The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments

Director: Cecil B. DeMille Cast: Theodore Roberts, Charles de Roche, Estelle Taylor

DVD (Wide Screen / Subtitled)

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Cecil B. DeMille's first screen version of The Ten Commandments (1923) is only peripherally a Biblical story. The film's first 45 minutes recaps the struggle between Moses (Theodore Roberts) and Rameses (Charles de Roche) over the liberation of the Hebrews. Only after the Lord has imposed a series of plagues upon Egypt does Rameses relent and permit the Exodus to take place -- only to go back on his word a few moments later. The scenes of thousands of Hebrews trekking across the desert, the parting of the Red Sea (an effect accomplished in part by splitting a bowl of gelatin down the middle) and the pre-Commandments revelries before the Golden Calf -- complete with a fetchingly undressed Estelle Taylor as Miriam -- are produced on a spectacular scale ... but this is only the beginning. Just as Moses is invoking the Wrath of God upon the ungrateful Hebrews, the film dissolves to the present day (1923, that is). We are introduced to the MacTavish Family: pious, Bible-thumping Martha McTavish (Edythe Chapman) and her sons, straight-arrow John (Richard Dix) and hedonistic Dan (Rod LaRocque). Both sons love Mary Leigh (Leatrice Joy), but the roguish Dan wins out. While John continues honoring the Ten Commandments, Dan breaks as many as he can get his hands on, especially after falling under the spell of Eurasian adventuress Sally Lung (Nita Naldi). Before the uplifting climax, wherein John and Mary finally get together with (it is implied) the blessings of Heaven, we are treated to a series of disastrous plot turns, including the death of mother McTavish in a collapsing church, Sally Lung's revelation that she has leprosy, and a wild speedboat chase. All that's missing is the kitchen sink. Partially filmed in Technicolor at a then-astronomical cost of $1.2 million (a sum that caused a decade-long rift between Cecil B. DeMille and Paramount Pictures), The Ten Commandments grossed several times that amount. DeMille would remake the story in 1956, dispensing with the modern story to concentrate on the life of Moses.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/07/2017
UPC: 0032429288042
Original Release: 1923
Source: Paramount
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [Wide Screen]
Sound: [Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time: 2:16:00
Sales rank: 21,657

Special Features

Commentary by Katherine Orrison - author of "Written in Stone: Making Cecil B. DeMille's epic, The Ten Commandments"; Hand-tinted footage of Exodus and Parting of the Red Sea

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Theodore Roberts Moses
Charles de Roche Rameses, the Magnificent
Estelle Taylor Miriam, sister of Moses
Richard Dix John McTavish
Julia Faye Pharaoh's Wife
Rod La Rocque Dan McTavish
Edythe Chapman Mrs. Martha McTavish
James Neill Aaron, Brother of Moses
Lawson Butt Dathan
Clarence Burton The Taskmaster
Noble Johnson The Bronze Man
Leatrice Joy Mary Leigh
Nita Naldi Sally Lung
Robert Edeson Redding, an Inspector
Charles Ogle The Doctor
Agnes Ayres The Outcast
Terrence Moore The Son of Pharaoh
Wilson Benge Actor

Technical Credits
Cecil B. DeMille Director,Producer
Anne Bauchens Editor
Edward S. Curtis Cinematographer
Bert Glennon Cinematographer
Jack Ensley Stunts
Donald Keyes Cinematographer
Jeanie Macpherson Original Story
Jeannie Macpherson Screenwriter
J. Peverell Marley Cinematographer
Ray Rennahan Cinematographer
Claire West Costumes/Costume Designer
F.J. Westerberg Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Ten Commandments
1. Main Titles & Prologue
2. Moses, The Great Lawgiver
3. A Great Cry In Egypt
4. Exodus
5. Parting Of The Red Sea
6. Mount Sinai
7. Two Brothers
8. Mary Leigh
9. Orange Blossoms
10. Three Years Later
11. The New Church
12. Rotten Concrete
13. Sally Lung
14. A Broken Man
15. In God's Light

Customer Reviews

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The Ten Commandments 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the biggest movies ever made. Its cast is big (numerically and talent-wise), it tells a big story, it's long, it's full of grand special effects, it's written and acted in big style, and it splashes and flows with sound and color and drama. When a movie is shown annually (at least), it becomes easy to overlook. ''The Wizard of Oz'' is another picture in the same situation. Both are epic and grand, and deserve more credit than they get. ''The Ten Commandments'' tells the story of the Israelite Exodus from Egypt in as big a way as any story ever told. Try to forget this movie -- and then watch it with new eyes.