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NEW Heston/brynner/de Carlo - Ten Commandments (Blu-ray)
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Based on the Holy Scriptures, with additional dialogue by several other hands, The Ten Commandments was the last film directed by Cecil B. DeMille. The story relates the life of Moses, from the time he was discovered in the bullrushes as an infant by the pharoah's daughter, to his long, hard struggle to free the Hebrews from their slavery at the hands of the Egyptians. Moses (Charlton Heston) starts out "in solid" as Pharoah's adopted son (and a whiz at designing pyramids, dispensing such construction-site advice as "Blood makes poor mortar"), but when he discovers his true Hebrew heritage, he attempts to make life easier for his people. Banished
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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.Read more ›
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.
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!
Most recent customer reviews
i like religious movies because i'm amazed anyone has enough faith to be devout in this messed up worldPublished 2 months ago by john payton
Tells the story of a Jew raised as a Prince of Egypt. He eventually gets run out of town. Spends years in the desert, then God calls him to get the Children of Israel out of Egypt. Read morePublished 4 months ago by ellison
Always an excellent watch. DVD was exactly as promised, brand new, NOT a burn. This movie never fails to delight.Published 5 months ago by shiremaid