So this past Sunday I decided to celebrate Easter/Passover in the best way I could think of. Going to the movies to see the rerelease of The Ten Commandments for it’s 60th anniversary.
It originally came out on October 5th 1956, but as I will be doing Horrorfest, and they rereleased it this week, I felt it was better to review now.
This was actually my first time watching the film.
I know? How could a cinephile like me miss it? Well my mom tried to get me to watch it with her back when I was five, but my attention span was strong enough. Since then I never got around to seeing it. However, it was sooooo amazing I just can’t believe I missed viewing it before.
This movie is what The Price of Egypt is based on, but it is waaaaaay better. The tried to carefully follow the story in the bible along with other historical documents. The special effects they had were amazing for the time, the sets magnificent, and the actor unbelievable.
The film took four years to make, 13 million dollars, and was Cecille B. DeMille’s last film.
Every year since 1973, ABC airs this film on Easter, or Passover. In 1999, when they chose not to they received so many irate phone calls from people than they have for any other film they have ever telecast. I will say I think it has become my new Easter tradition.
This film was the highest grossing film, after Gone With the Wind (1939), until The Sound of Music (1965). It was the highest grossing religious film until The Passion of the Christ (2004). This is currently the 7th highest grossing film of all time.
So we have the two main leads who were just phenomenal. First we have Yul Brynner as Rameses II, the pharaoh believed to live at the time of Moses. Brynner played the role as a jealous brother, which some may think Ralph Fiennes was better and more brotherly, but I think it was spot on. For those who don’t know history, the game of who would get the throne could get ugly.
The Pharaoh would typically marry his nearest female relation to keep the blood pure; and then marry other wives/concubines. The wives and kids would battle each other in order to gain favor and the throne. In fact Rameses II had over 100 children, outlived most of his children due to their killing each other, and their mothers plots against each other (plus a few accidental deaths and illnesses.)
When Brynner found out he would be playing against Charlton Heston, he really worked out in order to prove that he deserved the role
And then we have the very hunky Charlton Heston. I mean you look at him and hear his voice, and you can see why every girl wanted him.
Not only did he make Moses a total action hero; but also presented the spiritual side beautifully.
Heston wasn’t the original choice, but was later picked because he bore a similarity to Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses.
And let’s not forget that Vincent Price is the amazing, sinister, and sleazy master builder. Even if his character is horrible, I love him.
The rest of the actors were just as good; along with the sets, and the extravagant costumes. This was just a phenomenal film that everyone needs to view at least once in their lives.
For more anniversary posts, go to We Wish You a Merry Christmas
For more on Cecil B. DeMille and Charlton Heston, go to The Greatest Show on Earth
For more Vincent Price, go to A Man Without a Face: The Bat (1959)