Top Five Christmas Films 2017: The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments (1956).

Showing: Sky Cinema Greats, 9am.
Rating: 4/5 - very good lots to enjoy


After the Pharaoh Sethi (Cedric Hardwicke) decrees all first born sons of Jewish slaves be killed, Yochabel (Martha Scott) places her infant boy Moses in a basket and sends him down the Nile. Sethi’s sister Bithia (Nina Foch) finds him and raises him as her own, despite knowing his origins and that her brother could have her executed for treason.

As an adult, Moses (Charlton Heston) lives in competitive conflict with his adoptive brother Rameses (Yul Brynner) and is tentatively acknowledged as Sethi’s heir, enraging the other man. After Sethi’s death, Rameses is made aware of Moses’ background and casts him out into the desert and then marrying Nefretiri (Anne Baxter) whom Moses is in love with. Moses battles hardship to ensure he can return to Egypt and try to release his fellow man from servitude.

Review, by Jason Day
Producer/Director DeMille was famous for making lavish spectacle epics but perhaps even he went one step beyond with this, his second stab at the telling of this tale of Moses.
Whacking on extra hour and twenty minutes to his blockbuster silent version of 1923, he seems to introduce nothing more than yawn-inducing length, condescending narrative and a boring, dusty lecture otherwise.
The performances are still over-ripe (Baxter can take a bow for a ridiculously breathy, wanton Queen Nefretiri) but Chuck Heston holds it all together with a performance of magnificent conviction and seriousness.
This was DeMille's biggest film and cost him his life (he had a heart attack whilst climbing a ladder during production, dying three years later) but, for its magnitude and splendid action sequences (such as the parting of the Red Sea) it still commands attention.
For more, read the full review:

Cast & credits
Director: Cecil B. DeMille. 217mins. Motion Picture Associates/Paramount. (U)
Producer: Cecil B. DeMille.
Writers: AEneas MacKenzie, Jesse Lasky Jr., Jack Garris, Fredric M. Frank.
Camera: Loyal Griggs.
Music: Elmer Bernstein.
Sets: Albert Nozaki, Hal Pereira, Walter H. Tyler.
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, John Carradine, Olive Deering, Douglass Dumbrille, Henry Wilcoxon, H.B. Warner, Julia Faye.