The Ten Commandments


Epic films

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Time Out says

According to Jesse L Lasky Jr, he and his fellow-writers 'felt so inoculated with significance that we hardly dared write at all, certainly not with such profane tools as pencils and typewriters'. The Ten Commandments sure isn't remembered as literature - the script is a sort of prose doggerel Biblespeak of unerring shallowness; or for its acting, with only Edward G Robinson and Hardwicke emerging as more than pawns in DeMille's vast game. Rather it's the gigantic vulgarity, the obsessive righteousness of the director himself, which keeps the show on the road and suffuses the movie with its daft power. There are two wondrous scenes. The exodus itself, gigantic aerial shots of the DeMillions underpinned by meticulous detail, is a genuine mover. The other goodie, surprisingly, is a dialogue scene in which Hardwicke, confronted by an enchained Heston, hands the succession (and Anne Baxter as a smouldering bonus) to Brynner. Most of the rest is arid nonsense a mile high. But you have to admire DeMille's seriousness of purpose. He took three weeks on the orgy scene alone.

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