Sunday, April 5, 2015

1956 - THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, on Blu Ray.

DeMille's final film probably sums up all of the good and bad things about his films.  DeMille had an interesting visual sense based on old Victorian and Renaissance paintings and certainly knew how to deploy large numbers of extras for maximum visual impact.  At the same time DeMille was not the greatest director of actors, he liked things played very larger than life.  There was no subtlety in a DeMille film.  DeMille also like to use stories from the Bible and American history as a basis for his films and by the time he had dramatized them they bore virtually no resemblance to actual historical events but could be pretty darn entertaining.

The Ten Commandments was a big production for DeMille.  It had the "cast of thousands," impressive scenes, dramatic use of color and lighting and a large of cast of very good actors.  It also had one of the most ludicrous stories about the life of Moses ever put on film.  Since so little was known about Moses, DeMille and his writers were free to invent large chunks of his life story.  In The Ten Commandments DeMille had come up with a bizarre story about a three way love triangle between Moses, the Pharaoh and the Pharaoh's wife which boarders on the tasteless.

Still, this is an amazing film and also a very long one.  This thing just goes on and on and DeMille's cast really pours it on with enough scenery chewing acting to make Al Pacino look subtle.  Amazingly, DeMille was 75 years old when he made The Ten Commandments.  He suffered a heart attack during this production but he continued to direct the film to completion.

Paramount has put together a stunning Blu-ray of the The Ten Commandments.  This film looks really good.

220 minutes.

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