12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten Commandments (blu ray)...Paramount's restoration is as miraculous as parting of the Red Sea
Video: The restoration by Paramount was a monumental task. Because of the length of the film, a truck was used just to transport all the reels of films. Ron Smith of Paramount was able to view the film using its only one remaining VistaVision projector to determine the original colour and density. Some of their difficulties included restoring the yellow colour that had...
Published on April 10 2011 by Dr. Joseph Lee
3.0 out of 5 stars BEHOLD! - A MIGHTY RETREADING OF EPIC ENTERTAINMENT!
"The Ten Commandments" is one of the 1950s big budget elephantine Biblical epics. It charts the spiritual growth of Moses (Charlton Heston) as he matures into the stark reality that he is not of noble Egyptian blood. This, of course, eventually leads Moses on the righteous path to God as he frees the slaves from bondage. Also featured in this all star cast are Yul Brynner...
Published on March 6 2004 by Nix Pix
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten Commandments (blu ray)...Paramount's restoration is as miraculous as parting of the Red Sea,
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This review is from: The Ten Commandments (1956) [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) (Blu-ray)
Video: The restoration by Paramount was a monumental task. Because of the length of the film, a truck was used just to transport all the reels of films. Ron Smith of Paramount was able to view the film using its only one remaining VistaVision projector to determine the original colour and density. Some of their difficulties included restoring the yellow colour that had faded out over the years. The final product (1080p 1.78:1 transfer) was simply amazing. Fine detail was simply unbelievable. Textures were immaculate. You could see individual stitches in Moses' mother's Hebrew robe. You could see each one of the tiny golden squares that make up Pharaoh's elaborate chest pieces. Colors were bright and bold. The ornate Egyptian costumes burst off the screen with rich gold, deep blue, and crimson red. Skin tones were always natural. Thank you to Paramount for putting this lengthy film on two BD-50 discs, reducing compression to the minimum. (4.5/5)
Audio: The DTS HD MA-5.1 was a tremendous improvement over earlier standard edition. Music and effects combined to create a bombastic, enveloping viewing experience. Elmer Bernstein's score was brassy and bold, and the movie's sound effects - lots of swirling wind and thunderclaps - were quite forceful. (4/5)
Paramount's famous outdoor water tank was constructed for 'The Ten Commandments' to create the parting of the Red Sea, which garnered the film its only Academy Award (for visual effects). The sparking granite tablets in the film were created using gun power. The water on both sides as well has the crashing wave approaching from the back were all filmed separately in the tank. The sea bed was two back-to-back sound stages at Paramount and RKO. And the sky was separate as well.
Did you know that after DeMille's on-set heart attack (which he had while climbing up to the top of those giant gates), he didn't tell the crew, cast, or studio, fearing a shutdown of the production. Instead, he said he had dysentery. His doctors warned finishing the movie could kill him, but he refused to stop. DeMille's wife went on to direct some of the film's scenes so her husband could stay still.
The video reproduction is simply astounding. The audio is well done and adds new life to the movie. Paramount has done an astonishing job in restoring this epic movie. Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DeMille, Heston, Brenner at their campy best!,
By A Customer
OK, although I'm Catholic, I don't watch "The Ten Commandments" for the story - I watch it because it's a dose of pure, unadulterated camp! It's "big" movie - a breed of epic that Hollywood doesn't make anymore. The sets, costumes, swelling music, acting are all deliciously hammy, over-the-top, and wonderful. It's really, really FUN to watch. As a purist, I usually prefer to watch TTC in the traditional way - Easter or Palm Sunday, on TV, with the commercials and everything. However, this DVD is a fine substitute when you've got a craving for a little camp.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great edition of a classic,
I already had "The Ten Commandments" on DVD, but with almost no extras and no commentary, it wasn't all that satisfying. This new Collector's Edition is easily worth its low price, to me, even as a replacement. The colors are breathtaking, Elmer Bernstein's store is still luscious, and it's probably as close to what DeMille intended as you'll get on a screen smaller than twenty feet.
I enjoyed Katherine Orrison's commentary track quite a bit (and have put her book on the movie on my wish list), although much more about the movie than some of her amateur theological comments. After spending so much time with Henry Wilcoxon, DeMille's right-hand man on this and many other movies, she has anecdotes and understanding that help you understand how the film was made. I had no idea it took five full years to make, or how some of the seemingly-odd decisions were made or even how some of the effects were created.
The other extras are a bit disappointing. The six-part documentary (complete with titles in Paramount's "Star Trek" font because they can't recreate the hand-lettering of the movie's titles, over leather that shows up in richer color than I've ever seen it) doesn't offer nearly as much as AMC's "Cecil B. DeMIlle" biography from earlier in 2004. That special included pre-matte shots of the parting of the Red Sea - the actual water in the tank, including the sides of the parted Red Sea, and how it was created. Paramount may not own that documentary, but some of that footage should have been on this disc. Without it, there are still some good interviews, but not enough behind-the-scenes footage that we now know exists.
If you like "The Ten Commandments" and don't have it on DVD, this is for you. If you have the older version but like it a lot, this one's also for you - but get the Cecil B. DeMille biography when it comes out on DVD, too.
5.0 out of 5 stars SWEET, FANCY MOSES!!!,
How about those 'The Ten Commandments'? Legendary silent film director Cecil (I'm ready for my close-up) B. DeMille obviously didn't alter the way he made movies after sound came in, and this 1956 biblical drama is proof of that.
Beautiful cinematography, gargantuan sets, and silent pauses to take it all in ABOUND in this film. Still, it has great special effects (check out the parting of the Red Sea and the worship of the golden calf scene) given the date of the film.
With it's cast of thousands, it is still a picture not to be missed. However, overacting and over-posturing ALSO abounds in this movie, especially from Charlton (NRA Prez) Heston and Yul (The King and I) Brynner.
It's fun to see whom was cast in this pic like Yvonne (Mrs. Munster) Decarlo, Alfalfa Switzer from "Little Rascals", gangster movie guru, Edward G. Robinson, John (Mr. Bo) Derek , the magnificent horror master, Vincent Price, b-horror and cult movie actor, John Carradine, Herb Alpert (WHAT?), and Mr. DeMille, himself as the narrator.
A MOST excellent film for it's time...
5.0 out of 5 stars BRAVO! SPECIAL COLLECTOR'S EDITION IS EXCELLENT!,
By A Customer
I was hesitant to review this dvd since, in every credible theologian's view, a fundamentalist approach to the Bible, ignorant of ancient and medieval civilizations and their languages, leads to erroneous interpretations (for example, errors that today are being used to justify discrimination against gays and lesbians and their families, and which, until rather recently, were used to condone racism, segregation and slavery.) But I believe DeMille, The Ten Commandments' producer and director, and the son of a lay Episcopal minister, believed the Bible is the inerrant word of God AND that a historical-critical approach is necessary to understand it (as most mainline churches do, in spite of their often inconsistent stance on gay marriage). The fact that in The Ten Commandments, the Red Sea, not a 'sea of reeds' (a correct translation), parts, is perhaps an example of artistic license.
In a sense, The Ten Commandments is DeMille's Biblical commentary. It's a swan song (DeMille nearly died making it), and a real labour of love (DeMille gave away all of his profits to the cast and crew).
Perhaps first and foremost, The Ten Commandments is great propaganda for democracy (albeit from the Cold War era). Through it DeMille sought to help unite Jews, Christians and Muslims. It argues that all persons are equal and should be 'free', regardless of 'race', ethnicity or 'creed'. It even alludes to the fact that according to the Bible, Moses married an Ethiopian princess (a somewhat daring reference during the segregated '50s).
STYLE & INFLUENCE: It's arguably one of the most spectacular, entertaining and influential films ever made. At Lucasfilm, a poster for it has hung on the wall for many years, and one can easily see the movie's influence not only on Biblical films of the '50s and '60s, but also the Star Wars movies, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Arc and numerous other science fiction and fantasy films. Director Michael Powell considered DeMille the greatest magician in film history.
Perhaps the most under-rated aspect of The Ten Commandments is its production design: a marvelous hybrid of art deco and nineteenth century and ancient Egyptian art. Viewing The Ten Commandments is a bit like stepping into a painting by Alma-Tadema or a Pre-Raphaelite, or a book illustration by Dorè, and having the artwork come to life.
The score, by Elmer Bernstein, is extraordinary. It's part of the very essence of the film, and uses leitmotiv beautifully.
TRANSFER: It's excellent, and the next best thing to seeing the movie on a big screen. The colours are very rich and vibrant, and the sound, originally recorded with cutting edge stereo equipment, is nicely remastered and restored.
EXTRAS: I'm SO glad I ordered the most recent dvd release (2004), containing a commentary by Katherine Orrison and a six-part documentary about the 'making of'. Both are extremely informative and entertaining. The latter features interviews with surviving cast and crew, as well as DeMille's granddaughter.
Five stars for the film, five for the transfer, and five for the commentary and documentary!
3.0 out of 5 stars BEHOLD! - A MIGHTY RETREADING OF EPIC ENTERTAINMENT!,
"The Ten Commandments" is one of the 1950s big budget elephantine Biblical epics. It charts the spiritual growth of Moses (Charlton Heston) as he matures into the stark reality that he is not of noble Egyptian blood. This, of course, eventually leads Moses on the righteous path to God as he frees the slaves from bondage. Also featured in this all star cast are Yul Brynner as Ramses, Edward G. Robinson as Nathan, Nina Foch as The Princess and - (chuckle, chuckle) Vincent Price as Backa, the master builder - looking rather effeminate in his Egyptian toga and gaudy head gear. This film is the perennial Easter fav' amongst secular Christians but for my money the average DVD consumer will be much more satisfied with BEN-HUR.
TRANSFER: That goes double for the transfer quality of this DVD. This is the same transfer as the previously issued and reviewed disc. It is riddled with edge enhancement, shimmering of fine details and pixelization that thoroughly distract from the visual presentation. Although colors are bold, rich and vibrant and black and contrast levels are deep - with fine detail evident throughout - the digital anomalies on both discs totally undercuts its assets in picture quality. The audio is a 5.1 remix and generally engaging in its spread.
EXTRAS: We get a 6 part documentary that - like those featured on Paramount's "Once Upon The Time In The Old West" - would have been better edited into one documentary instead of 6 featurettes. There's also an audio commentary that's - well, flat and uninspiring - unlike the film's subject matter.
BOTTOM LINE: After providing us with stunning digital transfers of "Sunset Blvd." and "Roman Holiday" I sort of thought Paramount Home Video had turned over a new leaf. They haven't. This transfer is unworthy of the moniker "Special Edition" and it just goes to show that classics continue to get shafted over at Paramount. For shame!
5.0 out of 5 stars A BIT CHEESY BUT STILL A CLASSIC,
As time goes by, I find myself loving this movie more and more. Not because it's great, but because every time I watch it I find more and more things that amuse me. This is classic big budget, big cast Hollywood at it's finest.
You don't get all-star casts like this anymore: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Vincent Price, Edward G. Robinson to name just a few. The mere fact of Edward G. Robinson in a biblical picture is really funny if you think about it. When he says "Where's your savior now?" I almost expect him, in his best gangster accent today, "See!"
Nearly everyone overacts in the movie, especially Heston and Brynner. Thye pose and posture hysterically as they deliver their lines. Hey it's great stuff and you have to remember that it was the mid-1950's.
The picture is the ultimate cast of thousands, big budget with fantastic costumes, sets, music, and, for the era, state of the art special effects. The parting of the Red Sea is still amazing to see in this era of CGI effects.
I love Yvonne DeCarlo in this movie. She is, of course most well known for playing Lilly Munster in the "munsters" tv show. So odd to see her in an earlier role and she was a beautiful woman.
It seems as if the special features are a bit thin on this DVD. I know many of the cast members have passed away but surely someone could have provided a commentary as opposed to a historian.
Still a classic after 50 years...
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic For All Time,
Whenever Holy Week comes in our country, you will notice that every Video Shop or Rentals is packed with people who are trying to rent some copies of religious film which is perfect for viewing in this time of the year. The absolute 'out-of-stock' video is none other than 'The Ten Commandments' which is selling like a hot cake during this holy season.
I first watched this film when I was 7 years old and until today, I truly appreciate and treasures this film by having a DVD copy of it. There's something in Ten Commandments that is truly haunting and worth-while to watch for...well, few reasons that I can give:
1. the parting of the red sea, which i know, everyone will agree with me that this scene of the movie was a memorable part and that's why, it was considered as a trademark of the movie.
2. the cast of thousands and the production value. it was truly gigantic production and you could really wonder how the director put up all these at that time! well...that's the magic of hollywood and it was truly revealed in this film.
3. the scoring is a masterpiece! Elmer Bernstein captivated the essence of religiously made scoring for a film. The scoring will make you feel that there's holliness and unique spirtual presence. It really made my bones chilled.
4. Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brynner as Rameses. these actors played significantly for their biblical portrayals which left them a mark for their outstanding roles.
5. Cecil B De Mille did a wonderful direction for bringing to life this biblical epic about the life and struggles of Moses and the rest of the Israelites. he's worthy to be called Epic Director.
I will definitely recommend this to everyone, both young and old. Please watch it from the very beginning till the end and you will see why those reasons mentioned above can justify the movie as an EPIC film of all time.
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a good print of this movie to view at home,
I was very pleased to get this DVD because both my VHS copies of this movie have such poor, snowy, grainy picture quality -- the DVD picture is very clean, clear and sharp with excellent color.
The DVD I bought is Widescreen, which in this case means 16x9, or 1:1.85, and is anamorphic, not the reduced letterbox image. This makes the pic quality excellent, and the focus is sharp, and the Technicolor looks just as I recall it from the best theatrical prints. The "pestilence" has the proper green color, and all the scenes are brightly colored with plenty of saturation.
The Intermission is placed later in the film than I recall from the theatrical presentation, but otherwise the film is complete with Overture, Entre'Acte and Intermission scoring intact.
At one time I was sure C. B. DeMille shot this movie in 4:3 (Academy aperture) format, not widescreen, and that the studio later produced the widescreen prints for re-release. C.B. was quite versatile in packing spectacle into his older 4:3 format movies. I'm still not absolutely sure, but in any case, this widescreen version in 1:1.85 LOOKS right, and handsome, too. If you've got any VHS version, even the big red box, it is definitely worth the upgrade to this one -- Dolby Surround or 5.1 Digital are your audio choices, and the picture quality alone is worth updating from the poor VHS renderings I've had the misfortune to own.
4.0 out of 5 stars Wowzers,
By A Customer
This review is from: Ten Commandments 56 (VHS Tape)
Its still amazing to me that this movie was made in 1956. A secular person can still enjoy this movie as it is more than just a bible story, its a full blown spectacle full of outrageous over-acting (see Charleton Heston) and serious special effects. Its not a family film if you take into account the slavery, the deaths by plagues, and pharoah's army getting wiped out, and the general nastiness like flaming tornadoes and the golden calf scene. Enough to freak out a 10 year old easily. It's great to see Yul Bryner and Edward G. Robinson showing us what real acting is all about. You can't top DeMille's talents, even with 100 million dollars worth of computer graphics nowadays. My only gripe is that nobody looks middle eastern/north african in the movie except for Bryner and maybe some of Pharoah's nubian slaves, but hollywood will never make a bible flick with anyone but light skinned caucasians. Its a marketing thing.
Great flick, much better than the modern christian dreck that devotees must watch that masquerades as a movie. If you have seen the Omega Code, you understand where I'm coming from.
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