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Movies my family quotes: Part three

October 19th, 2008 · No Comments

I actually had another movie in mind for this post, but I decided to take advantage of the fact that Pam asked me to cap part of it for her BNAT application. Since I had planned on capping the exact same moment she wanted me to cap. . . well.

This is a favorite movie of my family, especially for Sunday viewing.

“Who is this fair young god entering into the house of Pharoah?”

The Ten Commandments (1956)

This is a movie everyone should see at least once, if for no other reason but that they just don’t make movies like this any more. No one did the spectacular epics like Cecil B. DeMille, and The Ten Commandments, his last picture, is arguably his absolute best. And it has a shirtless Yul Brynner. What’s not to like? ;)

In many ways, this movie is quotable simply because of the way it is written. The writers were simply incapable of writing straight dialogue–every line, to paraphrase Elizabeth Bennet, is designed to amaze the whole audience, and be handed down to posterity with all the ├ęclat of a proverb–and DeMille milks every bit of majesty from them he can. From “I am the son of your body” to “So let it be written, so let it be done,” the whole movie can be seen as hopelessly corny. And you know what, in a lot of ways, it is. Which is one of the reasons I love it. It’s all so dramatic, and often realism is sacrificed for drama.

Take the scene I screencapped above. It’s where Moses’ wife, Sephora, informs Moses that Joshua has arrived among their sheep (although neither know it’s Joshua yet). Rather than point backwards with her right hand (since her left is holding her staff), she points across her body as she yells “Moses! There’s a man among the sheep!” Much more dramatic, yes, but– oh, so funny. And I must admit that the vast majority of the lines we quote from this film are used in an ironic way that was certainly never intended.

But while a lot of the film is hokey, some of it is just as awe-inspiring as DeMille intended. Take the Exodus of Israel from Egypt. Just the number of extras they had in that scene is flabbergasting. Nowadays all those people would be computer-generated, like the herds of Orcs in Lord of the Rings. But in The Ten Commandments, there really were that many people. And animals. And carts. Can you imagine the logistics involved? It’s staggering. (Incidentally, I can’t see that scene without remembering when our high school’s TV-announcement production, Spartanvision, made an ad for a the senior’s all-night graduation party using this clip, with Moses saying loudly “Remember this day when the strong hand of the Lord leads you out of bondage”, except they had someone (badly) overdubbing “the Lord” with the name of our principal. Cracks me up to this day.)

The special effects, and there were a lot of them, were top-notch for their day, and most of them still stand up pretty well. No computers were used for the famous parting of the Red Sea (and I love this scene because of the group of 3 women watching the action while dramatically clasping their bosoms and looking as sexily awed as possible. :P):

Anyway. I love this movie. All 3 hours and 40 minutes of it.

Tags: Movies

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