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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

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Stars: Dougray Scott, Linus Roache, Naveen Andrews
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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

Sixteen miles of cloth and three tons of leather were used for the film's props and costumes. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

John McTavish - Her Son: How much cement are you really putting into that mix?
[the worker brushes him off so he gets forceful with him and asks again]
Cement mixer: One part to twelve. I was told to double the sand and reduce the cement.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood: Autocrats (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting, & Occasionally Impressive
21 September 2004 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

It's interesting just to watch DeMille's first, silent film version of "The Ten Commandments", and the picture itself is pretty interesting too. It is also occasionally impressive, sometimes with the kind of DeMille flourishes that one expects, sometimes with a satisfying dramatic turn. It's quite different in its conception from the more familiar 1950's version, and so direct comparisons are not always possible, yet it holds up well by itself anyway.

Rather than concentrating on the biblical story, as in the remake, here DeMille first tells an abbreviated version of the Moses/Exodus narrative, and then uses it as the thematic basis for a modern morality tale. There are many parallels between the two stories, and while the parallels are occasionally forced, they often work surprisingly well. The modern-day story is similar to many other films of the 1910's and 1920's, but it is interesting and it is told well.

Although DeMille is known for his lavish spectacles, he also knew how to create some more subtle effects when he wanted to. In the modern story, some of the developments are a bit contrived, but the characters generally ring true, and the story itself is worthwhile as well. While the lavish remake with color and sound is probably going to remain more well-known, this earlier version is well worth seeing, too.


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