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The Ten Commandments (DVD) Review

Nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, The Ten Commandments is by far the best rendition of the story Moses ever to cross the big screen. Directed by celebrated Hollywood trailblazer Cecil B. DeMille, the film is based on the Old Testament epic which tells the story of the enslavement of the Hebrew people by the Egyptian empire. Burdened by hundreds of years of oppression, God hears the wailing calls of the Hebrews and sends his messenger Moses to demand Pharaoh set them free. With a hardened heart, the ancient monarch refuses, setting the stage for a battle with the Almighty that threatens to leave Egypt in ruinsÖ

The Ten Commandments begins with the birth of Moses, a Hebrew born to slaves. Fearful her son will be murdered, a Hebrew slave woman places her newborn son in a basket to float among the reeds of the Nile. But the child is found by Pharaohís daughter who accepts the child as her own. As a result, Moses grows up in the palace of Pharaoh as a member of Egyptian royalty, his true identity hidden by the princess and her handmaid, Memnet (Judith Anderson).

The film then fast-forwards to the adolescent years and early adulthood of Moses (Charlton Heston), who has grown into a noble man of strong character much favored by Pharaoh Sethi (Cedric Hardwicke). Moses is also object of the affections of the beautiful Nefretiri (Anne Baxter), a fact which further stokes the ire of Sethiís biological son, Rameses (Yul Brynner), a jealous rival to Moses. Pleased with the efforts of Moses, Sethi eventually names him as successor. But the dark secret of his past can not remain hidden, and when Nefretiri discovers the truth from Memnet, she murders the handmaid. Too noble to turn from his people, Moses faces the truth and acknowledges this newfound fact to Sethi who banishes him from Egypt forever.

Wandering through the desert, he settles in Midian, marries Jethroís eldest daughter, and enjoys a fruitful life. But the peace enjoyed by Moses is soon broken when he encounters a burning bush. The spirit of God inhabits the bush, and God tells Moses to return to Egypt where he will be the instrument by which God will free the Hebrews.

Arriving in Egypt, Moses issues Godís commands to Pharaoh Rameses. But Rameses does not listen. In vengeance, God inflicts Egypt with a series of plagues. Nevertheless, Rameses still refuses to free the slaves. Finally, when a curse from his own lips kills the firstborn son of Rameses, he relents and agrees to free the slaves. But when he changes his mind once again, only a miracle from God can save the Hebrews from a certain and imminent death.

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Special Effects (1957), itís readily apparent that The Ten Commandments was not filmed yesterday. However, the movie is not ridiculously dated in its imaging and special effects Ė at least, not enough to detract from enjoyment of the film. Furthermore, the movie remains a blockbuster to the present day because of the commanding performances put forward by the main characters pitted in conflict: Moses (Charlton Heston), Rameses (Yul Brynner), and Godís voice (Charlton Heston). This strong portrayal of various Old Testament characters by seasoned professionals will stand the test of time. The Ten Commandments is certainly one of the top one hundred films ever produced, and a definite must-see for any cinema aficionado.

Submitted by:

Britt Gillette

Britt Gillette is author of The DVD Report, a blog where you can find more reviews like this one. Source: http://thedvdreport.blogspot.com/2006/02/ten-commandments-dvd.html





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