Ever seen a film that logically shouldn’t be good, but it’s mesmerising? Then watch The Ten Commandments.
Another film I sat down with the family to watch, this was 4 or so hours well spent. The combination of Yul Brynner, Charlton Heston and Vincent Price trying to sound louder and more dramatic than the other in a majestic Egyptian setting is something to behold. Credit to Vincent Price for portraying his character with such precision you forget he’s an actor and not a snake-like advisor. I found myself sucked in to the plight of Moses.
Some of the most powerful scenes were during the building of the pyramids, seeing slave master whip slave. Every lash of the whip really makes you wince and I found myself elated when Heston gets the balls to stand up to one. Another scene to watch for is the old woman who is stuck. Some fantastic acting from Heston at this point.
Despite its length, Cecil DeMille ensures that the audience is kept going by the visual feast of enormous scenery and background. Though barely filmed in Egypt, you would not believe for the most part it is in a sound stage. Incredible detail is put into the scenery and landscape. Even the slave pits are not some template pit, but have a memorable layout. However, this is dwarfed by the scene with the Red Sea. Truly the highlight of the film, this scene does use some lame effects, even by the fifties standards, but by this point you can forgive them because of the chase build up. Even today, its astounding to see the ocean part in such a powerful angle to Heston’s shown off physique.
The only downside to this film is that it is quite predicatable in places, but perhaps due to the amount of films with a unknowing bad guy turning good plot line, this could feel a little outdated. However, on the whole, a brilliant effort from DeMille and very well done to the main cast who drive this performance to a very satisfying conclusion.