|Title||:||The Ten Commandments (1956)|
|Stars||:||Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, Debra Paget, John Derek, Cedric Hardwicke, Nina Foch, Martha Scott, Judith Anderson|
|Overview||:||The Ten Commandments (1956) : Escaping death, a Hebrew infant is raised in a royal household to become a prince. Upon discovery of his true heritage, Moses embarks on a personal quest to reclaim his destiny as the leader and liberator of the Hebrew people.|
(The King of Egypt - with his sword drawn - and his Queen, together, converse about killing Moses, servant of the Most High God) ... Queen Nefretiri: 'Bring it back to me, stained with his blood!' Pharoah Rameses: 'I will... to mingle with your own!' Inspired by the Book of Exodus, this Cecil B. DeMille-directed, Academy Award-winning biblical epic, the seventh most successful film of all-time, needs no further analysis. Among the undisputed, where exceptionally classic one-liners are concerned, The Ten Commandments is a timeless generational masterpiece, and a National Film Registry-honored landmark of the Hollywood cinema industry ... Period. Five out of five glittering stars.
His God "is" God! The Ten Commandments is at the top end of Hollywood historical epics. It was to be Cecil B. DeMille's last ever directing assignment and he bows out with a gargantuan epic that to this day stands as a testament to his brilliant talent as one of the masters of epic film making. The story cribs from a number of biblical sources, some of which are hokum and not to be taken as a religio lesson, but basically it tells the tale of Moses (Charlton Heston) and how he came to lead the Israelites to their exodus from Egypt - culminating in his delivering of God's own Ten Commandments to the people. No expense is spared, with a top line ensemble cast being joined by over 25,000 extras. The wide-screen special effects work dazzles the eyes, the direction of ginormous crowd sequences impressive, and an ebullient spectacle is never far away in what is a picture running at three hours thirty minutes (add ten for the glory of an intermission). It would have been easy for the cast to get lost amongst such a large scale production, but the principals shine bright and make telling characteristic marks. Heston was born for the Moses role, Yul Brynner absolutely excels as Moses' silky and sulky nemesis - Rameses, Anne Baxter gives Nefretiri a beauteous and villainous twin arc, which in turn is counterpointed by Yvonne De Carlo's sultry yet homely Sephora (wife of Moses). Elsewhere we get Debra Paget filling out a trio of gorgeous lady stars, where as Lilia she does determined and heartfelt oomph as a woman yearning to be freed from male dominance. Edward G. Robinson (Dathan) and Vincent Price (Baka) camp it up and have a good time, while Cedric Hardwicke (Sethi) turns in a heartfelt old Pharaoh and John Derek as Joshua, Moses' underling, does surprisingly well given the enormity of the character trajectory. As the music (Elmer Bernstein) swirls and thunders we are treated to Loyal Griggs' colour photography that pings out the screen and brings to life expert costuming. John Fulton's special effects work won him the Academy Award, and even though a couple look creaky these days, they all still today hold great entertaining spectacle worth. While the sheer gusto of the performances overcomes some less than stellar dialogue. Lavish yet vulgar, hokey yet magnificent, this maty not be the greatest historical epic ever made, but it booms loud and proud and is an utter joy for like minded fans of the genre's output. 9/10