Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week. The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov, Telly Savalas, Frank Thring, Stephen Russell, Greg Hicks, Cyril Richard, Stephen Moyer, Dennis King, Keith Mitchell, Leif Erickson, Peter Firth and David Bowie may be viewed here, here, here, here here , here, here, here, here , here , here, here, here , here and here.
Actor Lowell Gilmore had the distinction of portraying Pilate three times: The Living Christ twelve part series (1951). I Beheld His Glory (1952) and Day of Triumph (1954).
In these low budget productions veteran actor Gilmore gave a fairly stolid traditional performance of Pilate as a haughty Roman magistrate who feels some sympathy for Christ, but not enough to risk a bloody riot in Jerusalem over Passover. Although an American Gilmore often played British roles in films. Being cast as Pontius Pilate carried on an unwritten rule in American Biblical and Sword and Sandal epics where haughty nobles were played by Brits and the good guys were played by Americans. The productions were notable for having the face of Christ shown, a taboo in American films up to that time. The epic Ben Hur (1956) returned to this tradition as one would expect by that master showman Cecil B. DeMille who had been making films since 1913.