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Ten Commandments (blu ray)...Paramount's restoration is as miraculous as parting of the Red Sea
on April 10, 2011
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.