- The Ten Commandments (1956) 1080p
The Ten Commandments (1956) 1080p
- Paramount Pictures Company:
- G Rated:
- IMDB link IMDB:
- 05 Oct 1956 Released:
- 30 Mar 1999 DVD Release:
- N/A Box office:
- Dorothy Clarke Wilson, J.H. Ingraham Writer:
- Cecil B. DeMille Director:
- N/A Website:
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For those of us who saw “The Ten Commandments” on the big screen and in one of the now extinct gilded movie palaces of yesteryear, the picture holds special memories. There is a sense of nostalgia that accompanies any new viewing of this one-of-a-kind Victorian pageant. For many, I’m sure, the nostalgia extends beyond the film itself.
There were problems in the mid-fifties, as in every decade since the real Moses came down from Mount Sinai. Polio, the continuing menace of poverty, the material and spiritual separateness of what we called “colored people”, Communism, etc. But . . . there were virtues too, many reflected in the writing and performances of “The Ten Commandments”: Virtues like courage, strength of character, personal honor, and endurance were paramount (no pun intended). The biggest problem in schools was students chewing gum in class. Today, it’s students “shooting-up” in parking lots or shooting down their classmates in the halls. . . America had an identity then.
DeMille’s vision was, always, of “an ideal”. He painstakingly produced authentic looking packages in which to wrap his vision — embellished by the “glitz” of what was, then, the “ideal” Hollywood portrait: Bluer than blue skies; shimmering, jewel-encrusted costumes; out-sized architecture; dramatically convenient thunderbolts; and perfectly lovely female leads, with make-up invariably and predictably un-smudged. DeMille gave his audience what they expected from an “A” picture. He wasn’t interested in realism. His idea was to reinforce values he’d learned from his parents and his brother (a noted playwright) in a dramatic format which could be “felt” by young and old, alike . . . more a reverence for time-honored principles than the analytical, ironic, and questioning approach dominant in the films of today. There was in the 50’s and the 40’s a more amicable attitude toward “orthodoxy” — in all its forms. Hence, the overwhelming popularity of every DeMille production released during that period.
After fifty years, “The Ten Commandments” is still impressive visually, dramatically, and especially in terms of the intensity of its convictions (reflected in all the biographies of the principals) . . . something which cannot be said of many similar big-budget pictures of the same era.
One day, someone may attempt a re-make. Expect that it will be visually impressive and less “stagy”. But . . . expect, as well, that it will be punctuated with the obligatory mandates of political correctness; an uncertainty about its message; and a healthy dose of Twenty-First Century cynicism. It will be more “realistic” to be sure, but far less “authentic” — like a perfume ad, physically attractive, but without a “heart”.
This was the first movie I ever saw at the drive-in. I was only 6 at the time but I can remember the neighbors taking me to see this, snuggled up in pajamas and stuffed in the back seat. The parting of the Red Sea waters, the turning of the staff to a viperous snake, the green-colored pestilence of death seeping into the homes of every first-born, the creation of the tablets, the burning bush, the booming narrative. I sat in absolute silence and wonderment. This is my first remembrance of any kind of movie-making and the Oscar-winning visual effects and vivid pageantry are still pretty amazing, even by today’s standards.
Charlton Heston, the icon of biblical story-telling, still towers over anybody who has ever TRIED to played Moses before or since. Stalwart and stoic to a fault, he possess THE look…cut out of pages of my old religious instructions book….the look that radiates magnificence and glory…the look of a man who has definitely seen God. His commanding stature and voice with its slow, deliberate intonation is eerie and unmatched. Yul Brynner portrays Ramses II as if he were the King of Siam in Egyptian pants. Nobody poses or plays majestic like Yul. He’s forceful, regal, imperious…everything a biblical foe should be. Anne Baxter as the tempting Nefretiri, Queen of Egypt, borders on total camp in her role, her stylized line readings and breathy allure is laughable now, with posturings and reaction shots not seen since Theda Bara. But who cares? Baxter provides the most fun and its her florid scenes that I now look most forward to whether she’s throwing herself at the totally disinterested Moses or verbally sparring with Ramses, slyly pushing his emotional buttons. She alone puts the “k” in kitsch. The rest of the huge cast is appropriately stiff and solemn.
DeMille’s 1923 original version of “The Ten Commandments” is hardly subtle as well, but still impressive and certainly worth a look. In the 1956 remake, DeMille organizes a cavalcade of thousands to lend authenticity to the massive exodus scenes, while the ultimate picture-perfect frame for me is the three beautiful slave extras posing exotically and dramatically on a rock in front of a vivid blue-gray backdrop of furious, threatening clouds as Moses parts the sea. That vision alone is one for the books.
Whenever I am tempted to break a commandment or embrace that golden calf, I know I’ll always have to answer to Charlton glaring down from Mt. Sinai ready to throw those heavy tablets at me for my transgression. Charlton not only sets you straight, he makes you BELIEVE!
1. When casting the role of Moses, Charlton Heston was chosen above all others including Bert Lancaster, not because of his knowledge of the Bible, but of his striking Physical resemblance to Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses especially the facial structure not to mention the stout build of a prince.
2. The sets for the film were specially designed and the splendour of ancient Egypt in all its glory was recreated especially for this movie.
3. The role of Rameses II was given to Yul Brynner after DeMille observed his magnificent performance as the King of Siam in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I, confirming that he is well suited for a stubburn and malificent heir to the Egyptian throne.
It was not only Heston as Moses who made this movie a success, but all the elements that came together, the cast of thousands, the special effects,the costumes, the sets and most of all the simply unbelievable “parting of the red sea”.
It is a wonder why this movie only received one oscar; that of the Special effects, yet I think it deserved alot more. It did not even strike at the box office. Even then it never fails to enchant millions, no matter what religion they follow. Movies like THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and it success in the hearts of millions, shows quite clearly that a movie, in order to be loved by millions the world over, does not necessarily have to strike gold at the box office.
To watch this film, you don’t have to believe in God, but if you believe in good triumphing over evil and freedom from slavery of foreign masters, then this is the movie for you.
In his first epic role, Charlton Heston is cast as Lord Moses, prince of Egypt, son of the pharaoh’s sister…
As a true prince, he saves a slave’s life; as a great prince, he gives the priest’s grain to the slaves and one day in seven to rest; as a man of justice, he confronts Nefretiri with a piece of Hebrew cloth, the key to his origin; as a warrior and in excellent physical condition, he kills a tough and cruel master builder; as a courageous Hebrew, son of slaves, he tells the pharaoh: “It would take more than a man to lead the slaves from bondage, but if I could free them, I would!” As a man of prowess, he shows his latest methods of combat when he takes on the shepherds and routed them; as God’s torch, he proves to be the Deliverer of the Hebrews, their prophet and leader; as the Lawgiver of the Covenant, he is the founder of the community; and as interpreter of “The Ten Commandments,” he is an organizer and legislator…
Yul Brynner is superb as Rameses, the rival of Moses… His arrogance and swaggering snobbery are well represented… Brynner delivers an intelligent cynical role… Regarding himself as divine, he rejects the demand of this unknown God and responds by increasing the oppression of the Hebrews…
Anne Baxter is Nefretiri, the sensual princess who leaves her scar upon Moses’ heart… Nefretiri is beautiful as a jewel, and her eyes green as the Cedars of Lebanon… For Moses, she is always ready to lie, to kill and betray… She is selfish in her life as certainly in her love…
Edward G. Robinson plays Dathan, the chief Hebrew overseer who confessed to Rameses: “Give me my freedom and I’ll give you the scepter. Give me the water girl Lilia and I’ll give you the princess your heart’s desire.” As a treacherous overlord, he charges to the people yelling: “Go where? To drown in the sea?”
Yvonne De Carlo plays Sephora, the midnight shepherdess to whom Moses is wed… Sephora couldn’t fill the emptiness of Moses’ heart, but promised not to be jealous of the memory…
John Derek is Joshua, the stone cutter, who is totally convinced that Moses is God’s Messenger…
Debra Paget plays the delicate flower who quench the thirst of the working slaves… For her the hour of deliverance will never come…
Sir Cedric Hardwicke plays Sethi, the mighty Pharaoh, whose words to his son mark great significance: “Who would take a throne by force that he has earned by deeds?”
Nina Foch plays Bithiah, pharaoh’s sister, who discovers the basket in which Moses has just floated down the Nile…
Vincent Price plays Baka the sadistic, covetous, murderous whip-wielding slave-driver…
“The Ten Commandments” is filled with tremendous special effects: Moses’s staff turns to a snake; Moses turning the Nile to blood; the Passover of the Angel of Death striking all the Egyptian first-born; the tremendous pillar of fire which halts Rameses’ men; the Exodus from Egypt; the parting of the Red Sea; and the delivery of the “Laws of life, and right, and good, and evil.”
The relationship between God and man is the powerful drama in our world… Moses is ‘every man,’ in his pride and humility, in his courage and prowess, in his love and hatred, in his weakness and confusion,in his conduct and ability…
DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” is a moving story of the spirit of freedom rising in a man under the divine inspiration of his Maker… It is a remarkable spectacle with great music, filled with exceptional setting and decor…
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