Friday, April 3, 2015

The Ten Commandments (1956)

Happy Easter/Passover, everyone! (Please click the link to read my review of The Long Good Friday)

Biblical Movie #1

Synopsis: Privileged prince gives up the good life to become intolerant religious nutjob. 

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “For sheer pageantry and spectacle, few motion pictures can claim to equal the splendor of C.B. DeMille’s 1956 remake of his epic The Ten Commandments.” 

What Did I Learn?: God isn’t very nice, and it’s a really bad idea to piss him off. 


Really?: 1) Funny how this movie takes place in the Middle East, and nobody looks even remotely Middle Eastern. 2) So, was there some legitimacy to the Egyptian religion? It foretold the coming of the Deliverer, and the court magicians were also able to turn their staffs into serpents. 3) Wow…Sephora makes a really unconvincing ‘heel turn’ near the end, doesn’t she? 4) So, Moses discovers the truth about his birth, and then completely abandons his Egyptian upbringing in order to live as a slave? 5) Let me see…this movie was already three hours and 40 minutes long, and somebody decided that it really needed a short appearance by an old guy in a suit. 5) I have to wonder: was Ramses the dumbest Pharaoh to ever rule Egypt? His army was stopped by a pillar of fire, and he personally witnessed the parting of the Red Sea and he still commanded them to chase the Israelites? 6) Why in the world did the Israelites allow Dathan to join them in the Exodus, or listen to him about the golden calf? He was a slave-driver, for crying out loud!! 7) How does Moses get so many audiences with Ramses? Come to think of it, how does he get away with sassing the supreme leader of Egypt without getting executed? He was banished, and told never to return. 8) So, um… are Ramses and Sephora brother and sister?

Rating: While I’m generally a sucker for old movies, The Ten Commandments is one of those films from the 1950s that hasn’t aged very well. Clocking in at 219 minutes, The Ten Commandments is far too long, the acting is terrible, and I had a great deal of trouble believing the basic storyline. (I realize TTC is based upon the Old Testament, as well as the works of several ancient historians, but I have to wonder what sort of liberties DeMille took in order to make it audience-friendly). 5.5/10 stars.

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