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.
on April 6, 2015
With Holy Week and the Easter season, I thought it would most appropriate to watch both the Ten Commandments and Exodus: Gods and Kings to compare both films. The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston is arguably best religious film of all-time. The best film of 1956 and Charlton Heston was outstanding as Moses. Christian Bale played Moses in Exodus: Gods and Kings and two films are worlds apart. One film, the Ten Commandments by Cecil B. Demille follows the bible wheres, Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings is a reimagining of the Ten Commandments and Scott's film doesn't compare to this epic film. The Ten Commandments is arguably one of the best films that I have seen in a long time. I've seen Ben-Hur, Lawrence of Arabia, Titanic, Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, Pearl Harbor and Apocalypse Now and nothing compares to the masterpiece of the Ten Commandments,. It is a masterpiece. This is what movie making is supposed to be all about. It is an outstanding film about a man adopted by Egypt and comes into a life of wealth and power and to have it stripped away by a betrayal and a lust for power. The parting of the Red Sea was amazing and story was more believeable than Exodus: Gods and Kings. The Ten Commandments didn't need a remake much less a reimagining of the film. The Ten Commandments is brilliant and skip the pretender in Exodus: Gods and Kings.
on February 26, 2004
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...
on February 13, 2004
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.
on January 23, 2004
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.
on November 23, 2003
This is my favorite movie that is based around the Bible; it is the story of Moses, the deliever of the oppressed children of Isreal. The movie is outstanding, although it has such an old-fashioned air from the fifties, but it is such a beautiful movie. You have to watch this. Moses, found among the reeds of the Nile River by the Bithia, becomes the prized prince of Egypt. He competes against Raamses, both for the throne of Egypt and the for the princess of his heart's desire. He learns of his Hebrew heritage, the clue is a piece of homespun cloth. He forsakes the palace and his rich life to go out among his people and work as they do, as the slaves of Egypt. After he kills the cruel master-builder, Baka, to save the life of another slave, he is cast out of Egypt is disgrace. When he lived in the desert as a keeper of flocks, he encountered the burning bush. He returns the Egypt then to set his people free. This is such a masterpiece. A tender love story, the exciting exodus, the parting of the Red Sea, and Moses' faith in God are all portrayed very well. Charleston Heston, Anne Baxter, and others star in this wonderful movie, The Ten Commandments.
on July 13, 2003
This was Cecil B. De Mille's last film as a director. De Mille's old-fashioned style of filmmaking and story telling is elegant, larger-than-life and rather elegiac and exactly suited for the enormous task of bringing this spectacle to the screen. Charlton Heston gives an excellent and powerfully dramatic performance as Moses. Yul Brynner, who approaches his role with style and confidence, is the prince who outmaneuvers Moses to the Egyptian throne in one of the best performances of his career. Supporting Heston and Brynner is a diverse and powerful cast of actors and performers. John Derek is memorable as Joshua the stone cutter. Anne Baxter is Nefretiri who yearns for the love of Moses. Cedric Hardwicke is an agreeable and levelheaded Pharaoh Sethi. Edward G. Robinson is the traitor to his people memorable for constructing the false idol golden calf. Vincent Price is the villainous and diabolically likable Baka. The beautiful Debra Paget is Baka's slave girl Lilia. Yvonne De Carlo gives a very thoughtful performance as Sephora, Moses' earthly love. John Carradine is Aaron. Woody Strode can be seen as the King of Ethiopia. Laboriously produced, Cecil B. De Mille's THE TEN COMMANDMENTS looks as though it was filmed and acted in a style more suitable to the early days of Hollywood. But that is a very positive quality. The film takes biblical events and turns them into Hollywood's version of history quite effectively. This style of filmmaking brings the larger-than-life scope of the Old Testament to the screen preserving the mystery and awesome power of the concept of a monotheistic divinity. One very effective feature of this film that reinforces this concept are the unearthly looking special effects, which are so eerily disturbing and beyond our comprehension that they truly approach a successful vision of the universal power of God. These distinctively unique special effects by the innovative John P. Fulton are essential to the telling of this story. Elmer Bernstein's rousing and inspirational score is brilliantly moving as it reinforces the vision that De Mille has created. Interestingly, in the earlier parts of this film De Mille shows us the construction of an Egyptian empire. We are witness to and experience the ingenuity of man to engineer and create such mammoth structures. But De Mille through the use of these special effects wipes all this out and shows the futility of man's efforts to subjugate other men when divine intervention prevails. This is such a brilliantly visual film that it still evokes awe and wonder to this day. This 40th Anniversary boxed set handsomely holds the restored and widescreen version of this epic film.
on June 17, 2003
So you think you've seen all of the 1956 film "The Ten Commandments" on Network television? Well think again. This DVD contains all 3 hours and 40 minutes of the film. Every special effect is here to see and of course, no commercials, no interruptions. The color is brilliant. If during the beginning credits you see like neon blue, neon purple, or perhaps called royal blue, royal purple, you've got the right color bar of the picture. Please let your children see this film. Sit down and watch it with them. Allow them to ask questions and learn. At least let them see the special effects (to understand God's power and will). The special effects will be a camera picture in their mind. They will want to see this movie again when they are more mature to appreciate it. The film starts with a one minute and a half "Overture", then Cecil B. DeMille will come out from behind curtains to introduce the film. So many special effects highlights this film. Moses almost sees the face of God at the "burning bush",Moses staph turns into a cobra, the waters of the Nile turn blood red, hail falls from a clear sky and burns with fire on the ground, all first born sons die (the green fog plague), the fire of God, the parting of the sea and Moses sees the face of God as the tablets of The Ten Commandments are created. "Intermission", "Entr'acte" and "Exit Music" also included in film. A very educational discussion by Cecil B. DeMille is included in the 1956 trailer in Special Features. Did you know the tablets used in the film were actually made from the red granite of the very mountain Moses had climbed up to? Note: After this film you might want to see "Raiders of The Lost Ark" (Indiana Jones tries to find the ark were the Ten Commandments were contained).
on June 2, 2003
It's no accident that this film is broadcast on American television every year and finds an appreciative audience during the Passover-Easter period. It's less like a standard movie with a linear plot than a series of tableaux illustrating parts of the book of Exodus. Amidst all the spectacle Cecil B. DeMille was in fact somewhat ahead of his time in handling the show. For instance, he had Moses reject the idea of a God who is not "in every mind, in every heart", and used Charlton Heston both as Moses and the voice of God, raising the issue of whether Moses was saying these things to himself. Pretty daring for the 1950's. DeMille offered logical explanations for all the Mosean miracles except the last plague and the parting of the Red Sea, the film's twin signatures. When Moses signed off he sounded more like George Washington than a Jewish prophet, proclaiming "freedom among all nations." DeMille even thought to reserve a dignified place for the forbears of Islam in his tale. The film speaks directly and emotionally to the issue of good and evil, and how people should live their lives, and no other filmaker in the English-speaking world does that today. Good enough reason for DeMille's last film to be his best-remembered.
on March 3, 2003
Taking place 3,000 years ago, "The Ten Commandments" tells the story of the triumph over slavery and injustice, the story of Moses, a man chosen by God to free the enslaved Israelites.
A long but vivid epic, "The Ten Commandments" is a wonderful, well-done retelling of the favored Bible story, combined with movie-making techniques that help create a masterpiece. The scenery and sets were lush and beautifully done, and they will take you back to Ancient Egypt, where you will witness the Exodus take place. Your heart will even pound as the Red Sea opens - an impressive scene! The actors and actresses played their characters so well that you could almost believe that they were the real people. Charlton Heston's Moses was excellent!
Its message is powerful, making the film inspiring. Slavery has existed for thousands of years, and during the 1800s, the USA was torn apart by the issue of slavery. While watching this film, you will be convinced that slavery should never have existed at all! "The Ten Commandments" not only respects God, it is also a homage to life.
Though made in the 1950s, with old-fashioned technology, this retelling of the story of Moses is a masterpiece, still loved today. Old? Yes, but still good. Probably, after fifty years, this film will still be on the shelves of movie fans. Even young people (like me) enjoy this epic. In conclusion, this is the perfect Passover movie for the whole family!