The Ten Commandments (1956)


“Nothing from some… is more than gold from others.” – Sephora

Number of Times Seen – Between 3-5 times (TV in the 80’s and 90’s and 1 Dec 2017)

Brief Synopsis – Epic story of the life of Moses who was saved as a child from the decree of the Pharaoh, grew up in the palace as a Prince and eventually became the deliver of the People of Israel from the bondage of Egypt by the Hand of God.

My Take on it – When Cecile B. DeMille made a film, he always did it in epic fashion and this film is no exception to that rule.

Most people know the general story told here about the redemption of the Israelite slaves from the Egyptian Pharaoh which is recounted in the Bible.

I’m not going to get into any religious commentary here and just look at this from the standpoint of telling a historical tale.

DeMille is able to take a story told over just a few chapters and expand it to a near 4 hour epic film that is able to fill in many of the blanks of plot points that are skipped over or omitted from the original text.

Charleton Heston proved with this film how great an actor he can be when portraying epic historical figures and for most of his career, he became known as the go-to guy for these kind of roles.

Yul Brynner is equally great as the Egyptian King Ramses II who is adamant not to allow the slaves to be freed.

Having these two amazing powerhouse actors playing against each other is a sight to see and that makes for even more tension in the way the film progresses.

It took DeMille quite a long time (33 years to be exact) to finally get his full vision of this film put to the screen.

His 1923 version is suppose to be quite good, but this was his definite vision of how the film should be.

For the mid-1950’s, the special effects are quite amazing and its amazing to watch how they were able to achieve so many of the effects for this kind of film.

They won an Oscar for Best Special Effects for this film which includes the parting of the Red Sea which many people are familiar with after having visited Universal Studios.

This film was nominated for a total of 7 Oscars, but only managed the win for Effects.

It was nominated for Best Picture and eventhough I’m not sure it should be the ultimate winner of the five films nominated, it was much better than Around the World in 80 Days (1956).

Bottom Line – Amazing epic film about a story that most people know in general, but the 4 hour version helps fill in many of the blanks. Heston proved with this film that he was truly the go-to actor for playing epic historic figures and that would end up being his calling sign for many years to come. Brynner is equally as great as Ramses and just having these two powerhouse actors in scenes together is so enjoyable to watch. DeMille does a superb job with this film and it is probably his greatest achievement because it took him so long to get the full version that he envisioned get made. The special effects are quite spectacular to watch and for it’s time, they are truly visionary. Definetly deserving of its 7 Oscar nominations which included Picture but it is a better film than the ultimate winner Around the World in 80 Days (1956). Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – When Yul Brynner was told he would be playing Pharaoh Rameses II opposite Charlton Heston’s Moses, and that he would be shirtless for a majority of the film, he began a rigorous weightlifting program because he didn’t want to be physically overshadowed by Heston. This would explain his buffer-than-normal physique during The King and I (1956), the film he made just after this one. Heston would later submit that Brynner gave the best performance in the film. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy

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6 thoughts on “The Ten Commandments (1956)

  1. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Picture – Oscars 1956 |

  2. Great review of one of my favorite movies. Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Edward G. Robinson, Anne Baxter and Yvonne de Carlo are all amazing, as are the effects, costumes and production design. DeMille was a great showman! This movie looks great in Blu Ray!!

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1956 |

  5. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1956 | MovieRob

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