Out of this World

Registered: 17th April 1962
Duration: 27 minutes
Feet: 2430 feet
Board of Trade Certificate number: ​BE/E27326
Distributed by: United Artists
Production Company: Harold Baim Film Productions (London) Limited

More Film Stills: ​at baimfilms.com (opens in new window)
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Israel is explored in depth in this film in the form of a trilogy, travelling the length and breadth of this remarkable country from the Negev Desert to the bustling cities of Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv described by Ray Orchard, Dame Flora Robson and David Jacobs.  Apart from the remarkable scenery and magnificent sights of the cities, the film also tells the story of Jesus and the archaeological ruins that are his legacy.  

With the voices of: David Jacobs, Ray Orchard and Flora Robson
Director of Eastmancolour Photography : Eric R Owen
Research: G Montack
Recordists: T Meyers and Y Scarlett

Musical Arrangement: Inter Art
Editor: Peter Vincent
Associate Producer:: Paul Weld Dixon

Produced and Directed by: Harold Baim


Ray Orchard:
From today to yesterday by jet. From the 20th century back thousands of years to a country where the saying that the past is ever present was never more true.

I flew to Israel. I flew to adventure. For I was seeking the wide-open spaces and found them, when I landed at Eilat on the Red Sea.

Located at the most southerly part, only nine miles wide, backed by 200 miles of the Negev desert, Eilat is almost like a Western American frontier town. Yes, it was the wide-open spaces I came to see, and as I drove into the heart of them, a strange, inexplicable feeling of awe and wonderment came over me. I felt two feet tall, so dwarfed was I by the sights that met my eyes.

Very few people have seen the Pillars of Amram. They've been here since the beginning of time. I called out and heard my voice echoing and re-echoing across this fantastic part of the earth.

Northwards from Eilat at a place called Timna stand the copper mines of King Solomon. Here, the earth is strewn with copper bearing rock. Here the sun beats down mercilessly. Here the waters turn green.

And suddenly, in the middle of this inhospitable but thrilling desert, an oasis comes into view. People are not far away.

The people are Bedouin. 15,000 of them live and work in the desert and nearby. Friendly and hospitable, they made me welcome. And when the time came to say goodbye, it was the Sheikh himself who bade me Godspeed.

The vigorous desert capital is Beersheba, a town of 50,000 inhabitants. Gateway to the desert and a fantastic mixture of ancient and modern.

I was a little sorry to leave this magnificent part of Israel, where everything I looked at seemed to have the effect of routing me to the spot. Almost 1500 feet below sea level is the Dead Sea, the lowest point in the world. Where the water is so full of chemicals that you can just lie on its surface and float. Nothing can live in these waters, and if you bathe in them, then dry in the sun, you find your body caked in salt.

All around is moon country, hills and valleys bleached white by the penetrating rays of the sun.

In my search for the wide-open spaces, I went north to the Hula Valley. What had changed from the desert lands I found there? Only a few years ago there was nothing here but malarial swamps and marshes. Villages have sprung up, subtropical plants, dense thickets of reeds, sometimes 15ft high, abound, and bird sanctuaries are here, where once it was too dangerous for men to approach.

Lake Hula was called, in the days of the Bible, the Waters of Merom. Today, the valley is a monumental part of a land flowing with milk and honey. Dates dangle from the palm trees. Corn covers the fields. Grapes grow in profusion. Lemons luscious in their size. Banana plantations in their thousands, and orange groves steeped in sweet scented blossoms are everywhere. I shall never forget it, will you? We came to see different things, and you must have been as enchanted as I was.

Flora Robson:
Yes, Ray Orchard, I was enchanted from the very beginning, but for a different reason. Look what happened to me on my first day.

Just like being back home, you know, the charming policeman telling you just where you went wrong.

Ray Orchard:
But you were given a ticket just the same.

Flora Robson:
Yes, I bet I was. Oh, well, yes, we came to see different things. I came to bring history and the Bible to life in my mind. Above the valley of Jezreel, I found Megiddo, which dates back to the 14th century before Christ. It was here that King Solomon built a city. The ruins of his stables can still be seen.

As I stood at the entrance to the catacombs at Beit She'arim, 20km from Haifa, it was like standing on the threshold of two worlds, that of the living and that of the dead. Above were the richly cultivated fields, below the halls and chambers carved from the solid rock by men who lived 1700 years ago. The austere grace of the burial places of scholars and wise men takes hold of you as you move through them.

Still they dig. How many years back will they go? What new hidden mysteries will they find?

On my way to Caesarea, I saw the new golf course. Absolutely magnificent.

I could hardly believe that a stone's throw away was this. Caesarea, built by Herod the Great in honour of his patron, Augustus Caesar.

A quarter of a million people lived here once, where Pontius Pilate had his palace and where Saint Paul was brought before the Roman governor.

The greatest excavators of all time, ants! Perhaps we humans learn something from them, for in another part of Caesarea, I saw some of the most amazing excavations ever. A team of Italian archaeologists were uncovering a huge Roman amphitheatre. As it was taking shape, I could hardly believe that beneath the surrounding countryside was a whole city awaiting the day it would be rediscovered.

At Beit Alfa, some of the mosaics are in a wonderful state of preservation. This flooring of an ancient synagogue bears the date 520 years after Christ.

Illustrating the signs of the zodiac, Noah and the Ark, and Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac, it's a vivid example of the art of the people of 1500 years ago. Inscriptions in Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew show the mixed culture of that bygone age.

At the foot of the mountains of Gilboa, where Saul was slain, is the Garden of The Three, dedicated to three courageous soldiers. It's a garden of peace. The very breeze seems to whisper of the days of long ago. The evidence of which is all around you.
Where is the mighty city of Capernaum, which once stood at the northern end of the Sea of Galilee? All that remains is the ruin of an old synagogue, the site of an older building in which Christ often spoke.

And through the centuries have come to us carvings in stone, including one of the Ark of the Covenant, in which the Sacred Scrolls were kept.

Once upon a time, a child was born in Bethlehem. His name was Jesus. Joseph, his father, was a carpenter. Mary was the name of his mother. The years passed and the child waxed and grew strong, until one day the family rose up and came to Nazareth, so that it should be fulfilled as the prophets had spoken, he shall be called a Nazarene.

The boy worked with his father in the carpenter's shop. His mother fetched water for the family from this very well. And so Jesus departed into Galilee, and from that time began to preach and say, ‘repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’.

And Jesus walked on the shores of Galilee and saw two brethren. Simon, called Peter, with Andrew, his brother, casting a net into the sea. For they were fishermen. ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men’. They left their nets and followed him. Jesus entered into a boat and later there arose a great storm. His disciples were frightened, saying, ‘Lord, save us, or we perish’. And Jesus said to them, why are you frightened, men of little faith? He stood up and rebuked the wind and sea. Suddenly there was calm.

Multitudes of people followed him from Galilee, from Jerusalem, from all Judea. And seeing the multitude, Jesus went up into a mountain with his disciples around him. He taught the people saying, ‘blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God’.

The people were hungry and having no more than five loaves and two fishes, Jesus took these and breaking them, gave thanks. After all had eaten, they gathered up 12 baskets full of fragments. 5000 men had eaten besides women and children.

And Jesus went all about teaching in the synagogues, preaching the gospel, healing the sick. His fame spread throughout the land.

After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and it came to pass that as he blessed them, he was parted, carried up into heaven, and seen no more on this earth.

Well, David, what did you go to find?

David Jacobs:
I'll tell you. The place does things to you.

Ray Orchard:
I know, but David Jacobs went to Israel by sea and had different ideas altogether from ours.

David Jacobs:
You know, there's something about dinner at the captain's table the night before you reach port. There's something about your fellow passengers from all walks of life. The social whirl and that ‘away from it all’ feeling.

And when at last you reach your destination, the thrill, the excitement, the anticipation.

My first impression of the country was certainly a completely different from both of yours. The first thing I saw was the magnificent view from the summit of Mount Carmel, which takes in the whole of Haifa.

Of Israel's three cities, I think Haifa is the most beautiful. Culture and elegance are found side by side with flowering trees, parks and gardens. And on the slopes of Carmel is the golden domed Baha'i Temple, dominating the city. Haifa has its share of present-day so-called necessities parking meters, office blocks, wide roads and cinemas, without which no city in the world would be complete.

He is really at home. And if you feel an intake of vitamin C is necessary, there's always someone to cater to your needs.

Across the bay came the call of the muezzin from Acre, formerly called Acre, known 2000 years before Christ. Known to Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and Napoleon. Acre is a fascinating tangle of narrow streets, squares and alleys to explore at leisure.

Before my visit to Ein Hod, I called the world famous Weitzman Institute of Science, where research for the benefit of mankind is carried out.

Perched high on a promontory overlooking the sea is Ein Hod, once a deserted Arab village earmarked for demolition. A famous painter, attracted by its infinite charm, successfully fought for its preservation. Inhabited by sculptors, potters, woodcarvers and other artists, its population increasing every year, Ein Hod has become a gay colony of colourful people and the more marked of Israel.

The emblem of the Lion of Judah told me I was approaching the holy city, Jerusalem. In which city is situated the famous new university. Its faculties are known all over the world, and from the world over, come its intake of professors and students.

Natives of the country are known as Sabras, named after the prickly pear cactus of that name. I met two Sabras whilst in Jerusalem and they took me around this beautiful historic city.

I saw the parliament buildings where the laws of the Israel of today are made.

We climb to a vantage point from which we looked out over the old city. Strange indeed to remember that Jerusalem was inhabited in the Stone age.

A gift from Great Britain, this huge bronze candelabra stands outside Parliament for all to see.

I like a parade as much as anybody. The Independence Day celebrations were really something to see. The country is all fete, and when night falls in every town and village there's dancing under the velvet Mediterranean sky until dawn.

Down I went through the hills of Judea, where David slew Goliath. Down to Tel Aviv, 3000ft below Jerusalem.

I admit, I didn't come to Israel for the same reasons as Flora Robson and Ray Orchard. It was fun and relaxation, I thought. There was no shortage of it either. The wonderful climate, golden beaches, modern hotels ensured that what I was seeking, I would find. To think that a land so steeped in the past could offer me amenities of the 20th century. You seem to step from one world into another within minutes.

Northeast of Tel Aviv is Tiberius.

As I sat in a cafe beside the waters of Galilee, I couldn't help recalling how these shores were the background to some of the most beautiful stories from the Gospels. Here the sun shines the whole year through.

Here, hot water gushes from the earth at the site of the old baths, which date from before the time of the Romans. And now, the new thermal baths are famous for their curative powers.

People passed looking as if they'd stepped right out of the pages of the Bible.

A little of Paris, a slice of New York, that's Tel Aviv, the most densely populated of Israel cities. Gay, enchanting, this pulsating seaside resort has a rhythm which gets right under your skin.

In the wide thoroughfares which remind me of the boulevards of Paris, outdoor cafes abound where you have your drink and watch the world go by. Tel Aviv is a metropolis where west meets east by day, and, by night, when the lights spring to life, signs dancing and beckoning in a blaze of electric glory.

At a club in Jaffa, Tel Aviv's next door neighbour, I spent the last evening of my memorable stay in Israel.

Ray Orchard:
It was memorable for me too, in perhaps quite a different way from yours.

Flora Robson:
What I saw was as different again. I shall think about it always. The Bible was brought to life for me in a way I should never have believed possible.

David Jacobs:
For me, I'll take Tel Aviv, and enchanting Tiberius. Oh, those wonderful, relaxing days. The strangeness of Acre. Haifa. Indeed, all of it was out of this world.

[End - Credits]