Posts Tagged ‘Cecille B. DeMille’

Once again, it’s the time of the year when the movie, The Ten Commandments, takes to the airwaves, an Easter tradition on ABC.  I’m pretty sure I mentioned in the past how much I enjoy this film on so many levels.  It has a great epic quality from the solemn narration by its director, Cecil B. DeMille, to the huge sets employed.

It also has a great deal of goofiness in the writing and acting, where I sometimes feel like I’m watching an SCTV skit and half expect Eugene Levy to stumble into the scene.  Pure kitsch.

When you throw in the fact that it’s such a great tale, it makes for a great night of viewing.

Here’s something that has very little to do with the movie except for the title.  It’s Desmond Dekker‘s early reggae hit, The Israelites.  When I hear this song I am immediately transformed to being a kid listening to this song in our kitchen on my Dad’s big old plastic AM radio that had its batteries held in place with a piece of wood in its open backside.

Anyway, enjoy…

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the-ten-commandments-1956-movie-05Well, it’s the day before Easter which can only mean one thing:  the annual showing of The Ten Commandments, the 1956 epic film from Cecille B. DeMille.  

I always look forward to watching this movie not so much from any admiration of its quality as great cinema (though it is great moviemaking with its beautiful cinematography and color and the great musical score) but more so for the treasure trove of kitsch it bears.  I love the clumsy, stilted lines of dialogue.  The stylized overacting- Anne Baxter’s Nefretiri and John Derek’s Joshua are right out of the earliest, clumsiest silent films.  The boo-hiss quality of Yul Brynner’s Rameses.  And how can you not love Edward G. Robinson playing Dathan, snarling, “Where’s your Moses now?”  in that oft imitated voice straight out of Little Caesar.

But the star is Moses.  Love him or hate him, Charlton Heston was the perfect specimen for this or any epic movie.  Don’t get me started on Ben Hur. His physical stature, his deep voice and his ability to deliver the most wooden lines with complete commitment make his portrayal a complete pleasure to watch.  A tour de force.

Modern moviemakers always try to remake these epic type movies with full attention to every detail, trying to bring realism and authenticity to the story.  But while there may be realism there is no entertainment quality and they never measure up to the very films that some of these people mock.  This is is real entertainment.

So if you get a chance tonight, look in for a while (because it is a very lonnnng movie) and enjoy…

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