Review: ‘The Ten Commandments’

The opening Biblical scenes of The Ten Commandments are irresistible in their assembly, breadth, color and direction; they are enormous and just as attractive. Cecil B. DeMille puts in a thrill here with the opening of the Red Sea for Moses to pass through with the Children of Israel.

The opening Biblical scenes of The Ten Commandments are irresistible in their assembly, breadth, color and direction; they are enormous and just as attractive. Cecil B. DeMille puts in a thrill here with the opening of the Red Sea for Moses to pass through with the Children of Israel.

This section is in color, and there are often big scenes besides that one. They are immense and stupendous, so big the modern tale after that seems puny. The story is of two sons, one his mother’s boy and the other a harum-scarum atheist. Cheating as a contractor, the atheist’s defects in building material result in the collapse of a partly built church’s wall, with the mother killed by the falling debris.

The best performance is given by Rod La Rocque as the atheist son, Dan McTavish. La Rocque really doesn’t get properly started until called upon for plenty of emotion toward the finish. Theodore Roberts as Moses is but required to stride majestically, something he can do perhaps a little better than any one else, while Charles De Roche as Rameses (Pharaoh) always appears in a genteel, thoughtful mood as though wondering what it is all about.

The women do no better. Leatrice Joy wears a hat that may have been of the period of Moses; anyway it is an awful hat and her acting is strong enough to make you forget it.

The Ten Commandments

Production

Paramount. Director Cecil B. DeMille; Producer Cecil B. DeMille; Screenplay Jeanie MacPherson; Camera Bert Glennon, Peverell Marley, Archie Stout, J.F. Westerberg, Ray Rennahan; Editor Anne Bauchens; Music Hugo Riesenfeld; Art Director Paul Iribe

Crew

Silent. (Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1923. Running time: 160 MIN.

With

Theodore Roberts Charles De Roche Estelle Taylor Richard Dix Rod La Rocque Edythe Chapman
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