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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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Moses - The Lawgiver
... Rameses - the Magnificent: Prologue (as Charles De Roche)
... Miriam - The Sister of Moses
... The Wife of Pharaoh - Prologue
Pat Moore ... The Son of Pharaoh - Prologue (as Terrence Moore)
... Aaron - Brother of Moses
... Dathan - The Discontented
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  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,457,710, 31 December 1925
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (2-strip Technicolor) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Midway through production the film ran out of money and Cecil B. DeMille's original backers pulled out. The production was saved when DeMille called in a personal favor from his friend Amadeo Giannini, one of the founders of Bank of America. Giannini's $500,000 investment allowed the production to continue without stopping. 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

Mrs. Martha McTavish: Whatever you've done is my fault because I taught you to fear the Lord but never to love Him, and LOVE is the most important thing.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Passion: Films, Faith & Fury (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Church of the Poison Mind
8 February 2009 | by See all my reviews

Cecil B. DeMille's Paramount EPIC "The Ten Commandments" tells the Old Testament's "Moses" story during its first hour. The "special effects" highlights are: Theodore Roberts (as Moses) parting the Red Sea, and the Biblical patriarch's thunderous receiving of God's commandments. The production is first rate throughout. After about fifty minutes of spectacle, the film switches to a "Modern Story" - wherein Mr. DeMille seeks to tell a morality story involving "The Ten Commandments".

For the main story (the more memorable Moses segments were a mere "prologue"), DeMille introduces the McTavish brothers - saintly carpenter Richard Dix (as John), and partying atheist Rod La Rocque (as Dan). While Mr. Dix stays home to read The Bible, with dear mother Edythe Chapman (as Martha McTavish), Mr. La Rocque breaks Commandments, with lovely Leatrice Joy (as Mary Leigh). Of course, Dix falls in love with Ms. Joy, after she becomes his brother's wife…

DeMille's morality tale is extremely heavy-handed, but nevertheless enticing, and expertly directed.

The "Biblical" and "Modern" story format recalls D.W. Griffith's superior "Intolerance" (1916). The all-star cast (it's 1923, remember) performs exceptionally, with La Rocque being seen in one of his finest performances. As any actor will tell you, La Rocque was halfway there, upon receiving the "bad brother" role, over Dix - and, La Rocque runs away with the film. His is a "Best Actor"-worthy performance. Nefarious Nita Naldi (as Sally Lung) leads a strong supporting cast.

All things considered, this one's a lot more fun than the 1956 re-make.

********* The Ten Commandments (11/23/23) Cecil B. DeMille ~ Rod La Rocque, Richard Dix, Leatrice Joy, Theodore Roberts


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