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The Ten Commandments (1923)

After hearing the story of Moses, the sons of a devout Christian mother go their own ways, while the atheist brother's breaking of the Ten Commandments leads to tragedy.

Director:

Cecil B. DeMille (as Cecil B. De Mille)

Writer:

Jeanie Macpherson (story)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Theodore Roberts ... Moses - The Lawgiver
Charles de Rochefort ... Rameses - the Magnificent: Prologue (as Charles De Roche)
Estelle Taylor ... Miriam - The Sister of Moses
Julia Faye ... The Wife of Pharaoh - Prologue
Pat Moore ... The Son of Pharaoh - Prologue (as Terrence Moore)
James Neill ... Aaron - Brother of Moses
Lawson Butt ... Dathan - The Discontented
Clarence Burton Clarence Burton ... The Taskmaster - Prologue
Noble Johnson ... The Bronze Man - Prologue
Edythe Chapman ... Mrs. Martha McTavish
Richard Dix ... John McTavish - Her Son
Rod La Rocque ... Dan McTavish - Her Son
Leatrice Joy ... Mary Leigh
Nita Naldi ... Sally Lung - a Eurasian
Robert Edeson ... Redding - an Inspector
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Storyline

The first part tells the story of Moses leading the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land, his receipt of the tablets and the worship of the golden calf. The second part shows the efficacy of the commandments in modern life through a story set in San Francisco. Two brothers, rivals for the love of Mary, also come into conflict when John discovers Dan used shoddy materials to construct a cathedral. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Mightiest Dramatic Spectacle of All the Ages.


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 November 1923 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die zehn Gebote See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White | Color (2-strip Technicolor) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Contains a few early two-strip Technicolor scenes, in particular the "Exodus" segment. See more »

Goofs

The type of staff used by Moses and his followers has a Star of David on the end. The Star of David didn't become a symbol of Judaism until the Middle Ages. See more »

Quotes

Sally Lung - a Eurasian: [mortally wounded by Danny's gunshot] Danny, dear - I'll tell the Devil, you won't be far behind!
See more »

Connections

Followed by The King of Kings (1927) See more »

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User Reviews

Thou shalt remember Cecil B.De Mille...
13 June 2007 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Today,all his epics ("ten commandments" 1 and 2,"sign of the cross" "Samson and Delilah" ...° have worn remarkably well.

Like many people ,I saw the 1956 version well before the silent one.The prologue (which is very long for a prologue) has a plot similar to the 1956 version from the plagues to the golden calf orgy.Even the Parting of the Red Sea (and it's quite impressive for 1923!) and the writing of the Holy Tablets are here (it looks more like some kind of mystic firework here).As for the orgy,it's simply better than the color version.That said I like that latter version best,because the gap between the biblical tale and the modern one makes that the two parts do not hang very well,in spite of a brilliant transition : Moses and his people saga suddenly segues into a mother reading the Bible to her sons.

The second part will deal with the story of two brothers,one of whom trying to break these "fusty" commandments and not be broken by them. There are interesting parallels: the workers on the building site and the slaves working for pharaoh on the pyramids,the hero who ,like "pharaoh's tribe ,is drowned in the tide" .Little by little,the film becomes slowly but inexorably overtly Christian: the momma hints to carpenters,nice carpenters,there's a short return to biblical times but depicting a scene of Jesus' s life and unlike the bad woman who became a leper in the prologue,salvation is around the corner for the evil millionaire's wife.Lines from St Matthew ("he gained the world but lost his soul") add to this feeling a redemption.

Despite the reservations expressed above,De Mille was a storyteller extraordinaire,who equaled D.W .Griffith .Thou shalt not overlook him.


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