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The Ten Commandments (1923)

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 ... See full summary »

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(as Cecil B. De Mille)

Writer:

(story)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Moses - The Lawgiver
...
Rameses - the Magnificent: Prologue (as Charles De Roche)
...
Miriam - The Sister of Moses
...
Pat Moore ...
The Son of Pharaoh - Prologue (as Terrence Moore)
...
Aaron - Brother of Moses
...
Clarence Burton ...
The Taskmaster - Prologue
...
The Bronze Man - Prologue
...
Mrs. Martha McTavish
...
John McTavish - Her Son
...
Dan McTavish - Her Son
...
Mary Leigh
...
Sally Lung - a Eurasian
...
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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 November 1923 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die zehn Gebote  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (2-strip Technicolor) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The effect of the parting of the Red Sea was created by placing two blocks of blue gelatin side-by-side, heating them until they melted...then running the footage in reverse. See more »

Goofs

At the time this movie was made, affinity laws prevented a person from marrying his brother's widow. See more »

Quotes

Mary Leigh: I was passing by Dugan's lunch wagon when a hot dog ran out and bit me.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Life of Moses (1909) See more »

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User Reviews

Thou shalt not give a stupid review.
22 October 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Oops, broke that one. All joking aside, this film is incredible. Astonishing effects for the early 20s, where you couldn't twist any digital domain to your whims. The parting of the Red Sea is pretty convincing, even if was Jello. (Can you imagine wading through Jello? Ick.)

This film is told in two parts, as we get to see Moses receiving the Ten Commandments from God in what looks like a Fourth of July celebration. One with good fireworks. Most people know that story--Moses goes to deliver the Commandments, only to find everyone involved in a massive orgy. Here de Mille is in his element. He did so many massive orgies that he should have copyrighted them. We see people making out (not having sex--that would be wrong), men licking wine off women's feet (that is wrong, by gum), and a huge number of people trying to climb up what looks like a curtain. Why they're doing this only de Mille knows. All we need is Gloria Swanson being pawed by a tiger to make everything perfect. As some viewers may not know, de Mille can show whatever sin and debauchery he wants, because the sinners are going to get it in the end. They're gonna get it bad. From the giddy Israelites and their golden calf we're transported to the modern day (1923), where a woman reads the Bible. She can't be the sinner. A son stands nearby, looking very noble and content. Can't be him. Then, we see the other son. He looks bored and disbelieving. We have a sinner! Oh, and he's a bad one. He dances on Sunday, he steals women from their intendeds, he's involved in dozens of dirty dealings, and he's dating an Oriental leper. Beg pardon? I guess she's just thrown in for fun.

Of course, all's well that ends well, and everything turns out okay. This movie is silent, so the acting is a bit in-your-face, and the characters are extreme, but hey. It's necessary--literacy wasn't rampant back then, so filmmakers had to make everything painfully obvious. Some people weren't able to read the title cards, and they'd be lost without the silent films' distinctive pantomime.

Side benefit--the version I have on video features a nifty soundtrack by that powerhouse of the movie palace, the Wurlitzer organ.


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