Some years ago my father, Richard Fleischer, was directing the movie “Barabbas” in Rome. One of the most dramatic scenes of the movie was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. At the time that my father was preparing to shoot that scene, a total eclipse of the sun was scheduled to occur at nearby Sienna.
Being an adventurous and creative soul, my father moved the entire company to Sienna to shoot that scene during the total solar eclipse, something that no one had ever done before.
This being the first time, nobody had a clue how to light the set. Using their best guesses, my father and the director of photography set up three cameras each with different settings, crossed their fingers and waited for the sun to almost completely disappear, at which point my father yelled “action.”
The world darkened, a strange and eerie light embraced the assembled crew and, against this backdrop the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was re-enacted. The filmmakers’ guesses turned out to be correct, and one of the most uniquely beautiful motion picture scenes came into being.
We just had to share this fascinating post from the website dedicated to the work and life of Max Fleischer's son, and famed movie director, Richard Fleischer! Richard's son, and the President and CEO of Fleischer Studios, Mark Fleischer, recounts this riveting story from the 1961 set of Barabbas -
You can check out the amazing eclipse footage in this scene from Barabbas here!