCA Chairman of the Board (at Universal City)
* Sidney Sheinberg, MCA President (at Universal City)
* Tom Pollack, Chairman of the Board, Universal Pictures (at Universal
* Eugene Giaquinto, head of the home video division
* Felix G. Rohatyn, Investment Banker, MCA Director
* Robert S. Strauss, Former Chairman, National Democratic Party, MCA
* Donald Trump, New York developer, major MCA shareholder and possible
3. Contact heads of local divisions of MCA owned businesses indicating
that you will not patronize their businesses if Universal releases a
film defaming your Lord. Ask the local managers to protest the
release to the heads of MCA.
* Universal Studios Tour, restaurants, gifts shops, and hotels (at
* Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida
* Cineplex Odeon theaters nationwide
* Universal distribution centers in major cities (consult white pages)
* WWOR-TV Secaucaus, NJ
* LJN Toys
* Spencer Gifts - located in many shopping malls and retail centers
* Intrigue retail jewelry stores and kiosks
* A2Z-Best of Everything Shops
4. If the film is released, organize a prayer vigil at the theater,
witness to those attending and share materials that give the true
picture of Christ.
5. If you are an employee of MCA-Universal, protest to your superiors
about this film and, if led to do so, threaten resignation if the film
This fact sheet is provided by Mastermedia International, 2102 Palm
Ave., Highland, CA 92346, 714-864-5250. Duplicate and distribute this
Computers For Christ #14 - The Living Water BBS - Charlotte, NC
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