This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, February 25, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight: "The Passion" takes America by storm. Thousands of movie-goers are flooding theaters around the world to see Mel Gibson's controversial new film, "The Passion of the Christ." In Kansas, a woman in her 50s suffered a heart attack during a morning screening. People viewing the movie said the woman collapsed during the crucifixion of Christ. The woman was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
We'll get the pope's reaction to the movie in a moment when we take you live to Rome. But first, "Time" magazine's Belinda Luscombe joins us from New York. Welcome, Belinda.
BELINDA LUSCOMBE, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Hi, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Belinda, let's hit the hot points. First of all, did you like the movie?
LUSCOMBE: "Like" is a strong word in this case. You know, I admired the movie. I admired the movie. The movie has a lot of passion. The guy is really committed to, A, movie-making, and clearly committed to his beliefs. He pulled no punches. So there was something to admire, yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: And what are people saying in terms of the accuracy, you know, how -- how much it tracks, for instance -- how it tracks the Bible?
LUSCOMBE: Well, it doesn't exactly track the Bible. I think it's closer to a Catholic understanding of the Bible. The Gospels have no mention of Jesus falling down so many times on the way to actually being crucified. And there's -- you know, there's bits where he takes a few liberties. But it's a pretty -- you know, it's pretty damn close. I mean, it doesn't have a happy ending, so...
VAN SUSTEREN: Many people are talking about the violence. Is the violence important for the mission or the -- of the point of the movie, or is it too much?
LUSCOMBE: I think -- I think Mel thought that the violence was really key. I think he thought that people have underestimated how much Christ had suffered in the last 12 hours of his life. And he really wanted to -- you know, as you know, Mel's an auteur of violence. He does it really well. We've seen it in "Braveheart." We've seen it in the "Mad Max" movies. And you know, I think he wanted to use his skills in this area to show how much Jesus suffered. So the violence -- if you don't like violence, do not go see this movie. I mean, it really is incredibly violent.
VAN SUSTEREN: And the acting? How's the acting?
LUSCOMBE: Pretty good along most fronts. You know, the person who plays Jesus is great, Jim Caviezel (ph). Maia Morgenstern (ph), who plays Mary -- I was -- I was impressed with her. And the guy who plays Pontius Pilate was -- they were the standouts. They were the three -- the three -- the best, I think.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Belinda. Stand by. We'll get back to you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Belinda, the Anti-Defamation League had hoped that Mel Gibson would put a postscript on the movie, the postscript saying that Jew were not responsible for the death of Christ, consistent, I guess, with the second Vatican. That didn't happen. Are you surprised that Mel Gibson chose not to do that?
LUSCOMBE: Oh, no. No. A guy like -- I mean, Mel Gibson, he just does exactly what he wants to do. I mean, that's what you do if you're a player in Hollywood. I think, originally, he intended to be this -- this to be an act of faith, a smaller movie -- this is what I believe, that he thought he was spending $25 million to talk about something that was very personal to him. And it sort of spun out of control.
Now, in the end, that might have helped the movie because it gave it a lot of publicity that I think a lot of people -- I mean, most people, I think, don't want to go see a movie in Aramaic of a story they already know the ending. It's the last 12 hours of Jesus' life, so it's never going to be pleasant viewing. And so I just think Mel wasn't going to listen to anybody. It took people a lot of persuading to get him to put subtitles on the movie. He was originally just leave it in Aramaic.
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