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The Making of 'The Ten Commandments' (2006)

Behind the scenes look at miniseries "The Ten Commandments," originally presented on ABC and produced by RHI Entertainment.




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Behind the scenes look at miniseries "The Ten Commandments," originally presented on ABC and produced by RHI Entertainment.

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January 2006 (USA)  »

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Documentary Made in Logical and Helpful Manner
11 June 2009 | by See all my reviews

Anyone keen on biblical movies mentions Cecil B DeMille's THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) as one of the largest, most colossal epic movies ever made, as one of the motion pictures that could address the very essence of the story; its message and spectacle; so to say, real Bible on screen. And still, after more than 50 years, the vision of DeMille makes you mesmerized, breathless and overwhelmed. But in order to get to know the unique phenomenon of Cecil B DeMille, the film does not suffice. What helps us is a documentary like this one, which constitutes a clear insight into the 'wings' of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, into the feelings and memories of some cast and crew; a documentary which seems to give an answer to "what can make a motion picture timeless?"

The documentary does a fine job as it supplies you with a glimpse on both the works on the film and the intentions of the producers, crew members and the director. What is more, it is logically divided into subparts that deal with certain themes like the score, the people, the story, the director. There is a number of footage material showing the original 'making' of the movie. At the same time, we get interviews with some people who share with us some memories of the early 1950s when the film was being made. Late Charlton Heston, for instance, talks about some interesting events whilst making the epic with a piece of seriousness combined with nostalgia and humor alike. He tells us, for instance, about his visit to Mount Sinai with Cecil B DeMille and, foremost, about the challenge to portray the figure of Moses. We get extensive interviews with DeMille's granddaughter Cecilia DeMille Presley who remembers her grandfather's unique talent of creating a special world of strongest figures of humanity, of casting unforgettable people as well as caring of every single detail. A real surprise are two supporting cast who talk about the film: Lulua who played a girl at Madian and Eugene Mazzola who played Rameses' first born son. It is indeed interesting what they say.

Perhaps, you will find some shortage in this short documentary. Of course, it is only a glimpse that lacks much of desired information because the people are no longer with us. Yet, it's a small attempt to say 'thank you' to the genius of Cecil B DeMille whose vision will remain in cinema as long as his unforgettable movies are being watched and admired. I will end this comment with the words said once by Cecil B DeMille when referring to his motion picture, the words that clearly resemble his love to the biblical stories like this one:

"We're still fighting the same battle that Moses fought: are men to be ruled by God's law or are they to be ruled by the whims of a dictator like Rameses? Are men the property of the state or are they free souls under God? (...) Moses is one of the world's greatest human beings; human he was to the point of sin and holy to the point of seeing God and receiving from Him the Law by which men may live in peace and freedom: the Ten Commandments" (Cecil B DeMille)

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