The Ten Commandments (1956)

The Ten Commandments (1956)

Directed by: Cecil B. DeMille

Starring: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter

Two Charlton Heston films in one day, and hilariously they happen to be The Ten Commandments and Planet of the Apes, which you could interpret as a religion vs evolution kinda thing. That’s a point of view I would pretty much have never thought of if I hadn’t just happened to review both of these in one day. Weird.

Charlton Heston plays Moses, who grows up as an adoptive son of the pharaoh even though his birth parents are slaves. When he finds this out, he renounces his privilege and his “brother” Ramses II (Brynner) exiles him. He finds his way to a town which worships a god that lives in the nearby mountain. Moses goes up the mountain and God tells him he needs to head back to Egypt and free the slaves, so he does. On the way back through the desert, everyone gets fed up and starts worshiping a statue they made, so Moses goes up ANOTHER mountain and God sends him back with some stone commandments which tell them that everything they are doing is wrong.

It’s a four hour epic film with some huge crowd scenes and beautiful scenery and fantastic acting. Probably the most amazing part about The Ten Commandments is that it doesn’t feel overwrought or padded out to reach it’s length, like so many huge epic movies do. It’s an appropriately big story for how big a movie it is, and not even I have any complaints about that. It’s an older style of filmmaking, where people feel more stilted and less human, but that also makes sense given the source material. It’s definitely a great film in many uses of the word.

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