Ten Commandments, The (1956) (DVD)
Based on the Holy Scriptures, with additional dialogue by several other hands, The Ten Commandments was the last film directed by Ce cil B. DeMi lle. The story relates the life of Moses, from the time he was discovere d in the bullrushes as an infant by the pharoah's daughter, to his long , hard struggle to free the Hebrews from their slavery at the hands of t he Egyptians. Moses (Charlton Heston) starts out "in solid" as Pharoah's adopted son (and a whiz at designing pyramids, dispensing such construc tion-site advice as "Blood makes poor mortar"), but when he discovers h is true Hebrew heritage, he attempts to make life easier for his people. Banished by hi s jealous half-brother Rameses (Yul Brynner), Moses retu rns fully bearded to Pharoah's court, warning that he's had a message fr om G od and that the Egyptians had better free the Hebrews post-haste if they know what's good for them. Only after the Deadly Plagues ha ve dec imated Egypt does Rameses give in. As the Hebrews reach the Red Sea, the y discover that Rameses has gone back on his word and plans to have them all killed. But Moses rescues his people with a little Divine legerdema in by parting the Seas. Later, Moses is ag ain confronted by God on Mt. Sinai, who delivers unto him the Ten Commandments. Meanwhile, the Hebrew s, led by the duplicitous Datha n (Edward G. Robinson), are forgetting t heir religion and behaving like libertines. "Where's your Moses now?" br ays Dathan in the ma nner of a Lower East Side gangster. He soon finds o ut. A remake of his 1923 silent film, DeMille's The Ten Commandments may not be t he most subtle and sophisticated entertainment ever concocted, but it tells its story with a clarity and vitality that few Biblical sc holars have ever been able to duplicate. It is very likely the most even tful 219 minutes ever recorded to film-and who's to say th at Nefertiri (Anne Baxter) didn't make speeches like, "Oh, Moses, Moses, you splendid , stubborn, adorable fool"?