Hallmark Hall of Fame - In The Beginning


Begin with one of the oldest and greatest spiritual texts of the Western world, then bring it to television in a style relevant to a modern audience. That's exactly the kind of creative challenge upon which Hallmark Entertainment has built a worldwide reputation. The result -- the two-night television event, In the Beginning -- is a success one might call biblical in proportion. 

In The Beginning is a powerfully rendered compilation of the most enduring stories from the Old Testament -- those of the Hebrew patriarch Abraham and his lineage. 

What makes In the Beginning unique and compelling, even to the "nonreligious" viewer, is the choice by Hallmark Entertainment to focus on the real human dramas that lie beneath the theology and the myth. In this sense, In the Beginning is a fresh story of hope, faith and courage that today's audiences will discover in a new light. 

Sacrificing none of the dramatic sweep, power and passion found in the original stories, this four-hour saga starts with the "story of creation" and Abraham's call to find the Promised Land, then seamlessly weaves together the epic quest of a people as dramatized in the stories of Isaac, Rebeccah, Esau and Jacob; the remarkable rise to power of Joseph, despite having been sold into slavery by his envious brothers; Moses and the burning bush, and the origin of Passover. The story culminates with Moses's deliverance of the Ten Commandments and the liberation of the Hebrews from Egypt. Regional locations such as Morocco bring scenic authenticity to the production and provide a stunning backdrop for plenty of riveting action that will keep audiences enthralled. 

Most of all, viewers will be drawn to In The Beginning by its magnificent characters impressively portrayed by a typical Hallmark Entertainment A-list cast. Martin Landau (Abraham), Jacqueline Bisset (Sarah), Billy Campbell (Moses) and Ed Cibrian (Joseph), Jonathan Firth (Joshua) topline the epic. 

Emmy-nominated Cinesite provides world-class visual effects guaranteed to awe a 21st century audience just as the actual biblical events awed those who first witnessed them. You'll see the parting of the Red Sea, through which the Hebrews escape the Pharoah's army; the storm of locusts as foretold by Moses; the burning bush through which God speaks to Moses; the staff of Abraham (which turns into a snake whenever Moses throws it down); plus the amazing blood-red winds, hailstorms and twisters of God's wrath. 

In the Beginning is less about a theology than it is about a code of moral and ethical laws that arise from a people seeking freedom. Throughout the interwoven stories are real passions, jealousies, betrayals, power, human failings and, of course, love. Underpinning it all is the quest for the Promised Land. And, as the story concludes with Moses handing the staff of Abraham to Aaron as they gaze upon their new land, there is a sense that a new chapter in the life of these people is just beginning. Indeed, In the Beginning ends where it began: with hope, faith and promise. A real inspiration for all who watch. 

Snaps from the show thanks to Debbie and Karen

Daily Mail Thursday, August 31, 2000 By Nigel Dempster

THE heat of Morocco almost proved too much for Colin Firth's younger brother Jonathan while filming the Biblical epic In The Beginning for American television.


Says 33-year-old Jonathan: 'I was playing an ancient-looking Joshua and had to wear this latex makeup, which took three hours to put on. I spent a lot of time in an air-conditioned caravan to stop my face melting between takes.'

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