Writers: Twas a large collaboration
Stars: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, Debra Paget, John Derek, Cedric Hardwicke, Nina Foch, Martha Scott, Judith Anderson, Vincent Price
I think critics forgive a lot of faults when it comes to epic movies. In particular, Cecil B. Demille epics. The Ten Commandments is a movie so grand in scale that people don't sweat the little stuff, and focus on the amazing special effects and cinematography. As for me, I found there were too many unforgivable problems to call this a good movie. The acting was atrocious by almost the entire cast, and the dialogue was highly laughable (for it was a terrible mixture of Hollywood cheese and Bible-esque speech). The story itself is highly interesting, but it drags on so long in this movie that I lost almost all interest in the film. The only thing that kept me going was the hope for an epic 'plagues of Egypt' sequence.
The first time I ever heard the story of Moses (Charlton Heston) was through the animated film, The Prince of Egypt. I loved that movie, and still do. "There can be miracles, when you believe!" I grew up a Catholic, and came to really enjoy the story of the Ten Commandments, because its such an epic, action-packed tale of an underdog with the power of God on his side. Cecil B. Demille took my love for the story, over-complicated it, then produced a terrible film that just happens to be a visually stunning epic.
|Yul Brynner impressed me, while the rest did not.|
The Ten Commandments took overacting to a whole new level! Anne Baxter is terribly miscast as a sultry, seductive, vindictive Queen of Egypt. She was the worst of the cast when it came to overacting, and her Hollywood glamour appearance stuck out like a sore thumb in this film. Sir Cedric Hardwicke is a legendary actor, but he is easily the most unconvincing Pharaoh I've ever seen in my life. Casting a predominantly English cast to play Egyptians looked as ridiculous to me as casting John Wayne as Genghis Khan.
|I don't know whether I hate her more as Eve Harrington or as this colossal bitch!|
I've seen Charlton Heston in only four movies. Ben-Hur, Soylent Green, Planet of the Apes, and now The Ten Commandments. In all four of those films, he has played practically the same character, just under different names. Heston suits the films he's cast in, but to me he has never given a truly great performance. In this movie, he has the strong voice, powerful figure, and piercing eyes. He was a great choice to play Moses, but he gave the same performance he always gives. It was good, but not great.
|Judah Ben-Hur... woops, I mean "LET MY PEOPLE GO!"|
The cinematography is, at times, absolutely stunning. There are some truly beautiful scenes of ancient Egypt. But for the most part, I wasn't too impressed with the set production. It was clear to me which scenes were shot in a studio, because the props and set looked really unrealistic. Most people forgive shoddy set production (such as in Ben-Hur), because such an epic film can't always be perfect. Also, one has to take into consideration the time the film was made. Well, if I'm being honest, I found it hard to take this film seriously BECAUSE of the set production. If it doesn't look real, then it takes me out of the moment. Once I'm out of the moment, I find it easy to notice terribly delivered lines by the actors, thus taking me further out of the moment. Let's just say that I was so far out of the moment for most of the movie, that I was at the point of no return. I just could not get back into the film at all. The unrealistic sets and the overplayed performances were just too silly for my liking. The score by Elmer Bernstein is spine-chillingly awesome though!
I can't help but pose a question to Christians and Jews who believe in this story. If God did kill the first-born of each Egyptian, how can you possibly justify such a despicable action? An eye for an eye? Do the ends justify the means? Well I think that's absolutely disgusting. I'd never follow a God that would kill innocent children because an insolent Pharaoh wouldn't obey his orders. You see Moses and his family sitting around a table, eating dinner whilst mothers are screaming over the death of their children. Any respect I had for Moses was lost in this scene, because regardless of God's will, it's inhuman to justify the death of innocent infants.