The Ten Commandments/B+,B+
Paramount/1956/220m/WS 1.85
     You know you are in for a different experience when director Cecil B. DeMille steps from behind a grand curtain to introduce The Ten Commandments. DeMille's portentous introduction announces big movie with his every stodgy syllable. DeMille's films have never been noted for their subtlety, but this moviemaker really knows how to put on a big show. He even manages to get in on the act as the all powerful narrator.
tencommandments.jpg (25918 bytes)

Moses and the royals. ©Paramount

       The Ten Commandments traces the bible in high comic book style with fantastic sets and Technicolor to match. From the baby Moses floating down the Nile to Moses conferring with God on Mount Sinai amidst lightning fingers carving out the tablets with God's word, DeMille plants his cameras firmly. The special effects were quite something for their day. The parting of the Red Sea is still exciting and for some reason I am especially partial to the effect of turning the Nile River red.
     Remember, this depiction of The Ten Commandments is show business DeMille style. If some of the actor's seem stiff is delivering their lines, what can you expect from Anne Baxter when she he to sigh "Oh Moses, Moses", three or four times during the movie. Even Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Sethi gets in a "Moses, Moses," and Yul Brynner not only lives through three hours plus before Moses parts the Red Sea, but he also gets to say "Oh Moses, Moses."
     You've got to give Charlton Heston a lot of credit. No matter what lines the writers give him to deliver he seems to make it work. Heston is bigger than life and whether posing as Moses the warrior or incanting God's words as Moses the leader of the Jews, Heston is convincing. Yul Brynner can do some posing himself. Brynner's petulant yet confident Rameses is an entertaining foil for Heston. Sir Cedric Hardwicke does not seem remotely regal as Pharaoh Sethi and Anne Baxter's sexual appetites as Nefretiri are as obvious as her overacting. Edward G. Robinson is surprisingly convincing and conniving in an unusual costume role as Dathan, the Jewish overseer. Despite what must have been a "billion" extras building Sethi's city, I still noticed Woody Strode doing double duty in small speaking parts and I thought character H. B. Warner may has shown twice as well.
     The production design and costuming for The Ten Commandments must have been an awesome undertaking. You could almost believe that DeMille had crews out there building a new city for Heston and company. Photography is lush if static, but this production of The Ten Commandments is pure eye candy.
     Now, if you don't know what The Ten Commandments is all about you can check out one of the three trailers on this new DVD presentation that presents the film with all the spectacular aplomb that must have hallmarked its roadshow engagements. This Technicolor extravaganza is given the first rate treatment by the video guys at Paramount. The color is breathtaking. Director DeMille sprinkles his palette with every color under the sun and DVD is the medium to show it off. Intense color saturation does not lead to even slight bleeding. The anamorphic image is very sharp and jitter free save for the borders during the opening credits. Re-mixed to Dolby Digital 5:1, surround sound information is not aggressive. I was puzzled by the rather subdues voice of God speaking to Moses. I seem to remember a great deal more reverberation and bass in those scenes. Heston almost seem to be whispering. The Elmer Bernstein score sounds fresh and exciting, though I kept thinking more Miklos Rozsa than Bernstein. The Ten Commandments theme that weaves through the score is very powerful. Presented on a two dual layer disc set, The Ten Commandments breaks at Intermission.






The Feature Archive has articles ranging from Akira Kurosawa to Blonde Bimbos.

Movie Rage: Death in the Aisles
Everyone knows what it feels like to get angry at the movies these days. Here's a humorous but not so delightful view of big screen misery.

More movie links than you ever imagined.Brad Lang continues to add more interesting material to the extensive collection at Classic Movies.  Everything from actors and actress to your favorite directors is linked at the site.

News, information, features about current films in theaters and in the pipeline. Easy to use interface.

DVD Planet - your online source!
is the DVD incarnation of legendary laser retailer Ken Crane's. Deep discounts and serious service.

More movie links than you ever imagined.Brad Lang continues to add more interesting material to the extensive collection at Classic Movies.  Everything from actors and actress to your favorite directors is linked at the site.

The DVD Forum is an international association of hardware manufacturers, software firms and other users of Digital Versatile Discs (the "DVD Format"), created for the purpose of exchanging and disseminating ideas and information about the DVD Format and its technical capabilities, improvements and innovations.

The  Movie Poster Archive includes extensive poster images from the films of stars like Susan Hayward, Kirk Douglas, Katharine Hepburn and many more. Our featured star is Doris Day.