6.8/10
5,935
64 user 24 critic

Samson and Delilah (1949)

When strongman Samson rejects the love of the beautiful Philistine woman Delilah, she seeks vengeance that brings horrible consequences they both regret.

Director:

Cecil B. DeMille

Writers:

Jesse Lasky Jr. (screenplay) (as Jesse L. Lasky Jr.), Fredric M. Frank (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
4,919 ( 1,566)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Won 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In 1st century Rome, Christian slave Demetrius is sent to fight in the gladiatorial arena and Emperor Caligula seeks Jesus' robe for its supposedly magical powers.

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: Victor Mature, Susan Hayward, Michael Rennie
The Robe (1953)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In the Roman province of Judea during the 1st century, Roman tribune Marcellus Gallio is ordered to crucify Jesus of Nazareth but is tormented by his guilty conscience afterwards.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Victor Mature
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The Egyptian Prince, Moses, learns of his true heritage as a Hebrew and his divine mission as the deliverer of his people.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter
Quo Vadis (1951)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A fierce Roman commander becomes infatuated with a beautiful Christian hostage and begins questioning the tyrannical leadership of the despot Emperor Nero.

Directors: Mervyn LeRoy, Anthony Mann
Stars: Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Leo Genn
King of Kings (1961)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The temporary physical life of the Biblical Savior, Jesus Christ.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: Jeffrey Hunter, Siobhan McKenna, Hurd Hatfield
Barabbas (1961)
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Barabbas, the criminal that Pontius Pilate induced the populace to vote to set free, so that Christ could be crucified, is haunted by the image of Jesus for the rest of his life.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Anthony Quinn, Silvana Mangano, Arthur Kennedy
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

After becoming king of ancient Israel, Solomon faces threats coming from his jealous dispossessed brother Adonijah, the Egyptian Pharaoh and the scheming Queen of Sheba.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Yul Brynner, Gina Lollobrigida, George Sanders
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

After King David sees the beautiful Bathsheba bathing from the palace roof, he enters into an adulterous affair which has tragic consequences for his family and Israel.

Director: Henry King
Stars: Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, Raymond Massey
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In 1820s New England beautiful but poor and manipulative Jenny Hager marries rich old man Isaiah Poster but also seduces his son and his company foreman.

Directors: Edgar G. Ulmer, Douglas Sirk
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, George Sanders, Louis Hayward
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Seeking US citizenship, a Viennese refugee arranges a marriage of convenience with a struggling writer.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: James Stewart, Hedy Lamarr, Ian Hunter
Cleopatra (1963)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Queen Cleopatra of Egypt experiences both triumph and tragedy as she attempts to resist the imperial ambitions of Rome.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Samson and Delilah's world is small- an isolated community in the Central Australian desert. When tragedy strikes they turn their backs on home and embark on a journey of survival. Lost, ... See full summary »

Director: Warwick Thornton
Stars: Rowan McNamara, Marissa Gibson, Mitjili Napanangka Gibson
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hedy Lamarr ... Delilah
Victor Mature ... Samson
George Sanders ... The Saran of Gaza
Angela Lansbury ... Semadar
Henry Wilcoxon ... Ahtur
Olive Deering ... Miriam
Fay Holden ... Hazelelponit
Julia Faye ... Hisham
Russ Tamblyn ... Saul (as Russell Tamblyn)
William Farnum ... Tubal
Lane Chandler ... Teresh
Moroni Olsen ... Targil
Francis McDonald ... Story Teller (as Francis J. McDonald)
William 'Wee Willie' Davis ... Garmiskar (as William Davis)
John Miljan ... Lesh Lakish
Edit

Storyline

Though his people, the Israelites, are enslaved by the Philistines, Samson, strongest man of the tribe of Dan, falls in love with the Philistine Semadar, whom he wins by virtue of a contest of strength. But Semadar betrays him, and Samson engages in a fight with her real love, Ahtur, and his soldiers. Semadar is killed, and her sister Delilah, who had loved Samson in silence, now vows vengeance against him. She plans to seduce Samson into revealing the secret of his strength and then to betray him to the Philistine leader, the Saran. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HISTORY'S MOST BEAUTIFUL AND TREACHEROUS WOMAN! (original print ad - all caps)


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 September 1950 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$28,800,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was one of Look Magazine's Best Pictures of 1949. See more »

Goofs

Immediately after Dagon falls a column falls near the dias. As it tilts over the "stone" develops a crease as it falls. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: Before the dawn of history, ever since the first man discovered his soul, he has struggled against the forces that sought to enslave him. He saw the awful power of nature rage against him. The evil eye of the lightning... The terrifying voice of the thunder... The shrieking, wind-filled darkness enslaving his mind with shackles of fear. Fear bred superstition, blinding his reason. He was ridden by a host of devil gods. Human dignity perished on the altar of idolatry. And tyranny ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

As Samson and Delilah (1949) starts, the title is written on scroll, that is opened, to be read. The remaining opening credits, after the scroll and title, are normal. Closing credits are normal, also. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Critic: Siskel & Ebert & Jay & Alice (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

For To Win A Bride
(uncredited)
Written by Victor Young and Jesse Lasky Jr.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"What invisable power strikes through his arm?"
29 June 2009 | by Steffi_PSee all my reviews

Cecil B. DeMille is best remembered for his biblical epics, even though in a forty-year, eighty-film career he only made four of them. It wasn't just that the bible pictures gave him some of his biggest hits; it was in these features that DeMille seemed most at home, and the one genre in which he had unique ability.

Samson and Delilah brought an end to a long phase of epic-cum-adventure movies from DeMille. This period, beginning with The Plainsman in 1936, had some of the weakest pictures of his career for a number of reasons. For one thing, DeMille was not really very good at individualistic action scenes, and there was too much DeMillean historical grandeur and not enough of the free-spirited feel of the Errol Flynn or Tyrone power swashbucklers he was to some extent an trying to copy. What's more, these were mostly original stories or, at least, ones which were not well known, and DeMille's poor choice of source material and screenwriters meant the new characters and situations tended towards the feeble. DeMille's strength lay in his staging and presentation of a familiar tale, and as such his return to Sunday-school moralising, stuffy and pompous though it may be, is apt and welcome.

You see, DeMille was probably aware on some level that although these fables were well-known in a largely Christian society, to a modern audience they were also historically distant, emotionally neutral and even ridiculous when presented literally. But DeMille never attempted any humanity or realism in his features, instead turning the remote, mythical nature of the stories into a virtue, portraying his subject matter with a kind of dignity and grace. Of course most ancient world epics do this to some extent, but DeMille did it the most effectively because he never demanded that the audience sympathise with the characters, merely that we marvel at their deeds.

Specifically, DeMille composes the picture with overstated gesturing and painterly tableau, like a Gustave Dore print come to life. This is combined with the vivid colours of a bible stories illustration, coded with drab shades for humbleness and virtue, garish ones for extravagance and sin. Throughout, DeMille's flair for dreamlike, rhythmic motion keeps the images flowing, most notably in the establishing tracking shot at the wedding feast - although if you watch closely you'll see one of the two men engaged in a mock swordfight is actually camply slapping his opponent with a feather duster.

And DeMille was perhaps unique in that he even used the imagery to turn God into a character. You can see from one of his much earlier religious pictures, 1929's The Godless Girl, that DeMille associated God with natural beauty, and in Samson and Delilah God makes several key "appearances" as a breathtaking skyscape. This touch would be expanded upon in the 1956 version of Ten Commandments.

It's a pity DeMille didn't associate God with good acting, because even the theatrical presentation on offer here could do with at least some half-decent hamming. The trouble is DeMille chose his actors for their physicality, not for their ability to qualify their job description. In this respect Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr are natural choices. DeMille's business associate Henry Wilcoxon, whom the director unbelievably used to cast in lead roles, is as wooden as ever, and the somewhat hit-and-miss Angela Lansbury, misses this time. The only standout is George Sanders who proves, just as Herbert Marshall did in DeMille's Four Frightened People, that bad dialogue becomes bearable if you underplay it.

Fortunately when it came to crew DeMille always procured the best. Samson and Delilah boasts Oscar-winning costumes and art direction from no less personages than Edith Head and Hans Dreier respectively. The Technicolor cinematography is great, with some remarkably clear night time shots. Some of the effects may be a little dubious; whenever Victor Mature lifts up something heavy it's obvious it's being hoisted from offscreen, and that woolly-rug/lion tamer scene is actually betrayed by bad editing, but overall this is a solid, high-quality production.

Yes, Samson and Delilah is as corny as anything, but it looks great, and above all it entertains. Don't be too harsh on DeMille's staginess or his archaic moralism, for as his willing appearance as himself in Sunset Boulevard proves, he probably didn't have a sense of irony. And his earnestness was probably his greatest asset.


9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 64 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed