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 <email@example.com>
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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