The 1959 MGM Ben-Hur has been called “the most honored film of all time.” The winner of an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards, director William Wyler’s epic won virtually every international “best picture” award, was seen by millions around the globe, and earned MGM tens of millions of dollars.
On July 26 at 7 p.m., Ben-Hur expert Dr. Howard Miller will visit the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum to deliver a lecture entitled “The 1959 Ben-Hur: A New Tradition Begins.”
Dr. Miller’s lecture will analyze the ways in which Wyler, a celebrated director of intimate chamber movies (Mrs. Miniver, Wuthering Heights, and The Letter), demonstrated that a thrilling and spectacular blockbuster could have, at its vital center, a compelling tale of affecting human relationships. And it will focus on the novel’s villain, the Roman Messala, who will be at the center of the new tradition that the 1959 Ben-Hur inaugurated and that continues to this day. The lecture will conclude with 20 minutes of film clips from the 1959 epic.
Dr. Miller's lecture ties in with the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum's annual exhibit, Lights, Camera, Epic! Ben-Hur on Screen and Beyond. The exhibit discusses the four motion pictures made of Ben-Hur—in 1907, 1925, 1959, and 2016—as well as other adaptations, marketing, and the continued legacy of Lew Wallace’s epic novel.
A dynamic speaker and award-winning educator, Dr. Miller is a leading scholar on Ben-Hur and Lew Wallace's life. A native Texan, he taught at the University of Texas at Austin for 40 years, retiring in 2011. During his time at UT Austin, he was instrumental in founding the university's department of Religious Studies. He has been involved with the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum since 2000 and is a regular Title Sponsor for the museum's annual TASTE of Montgomery County fundraiser.
Lecture attendance is free and open to the public, however space is limited, so reservations are required. Programs are held in the ADA-accessible Carriage House. To RSVP or for more information call Larry Paarlberg at (765) 362-5769 or email