The Ten Commandments


3h 39m 1956
The Ten Commandments

Brief Synopsis

To escape the edict of Egypt's Pharoah, Rameses I, condemning all first-born Hebrew males, the infant Moses is set adrift on the Nile in a reed basket. Saved by the pharaoh's daughter Bithiah, he is adopted by her and brought up in the court of her brother, Pharaoh Seti. Moses gains Seti's favor and the love of the throne princess Nefertiri, as well as the hatred of Seti's son, Rameses. When his Hebrew heritage is revealed, Moses is cast out of Egypt, and makes his way across the desert where he marries, has a son and is commanded by God to return to Egypt to free the Hebrews from slavery. In Egypt Moses's fiercest enemy proves to be not Rameses, but someone near to him who can 'harden his heart'.

Film Details

Also Known As
Prince of Egypt
Release Date
Jan 1956
Premiere Information
New York opening: 8 Nov 1956; Los Angeles premiere: 14 Nov 1956; Chicago opening: 20 Nov 1956
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Abu Ruwash,Egypt; Aswan,Egypt; Beni Youseff,Egypt; Kharga,Egypt; Luxor,Egypt; Luxor,Egypt; Mount Sinai,Egypt
Screenplay Information
Based on the books Prince of Egypt by Dorothy Clarke Wilson (Philadelphia, 1949), The Pillar of Fire; or, Israel in Bondage by Rev. Joseph Holt Ingraham (New York, 1859) and On Eagle's Wings by Rev. Arthur E. Southon (London, 1937).

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 39m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1, 2.20 : 1
Film Length
19,778ft (24 reels)

Synopsis

During the rule of Rameses I in Ancient Egypt, the pharaoh is informed that the Hebrew slaves believe that a recently seen star portends the arrival of a deliverer who will free them. Wanting to subvert the deliverer, yet unwilling to kill all the Hebrew slaves, Rameses I theorizes that the deliverer must be newly born and so orders the death of every male, Hebrew infant. Jewish slave Yochabel, along with her young daughter Miriam, prepares an ark of bulrushes and places her infant son in it. Pushing the ark into the Nile, Yochabel instructs Miriam to follow it, and the girl watches as it is found by Bithiah, the pharaoh's daughter. The recently widowed Bithiah believes that the baby was sent by her deceased husband and, naming him Moses, dismisses the concern of her servant Memnet, who warns her that the child's swaddling cloth was made by Levite Hebrews. Declaring that her son will be a prince of Egypt, Bithiah makes Memnet vow never to reveal his origins, although the servant secretly keeps the cloth. Thirty years later, Bithiah's brother Sethi is pharaoh, and Moses is much loved by the Egyptians, even more than Sethi's own son, Rameses II. Rameses is deeply jealous of Moses, who has returned from Ethiopia after conquering it in Sethi's name. Sethi chides Rameses for not completing the treasure city for his upcoming jubilee, and Rameses blames his failure on the stubbornness of the Hebrew slaves. At Rameses' urging, Sethi sends Moses to oversee the new city's construction, much to the chagrin of Nefretiri, the princess who must marry Sethi's heir. Nefretiri is in love with Moses, who shares her passion, even though Sethi has not announced whether Moses or Rameses will succeed him. In Goshen, where the new city is being built, Moses supervises Baka, the cold-hearted master builder. Also driving the slaves is Dathan, a ruthless Hebrew who has become an overseer. Dathan and Baka both desire Lilia, a Hebrew slave who is in love with the stone cutter Joshua. One day, Yochabel, now an old woman, is almost crushed by the enormous stones being used to build the city. Joshua is condemned to death for attempting to save her, and Lilia then races through the crowd to find Moses and plead for his mercy. Upon examining the scene, Moses frees Yochabel and Joshua, then decrees that not only should the exhausted, starving slaves have a day of rest, they should be fed from the temple granaries. Soon the city is almost completed, and although Rameses and the greedy priests attempt to prejudice Sethi against Moses, Sethi is pleased by Moses' progress. Sethi announces his intention to name Moses his successor, but Memnet, determined not to let a Hebrew sit on Egypt's throne, reveals the truth of his birth to Nefretiri. Desperate to protect her beloved, Nefretiri kills Memnet, then tries to cover her actions. She confesses all to Moses, however, when he finds the swaddling cloth. Astonished by the news, Moses seeks out Yochabel, whom Nefretiri reveals is his mother. Moses finds Yochabel just as Bithiah is pleading with her to leave Egypt before Moses learns the truth, but when Yochabel cannot deny that he is her son, Moses accepts his heritage. After being welcomed by Miriam and his brother Aaron, Moses begins working in the mud pits making bricks alongside the slaves he once commanded. Although Yochabel is convinced that Moses is the deliverer, he remains doubtful about the god of the Hebrews. Later, Nefretiri pleads with Moses to return to the palace before Sethi learns of his situation. Nefretiri's argument that he can better help his people after he is pharaoh seems to sway Moses, but he states that first he must see Baka, who has taken Lilia to be his house slave. Moses arrives as Baka is about to whip Joshua, who had come to rescue Lilia. Infuriated by Baka's callousness, Moses kills him, then reveals his heritage to Joshua. The amazed stone cutter declares that Moses is the deliverer, and his words are overheard by Dathan, who informs Rameses. On the day of Sethi's jubilee, Rameses announces that he has captured the Hebrew deliverer, and the courtiers are stunned when Moses, bound in chains, is led in. Shaken, Sethi asks Moses if he would lead the slaves in revolt against him, and Moses confesses that he would free them if he could. The heartbroken Sethi then announces that Rameses will succeed him and marry Nefretiri, and leaves Moses' fate for Rameses to determine. Rameses then escorts Moses to the edge of the vast desert and, giving him the pole to which he was bound as a staff, tells him to go forth into his kingdom. Despite his lack of water and food, Moses crosses the desert to reach Midian, where he collapses at a well tended by the daughters of Bedouin shepherd Jethro. As time passes, Moses is accepted by the Bedouins and marries Jethro's oldest daughter, Sephora, although he confesses that he is still tormented by the thought of Nefretiri. Several years later, Moses and Sephora have a son, Gershom, and happily tend their flocks, while in Egypt, Rameses, made pharaoh after the Sethi's death, has a son with Nefretiri. One day, Moses sees a burning bush on Mt. Sinai, the holy mountain of God. Climbing up the mountain, upon which no mortal man has set foot before, Moses finds the burning bush and hears the voice of God, who orders him to return to Egypt and lead the Israelites to Sinai, where they will receive God's laws. Although he still doubts his ability to serve God, Moses is touched by the "light of the eternal mind," and Joshua, who escaped from Egypt, swears to accompany him, as does Sephora. [An Intermission divides the story at this point.]
       Upon reaching Egypt, Moses confronts Rameses, demanding that his people be freed. Rameses laughs at Moses' proclamation that he brings the word of God, although Nefretiri is thrilled to see that Moses is alive. When Moses turns his staff into a serpent that swallows up the serpents produced by the Egyptian priests, Rameses dismisses his actions as a magician's tricks, then continues to ignore Moses' pleas to free his people, even though God sets loose nine plagues upon Egypt. Finally, after Moses turns the Nile into blood for seven days, Rameses' advisors urge him to acquiesce, but the pharaoh insists that there must be a natural explanation for the phenomenon. When Rameses again denies Moses, Moses asserts that one final, terrible plague will be brought upon the Egyptians by Rameses' own words. Scornful, Rameses declares that the next day, his soldiers will kill all the firstborn Hebrew children. Rameses' words are turned back upon him, however, when the Hebrews protect their children by painting their doors with lambs' blood, and a spreading pestilence kills every other firstborn child, including Rameses' own son. Grief-stricken, Rameses grants the slaves their freedom, but after the exodus has begun, the vengeful Nefretiri taunts Rameses until he orders his charioteers to chase the freed slaves. Soon the Egyptian forces find the Hebrews by the Red Sea, and Dathan foments a call for Moses' death for leading them to certain doom. To demonstrate the power of the Lord, Moses uses his staff to part the Red Sea and clear a path for the Hebrews, while God's pillar of fire holds back the chariots. When the fire dissipates, Rameses orders his soldiers to cross the Red Sea, but before they can reach the Hebrews, Moses restores the sea and the Egyptians are drowned. Defeated, Rameses returns to the palace and there declares to Nefretiri that the god of Moses cannot be defied. Soon after, Moses leads his people to the base of Mt. Sinai and ascends the mountain to receive God's laws. As forty days pass, the people grow anxious, with Dathan proclaiming that because Moses must be dead, the people should return to Egypt, where at least they can find food. Dathan assures the people that if they follow an Egyptian idol, they will be safe from the pharaoh's wrath, and Aaron is ordered to craft a large, golden calf. Meanwhile, on the mountain, Moses witnesses God's finger carve His ten commandments on two stone tablets. When Moses comes down from the mountain to share the laws, he is horrified to see the people worshipping the calf. Dathan attempts to defy Moses, but Moses throws the tablets on the ground, causing an immense earthquake that swallows the nonbelievers. Although they are forced by God's anger to wander the wilderness for forty years, Moses and his people remain strong in their faith, until one day, they come to the River Jordan, across which lays their promised land. Moses informs his family that God has told him that he shall not pass the river, however, and gives his staff and robe to Joshua, thereby anointing him the new leader. With the restored tablets in the ark of the covenant, Moses urges his people to proclaim liberty throughout the land, then waves farewell as he ascends Mt. Nebo.

Cast

Charlton Heston

Moses

Yul Brynner

Rameses [II]

Anne Baxter

Nefretiri

Edward G. Robinson

Dathan

Yvonne De Carlo

Sephora

Debra Paget

Lilia

John Derek

Joshua

Sir Cedric Hardwicke

Sethi

Nina Foch

Bithiah

Martha Scott

Yochabel

Judith Anderson

Memnet

Vincent Price

Baka

John Carradine

Aaron

Olive Deering

Miriam

Douglass Dumbrille

Jannes

Frank Dekova

Abiram

Henry Wilcoxon

Pentaur

Eduard Franz

Jethro

Donald Curtis

Mered

Lawrence Dobkin

Hur Ben Caleb

H. B. Warner

Amminadab

Julia Faye

Elisheba

Lisa Mitchell

Jethro's daughter

Noelle Williams

Jethro's daughter

Joanna Merlin

Jethro's daughter

Pat Richard

Jethro's daughter

Joyce Vanderveen

Jethro's daughter

Diane Hall

Jethro's daughter

Abbas El Boughdadly

Rameses' charioteer

Cavalry Corps, Egyptian Armed Forces

Pharaoh's chariot host

Fraser Heston

The infant Moses

John Miljan

The blind one

Francis J. Mcdonald

Simon

Ian Keith

Rameses I

Paul Derolf

Eleazar

Woodrow Strode

King of Ethiopia

Tommy Duran

Gershom

Eugene Mazzola

Rameses' son

Ramsay Hill

Korah

Joan Woodbury

Korah's wife

Esther Brown

Princess Tharbis

Rushti Abaza

Hebrew at Golden Calf

Dorothy Adams

Hebrew woman at Rameses' gate/Slave woman

Eric Alden

High-ranking officer/Taskmaster/Slave/Officer

E. J. Andre

Sheik of Hazerath

Babette Bain

Little Miriam

Baynes Barron

Taskmaster

Kay Bell

Taskmaster/Red-bearded slave

Mary Benoit

Guardian of the Prince/Court woman/Hebrew at Dathan's tent/Hebrew at Crag and Corridor/Mother

Henry Brandon

Commander of the hosts

Robert Carson

Adult Eleazar

Robert Clark

Little boy in exodus

Rus Conklin

Whip-scarred brick carrier/Hebrew at Dathan's tent

Touch Connors

Amalekite herder

Henry Corden

Sheik of Ezion

Edna Mae Cooper

Court lady

Kem Dibbs

Corporal

Maude Fealy

Slave woman/Hebrew at Crag and Corridor

Mimi Gibson

Slave girl/Little girl

Diane Gump

Slave

Nancy Hale

Court lady in pool

June Jocelyn

Court lady/Hebrew at Crag and Corridor/Hebrew at Dathan's tent/Wife of Overseer

Richard Kean

Old Hebrew at Moses's house/Hebrew toward Corridor

Gail Kobe

Pretty slave girl

Fred Kohler Jr.

Foreman

Kenneth Macdonald

Hebrew at Crag and Corridor/Slave

Peter Mamakos

Chief driver

Irene Martin

Tuya

George Melford

Hebrew at Golden Calf/Nobleman

John Merton

Architect's assistant

Amena Mohamed

Architect's assistant

Paula Morgan

Hebrew woman/Slave

Dorothy Neumann

Hebrew at Crag and Corridor/Slave/Hebrew at Dathan's tent

John Parrish

Sheik of Rephidim

Rodd Redwing

Taskmaster/Hebrew at Golden Calf

Addison Richards

Fan bearer

Keith Richards

Hebrew at Golden Calf/Courtier/Slave/Hebrew at Dathan's tent/Hebrew at Crag and Corridor/Overseer

Marcoreta Starr

Slave/Hebrew at Golden Calf

Onslow Stevens

Lugal

Clint Walker

Sardinian captain

Amanda Webb

Hebrew at Golden Calf/Young woman/Hebrew in exodus

Frank Wilcox

Wazir

Jeane Wood

Slave/Hebrew at Crag and Corridor/Hebrew at Golden Calf

Cecil B. Demille

Narrator

Cliff Gould

Nobleman

Max Keith

Nobleman

Bob Stratton

Nobleman

Steve Wyman

Nobleman

Maria Elena Aza

Dancing girl

Jeanne Gerson

Slave/Slave with donkey/Hebrew in exodus

Antony Eustrel

High Priest

Robert Griffin

High Priest

John E. Mather

High Priest

Allan Douglas

Hebrew in exodus/Hebrew at Golden Calf

George Baxter

Wazir

Harriet Brest

Hebrew in exodus

Dorothy Crider

Hebrew in exodus

Ida Ratliff

Hebrew in exodus

Florine Caplan

Hebrew woman

Mary Forbes

Hebrew woman/Hebrew at Rameses' gate

Dehl Berti

Architect's assistant

Arthur Robert Kendall

Architect's assistant

Linda Sue Brown

Girl with doll

Richard Bender

Granary child/Child slave

Butch Bernard

Granary child

Patricia Iannone

Granary child

Marilyn Winston

Granary child

Marc Bender

Child slave

Kathy Garver

Child slave

Marlee Sue Regen

Child slave

Don Bender

Young boy

Rickey Mcgough

Boy

Lillian Buyeff

Mother

Jaclynne Greene

Mother

Babs Christie

Jethro's daughter

Ed Hinton

Taskmaster/Flagman

Roger Creed

Taskmaster/Slave/Baka guard

Larry Chance

Taskmaster in brick pits

Henry Escalante

Taskmaster/Palace guard

Fred Coby

Taskmaster/Hebrew at Golden Calf

Fred Zendar

Taskmaster/Slave

Abdullah Abbas

Taskmaster

Michael Ansara

Taskmaster

Joel Ashley

Taskmaster

Bob Lavarre

Taskmaster

Emily Getchell

Old Hebrew woman at Moses' house

Elizabeth Cloud Miller

Old Hebrew woman at Moses' house

Luis Alberni

Old Hebrew at Moses' house

Barbara Aler

Lady from Edon/Priestess/Hebrew at Golden Calf

Kiyo Cuddy

Priestess

Ted Allan

Hebrew at Rameses' gate

Frank Fayad

Hebrew at Rameses' gate

Terence De Marney

Hebrew at Rameses' gate

Frank Leyva

Hebrew at Rameses' gate

Ric Roman

Hebrew at Rameses' gate

Patricia Turner

Hebrew at Rameses' gate

Arthur Batanides

Hebrew at Rameses' gate/Hebrew at Golden Calf

Patti Ballon

Hebrew girl at Rameses' gate

Andy Glick

Hebrew boy at Rameses' gate

Gorgen Raymond Aghayan

Hebrew at Golden Calf

James Davies

Hebrew at Golden Calf

Tony Louis

Hebrew at Golden Calf

Joan Warner

Hebrew at Golden Calf

Carol Leveque

Hebrew at Golden Calf

Mary Ann Griggs

Hebrew at Golden Calf

Lorna Jordan

Hebrew at Golden Calf

George Alexander Khoury

Hebrew at Golden Calf

Frank S. Hagney

Hebrew at Golden Calf

Jacqueline Park

Hebrew at Golden Calf

Mary Ellen Popel

Hebrew at Golden Calf

Elizabeth Prudhomme

Hebrew at Golden Calf

Alan Aric

Hebrew at Golden Calf

Judy Barrett

Hebrew at Golden Calf

Prudence Beers

Hebrew at Crag and Corridor/Hebrew at Golden Calf

Paul G. Wexler

Hebrew at Crag and Corridor/Hebrew at Golden Calf

Eddie Kane

Hebrew at Crag and Corridor

Tido Fedderson

Court lady

Patricia Hitchcock

Court lady

Adele Cook Johnson

Court lady

Joyce Miller

Court lady

Lorraine Moscati

Court lady

Betty Bassett

Court lady

Helene Heigh

Court lady

Vicki Bakkan

Court lady/Hebrew at Golden Calf

Charmienne Harker

Court lady/Lady from Crete

Jan Bradley

Court lady/Slave/Hebrew at Crag and Corridor

Fairy Cunningham

Court lady/Slave

Madelyn Darrow

Court lady in pool

Mary Ellen Kay

Court lady in pool

Dawn Richard

Court lady in pool

Chuck Hamilton

Slave/Hebrew at Crag

Yvonne Peattie

Slave/Hebrew at Crag and Corridor

Shari Clark

Slave/Hebrew toward Corridor

Jefferson Searles

Hebrew toward Corridor

Mona Fouad

Slave

Matty Fain

Slave

Lyn Guild

Slave

Maia Gregory

Slave

Ken Christy

Slave

Polly Burson

Slave

Wanda Brown

Slave

Cindy Brown

Slave

Sophie Dimitry

Slave

Marjie Duncan

Slave

Edward Earle

Slave

Edward Foster

Slave

Paul Gary

Slave

Leonard George

Slave

Tony George

Slave

Jo Gilbert

Slave

Jerry Groves

Slave

Maurice B. Hart

Slave

Jean Harvey

Slave

Madeleine Holmes

Slave

Steve Mitchell

Slave

Frank Nechero

Slave

Inez Palange

Slave

Harry Lewis

Slave

Ronald Liss

Slave

Crew

Moustafa Abdallah

Props

Peggy Adams

Hairdresser

Mohamed Adly

Assistant makeup

Abdel Badie Ahmed

Props

Abdel Hakeem Ahmed

Assistant makeup

Abdel Hameed Ahmed

Props

Gen. Abdel M. M. Ahmed

Liaison officer

Capt. Ahmed Salah Ahmed

Interpreter

Hamdy Ahmed

Makeup

John Mohamed Ahmed

Men's Wardrobe

Mohamed Mahmoud Ahmed

Blacksmith

Sayed Ahmed

Assistant Electrician

Shousha Ahmed

Assistant hairdresser

Zakaria Ahmed

Assistant hairdresser

Hamdi Al Abdel

Assistant makeup

Mohamed Abdel Alein

Interpreter

Alfred Alexander

Camera loader, Egypt

Abdel Salem Aly

Driver

Abdel Wahab Aly

Head men's Wardrobe

Ahmed Mahmoud Aly

Office boy

Mrs. Ahmed Mawhid Aly

Secretary

Erfan Aly

Assistant makeup

Fawzy Aly

2d Assistant Director

Kamel Mohamed Aly

Men's Wardrobe

Mahmoud Aly

Painter

Sayed Aly

Casting Assistant

Hosny Hamza Aman

Props

Galal Amin

Sound Assistant

John A. Anderson

Wardrobe

John A. Anderson

Makeup

O. Arassky

Wardrobe

Fouad Aref

Assistant Director, Egypt

Harry Arnold

Standby painter, Egypt

Art Arthur

Publicist chief

Mohamed Mahmoud Asel

Props

Haguib Asfar

Loc double

Gamal El Ashry

Generator op

Said Ahmed Atta

Props

Abdel Malik Attalah

Wardrobe stock clerk

George Attallah

Transportation clerk

Abdel Aty Atwa

Props shop laborer

Ara O. Avedissian

Stills

Mary Avierino

Head women's Wardrobe

Abdallah Awad

Welder

Sayed Awad

Makeup

Sobhi Awad

Props shop mechanic

Ibrahim Abdel Aziz

Props

Mohamed Abdel Aziz

Men's Wardrobe

Mohamed Abdel Aziz

Props

Moustafa Abdel Aziz

Head men's Wardrobe

Al Baalas

Assistant Camera, Egypt

Rawhia Badawi

Loc double for Olive Deering

Gomad Omran Badowy

Wardrobe guard

Adele Balkan

Wardrobe

Erick Balzer

Camera loader, Egypt

A. H. Barnett

Sound Recording

Sayed Abdel Bashaudy

Men's Wardrobe

Erland "bud" Bashaw Jr.

Makeup

Shater El Basset

Cook

Anne Bauchens

Editing

Howard Beals

Sound Editing

Carol Beers

Traveling matte artist

Claire Behnke

Script Supervisor

Kay Bell

Stunts

Giselle Benaroyo

Secretary

Beba Benvenista

Women's Wardrobe

Elmer Bernstein

Music

Marcella Bertini

Head women's Wardrobe

Ray Binger

Special Effects Camera

Rufus Blair

Pub, Egypt

M. A. Boyce

Camera turnover

Steve Brandt

Men's Wardrobe

Adolph Bricker

Grip, Egypt

Henry Brill

2d Assistant Director

Joan Brooskin

Cecil B. DeMille's loc Secretary

Fritz Brosch

Camera mechanic, Egypt

Hugh Brown

Assistant prod Manager, Egypt

Frank Budz

Wardrobe Designer

Marianna Buehrlen

Henry Wilcoxon's Secretary

Malcolm Bulloch

Stills

Lawrence Butterworth

Makeup

Wayne Buttress

Standby painter

Frank Caffey

Prod management

André Castel

Cashier

Mohamed Moussa Chazly

Driver

Ismail Chinnawy

Men's Wardrobe

Elvin E. Christie

Camera turnover

Staveo Christofidis

Men's Wardrobe

Rena Clark

Research

M. Jane Clifford

Assistant auditor

Al Cline

Assistant Camera

Claire Cochran

Secretary

Joyce Cochtie

Loc double

Florence Cole

Cecil B. DeMille's Secretary

Gordon Cole

Props

Willard Colee

Makeup

Olga Collings

Hairdresser

J. Collins

Loc double for Ramsay Hill

Claude Colvin

Loc double for Edward G. Robinson

Sam Comer

Set Decoration

Jerry Cook

Set constr

Ken Cooper

Stunts

Johan Cope

Casting Director for "Voice of God" chorus

Frank Cordell

Stunts

Rita Coudisi

Loc double for Debra Paget

Roger Creed

Stunts

Nicholas Damaskos

Props

Monica Dameani

Loc double

Beatrice Dashiell

Secretary

William Davidson

Assistant prod Manager

James Davies

Charlton Heston's trainer

Robert Dawn

Makeup

Frances Dawson

Dial Supervisor

Francisco Day

Assistant Director

Albert Deane

Pub

Ann Del Valle

Pub

Kenneth Deland

Prod management

Armand Delmar

Makeup

Frank Delmar

Makeup Supervisor

Frank Delmar

Head Wardrobe

Cecil B. Demille

Producer

Eddie Dengyan

Assistant set dresser

Patricia Dilorenzo

Publicist Secretary

Andrew Durkus

Production Manager

Doris M. Durkus

Hairdresser

Phil Eastman

Assistant Camera, Egypt

Farciot Edouart

Process Photography

Sayed Abdel El Adl

Props

Kamel El Araby

Generator op

Sayed El Badawi

Loc double for Yul Brynner

Ibrahim Aly El Gamal

Assistant props

Ismail Ismail El Kholy

Electrician

Moh Abd El Salam

Loc double for John Carradine

Kamel Ahmed El Sayed

Blacksmith

Salama Gouda El Shaerb

Props

Abass El Sheikh

Artist

Youssef A. Elramby

Assistant mechanic

James Ende

Musician

Mahmoud Eracky

Electrician

Manoli Eskender

Generator op

Adele Essa

Loc double

Mohamed Ezz El Arab

Assistant Camera, Egypt

Mahmoud Ezzat

Men's Wardrobe Assistant

Mohamed Ezzat

Men's Wardrobe Assistant

Makram Fahmy

Men's Wardrobe Assistant

Yolande Fahmy

Secretary

Ed Faigin

Assistant anim

Rafik Shawky Farag

Interpreter

Gamel Fares

Assistant Director

Souraya Farid

Assistant Screenplay clerk

Ibrahim Abdel Fattah

Assistant makeup

Saleh Fawzy

2d Assistant Director

Hamid Abdul Fayed

Driver

Al Finestone

Pub

Lee Forman

Women's Wardrobe Assistant

Ahmed Fouad

Dispatcher-driver

Mohamed Fouad

Assistant makeup

Fredric M. Frank

Wrt for the Screenplay by

Rudolph Frank

Camera mechanic

George Fraser

Pub, Europe

Bertha French

Hairdresser

Arnold Friberg

Sketch artist

Arnold Friberg

Costumes

Frank Friedrichsen

Pub

John P. Fulton

Special Photography Effects

Ahmed Gad

Props shop Electrician

George Gall

Assistant Camera

Ibrahim El Gamal

2d Assistant Director

Abdu Mabrak Garby

Wardrobe guard

Cecil Gardiner

Boom grip

Gigi Gargiulio

Men's Wardrobe

Jack Gariss

Wrt for the Screenplay by

Bob Garvey

Stunts

Gene Garvin

Sound Recording

Charles Gemora

Makeup

George Georgakis

Props

Abdel Azim Ghareeb

Chariot man

Leila Gilbertson

Assistant Screenplay clerk

Abdel Moneim Gilbrill

Men's Wardrobe

Sayed Mahmoud Gindy

Grip, Egypt

Vou Lee Giokaris

Women's Wardrobe Assistant

Ruth Godfrey

Choreography

Robert Goodstein

Props

Jane Gorton

Hairdresser

Hubert Graham

Gaffer, Egypt

Marion Green

Assistant anim

Loyal Griggs

Director of Photography

Florence Guernsey

Hairdresser

Farid El Guiendy

Assistant Director

Ahmed El Guiengy

Carpenter

Dr. Labib Habachi

[Tech adv]

Jack Haddad

Stock clerk

Ahmed Abdel Hadi

Driver

Taha El Haggan

Mechanic

Gladys Hallberg

Animation Supervisor

J. Lester Hallett

Props

Mounir Aly Abdel Hamid

Blacksmith

Maxwell Hamilton

Publicist chief

Sherif M. Hammouda

Assistant Director

Faye Hanlin

Hairdresser

Film Details

Also Known As
Prince of Egypt
Release Date
Jan 1956
Premiere Information
New York opening: 8 Nov 1956; Los Angeles premiere: 14 Nov 1956; Chicago opening: 20 Nov 1956
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Abu Ruwash,Egypt; Aswan,Egypt; Beni Youseff,Egypt; Kharga,Egypt; Luxor,Egypt; Luxor,Egypt; Mount Sinai,Egypt
Screenplay Information
Based on the books Prince of Egypt by Dorothy Clarke Wilson (Philadelphia, 1949), The Pillar of Fire; or, Israel in Bondage by Rev. Joseph Holt Ingraham (New York, 1859) and On Eagle's Wings by Rev. Arthur E. Southon (London, 1937).

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 39m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1, 2.20 : 1
Film Length
19,778ft (24 reels)

Award Wins

Best Visual Effects

1956

Award Nominations

Best Art Direction

1956

Best Cinematography

1956

Best Costume Design

1956
Edith Head

Best Costume Design

1956
Dorothy Jeakins

Best Editing

1956
Anne Bauchens

Best Picture

1956

Best Sound

1956

Articles

The Ten Commandments (50th Anniversary Edition) - Cecil B. DeMille's THE TEN COMMANDMENTS - The 1956 Version on DVD


The 50th Anniversary Edition of The Ten Commandments, Cecil B. DeMille's epic remake of his own 1923 film, tells the story of Moses from the infancy to his receiving of the title documents. When the Pharaoh learns of a prophecy of a newly-born leader springing from the Israelite population, he orders the killing of all Hebrew infants. A Hebrew woman named Jacobeth has recently given birth to a son, and tries to save his life by setting him adrift on the Nile in a basket made of bulrushes and pitch. The basket was found by the Pharaoh's daughter, who named him Moses and took him in to raise him as her own.

When Moses becomes an adult he learns of his true origins, and decides to go among his own people, where he finds to his horror that they are treated like animals. Fighting back on a small scale would be futile, and Moses doesn't know what to do to remedy the situation -- but an encounter with a burning bush would change that. The voice of God speaks from the bush, and tells Moses that he was meant to liberate the Israelites from their bondage. Moses travels back to Egypt and to the new Pharaoh (Yul Brynner), his own former half brother, and tells him that if he doesn't release the Israelites, God will release a series of plagues on Egypt. Pharaoh of course refuses, and Egypt is beset by plagues. Pharaoh remains unmoved until the final plague, in which God kills off the first born of every family.

The Israelites are released in a mass exodus (that literally employs a cast of thousands) and set out into the desert, led by Moses. But it isn't long before Pharaoh hardens his heart again, and mobilizes his army of charioteers to go after them. The chase leads to the Red Sea, where the Israelites' faith starts to fail them, as they watch Pharaoh's men nearing them from the distance, and they are helplessly trapped by the sea. That is when Moses performs one of his greatest miracles with the legendary parting of the Red Sea. Once safely encamped at the foot of Mt. Sinai, Moses climbs up into the mountain where he once again encounters the voice of God, and receives the stone tablets bearing the commandments.

The 1956 version of The Ten Commandments is a time-consuming spectacle that goes an awfully long way to the payoff at the Red Sea. Still, Charlton Heston, as Moses, delivers a powerhouse performance in what he considered "the role of the year," and Anne Baxter and Yvonne DeCarlo are wonderful as Nefretiri and Sephora. But the film is stolen by Edward G. Robinson in his smooth, canny turn as Dathan, and especially Yul Brynner as the new, unrelenting Pharaoh. The much-touted special effects are mainly serviceable by today's standards (particularly the writing of the tablets), with the exception of the parting of the Red Sea, which remains impressive today. At the time of its release it simply stunned audiences. But even in later years, in one of its general re-releases to theaters, some theaters in Chicago actually listed the time the parting would occur!

For any faults the film may have, it delivers something that is rarely seen today: true spectacle. Watching this film with its massive, giant images and hordes of people will prove to you that there really is a difference between an army made up of people, and a computer generated army, which despite improvements in technology still do not look real. On the heels of his success with The Greatest Show on Earth, De Mille set out to make the epic to end all epics, and he fulfilled his wish, going out with a bang.

The 50th Anniversary Edition is rife with extras, beginning with the inclusion of De Mille's original 1923 silent version of the story. This proves to be a faithful retelling of the story, though it doesn't cover as much ground as its successor. It is also quite a odd film in it's own right: it follows the Moses story until the parting of the Red Sea, then reverts to modern day where it attempts to act out the effects of breaking each of the commandments in a story of two brothers, each of whom take separate roads.

Both films include a commentary by Katherine Orrison, the author of Written in Stone: The Making of Cecil B. DeMille's Epic. There is interesting six-part documentary (totally about 35 minutes) about the making of the film with new interviews with Heston and some of the younger cast members. Also included are "The Ten Commandments in New York Premiere Newsreel," three trailers for various releases of the '56 film, and hand tinted footage of the exodus and parting of the Red Sea sequences from the silent version.

The transfer of the 1956 version is splendid, with deep, rich colors and deep, solid blacks. Flesh tones are consistent, and the film is beautifully contrasted throughout. The audio features rich, full-bodied tone quality, deep bass, and dialogue that is crystal clear.

For more information about The Ten Commandments, visit Paramount Home Entertainment. To order The Ten Commandments, go to TCM Shopping.

by Fred Hunter
The Ten Commandments (50Th Anniversary Edition) - Cecil B. Demille's The Ten Commandments - The 1956 Version On Dvd

The Ten Commandments (50th Anniversary Edition) - Cecil B. DeMille's THE TEN COMMANDMENTS - The 1956 Version on DVD

The 50th Anniversary Edition of The Ten Commandments, Cecil B. DeMille's epic remake of his own 1923 film, tells the story of Moses from the infancy to his receiving of the title documents. When the Pharaoh learns of a prophecy of a newly-born leader springing from the Israelite population, he orders the killing of all Hebrew infants. A Hebrew woman named Jacobeth has recently given birth to a son, and tries to save his life by setting him adrift on the Nile in a basket made of bulrushes and pitch. The basket was found by the Pharaoh's daughter, who named him Moses and took him in to raise him as her own. When Moses becomes an adult he learns of his true origins, and decides to go among his own people, where he finds to his horror that they are treated like animals. Fighting back on a small scale would be futile, and Moses doesn't know what to do to remedy the situation -- but an encounter with a burning bush would change that. The voice of God speaks from the bush, and tells Moses that he was meant to liberate the Israelites from their bondage. Moses travels back to Egypt and to the new Pharaoh (Yul Brynner), his own former half brother, and tells him that if he doesn't release the Israelites, God will release a series of plagues on Egypt. Pharaoh of course refuses, and Egypt is beset by plagues. Pharaoh remains unmoved until the final plague, in which God kills off the first born of every family. The Israelites are released in a mass exodus (that literally employs a cast of thousands) and set out into the desert, led by Moses. But it isn't long before Pharaoh hardens his heart again, and mobilizes his army of charioteers to go after them. The chase leads to the Red Sea, where the Israelites' faith starts to fail them, as they watch Pharaoh's men nearing them from the distance, and they are helplessly trapped by the sea. That is when Moses performs one of his greatest miracles with the legendary parting of the Red Sea. Once safely encamped at the foot of Mt. Sinai, Moses climbs up into the mountain where he once again encounters the voice of God, and receives the stone tablets bearing the commandments. The 1956 version of The Ten Commandments is a time-consuming spectacle that goes an awfully long way to the payoff at the Red Sea. Still, Charlton Heston, as Moses, delivers a powerhouse performance in what he considered "the role of the year," and Anne Baxter and Yvonne DeCarlo are wonderful as Nefretiri and Sephora. But the film is stolen by Edward G. Robinson in his smooth, canny turn as Dathan, and especially Yul Brynner as the new, unrelenting Pharaoh. The much-touted special effects are mainly serviceable by today's standards (particularly the writing of the tablets), with the exception of the parting of the Red Sea, which remains impressive today. At the time of its release it simply stunned audiences. But even in later years, in one of its general re-releases to theaters, some theaters in Chicago actually listed the time the parting would occur! For any faults the film may have, it delivers something that is rarely seen today: true spectacle. Watching this film with its massive, giant images and hordes of people will prove to you that there really is a difference between an army made up of people, and a computer generated army, which despite improvements in technology still do not look real. On the heels of his success with The Greatest Show on Earth, De Mille set out to make the epic to end all epics, and he fulfilled his wish, going out with a bang. The 50th Anniversary Edition is rife with extras, beginning with the inclusion of De Mille's original 1923 silent version of the story. This proves to be a faithful retelling of the story, though it doesn't cover as much ground as its successor. It is also quite a odd film in it's own right: it follows the Moses story until the parting of the Red Sea, then reverts to modern day where it attempts to act out the effects of breaking each of the commandments in a story of two brothers, each of whom take separate roads. Both films include a commentary by Katherine Orrison, the author of Written in Stone: The Making of Cecil B. DeMille's Epic. There is interesting six-part documentary (totally about 35 minutes) about the making of the film with new interviews with Heston and some of the younger cast members. Also included are "The Ten Commandments in New York Premiere Newsreel," three trailers for various releases of the '56 film, and hand tinted footage of the exodus and parting of the Red Sea sequences from the silent version. The transfer of the 1956 version is splendid, with deep, rich colors and deep, solid blacks. Flesh tones are consistent, and the film is beautifully contrasted throughout. The audio features rich, full-bodied tone quality, deep bass, and dialogue that is crystal clear. For more information about The Ten Commandments, visit Paramount Home Entertainment. To order The Ten Commandments, go to TCM Shopping. by Fred Hunter

Elmer Bernstein (1922-2004)


Elmer Bernstein, the film composer who created unforgettable music for such classics as The Magnificent Seven, To Kill a Mockingbird, and won his only Academy Award for Thoroughly Modern Millie, died of natural causes at his Ojai, California home on August 17. He was 82.

Elmer Bernstein, who was not related to Leonard Bernstein, was born on August 4, 1922, in New York City. He displayed a talent in music at a very young age, and was given a scholarship to study piano at Juilliard when he was only 12. He entered New York University in 1939, where he majored in music education. After graduating in 1942, he joined the Army Air Corps, where he remained throughout World War II, mostly working on scores for propaganda films. It was around this time he became interested in film scoring when he went to see William Dieterle's The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), a film whose score was composed by Bernard Herrmann, a man Bernstein idolized as the ideal film composer.

Bernstein, who originally intended to be a concert pianist and gave several performances in New York after being discharged from military service, decided to relocate to Hollywood in 1950. He did his first score for the football film Saturday's Hero (1950), and then proved his worth with his trenchant, moody music for the Joan Crawford vehicle Sudden Fear (1952). Rumors of his "communist" leanings came to surface at this time, and, feeling the effects of the blacklist, he found himself scoring such cheesy fare as Robot Monster; Cat Women of the Moon (both 1953); and Miss Robin Caruso (1954).

Despite his politics, Otto Preminger hired him to do the music for The Man With the Golden Arm, (1955) in which Frank Sinatra played a heroin-addicted jazz musician. Fittingly, Bernstein used some memorable jazz motifs for the film and his fine scoring put him back on the map. It prompted the attention of Cecil B. De Mille, who had Bernstein replace the ailing Victor Young on The Ten Commandments (1956). His thundering, heavily orchestrated score perfectly suite the bombastic epic, and he promptly earned his first Oscar® nod for music.

After The Ten Commandments (1956), Bernstein continued to distinguish himself in a row of fine films: The Rainmaker (1956), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Some Came Running (1958), The Magnificent Seven (a most memorable galloping march, 1960); To Kill a Mockingbird (unique in its use of single piano notes and haunting use of a flute, 1962); Hud (1963); earned a deserved Academy Award for the delightful, "flapper" music for the Julie Andrews period comedy Thoroughly Modern Mille (1967), and True Grit (1969).

His career faltered by the '80s though, as he did some routine Bill Murray comedies: Meatballs (1980) and Stripes (1981). But then director John Landis had Bernstein write the sumptuous score for his comedy Trading Places (1983), and Bernstein soon found himself back in the game. He then graced the silver screen for a few more years composing some terrific pieces for such popular commercial hits as My Left Foot (1989), A River Runs Through It (1992) and The Age of Innocence (1993). Far From Heaven, his final feature film score, received an Oscar® nomination for Best Score in 2002. He is survived by his wife, Eve; sons Peter and Gregory; daughters Emilie and Elizabeth; and five grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

Elmer Bernstein (1922-2004)

Elmer Bernstein, the film composer who created unforgettable music for such classics as The Magnificent Seven, To Kill a Mockingbird, and won his only Academy Award for Thoroughly Modern Millie, died of natural causes at his Ojai, California home on August 17. He was 82. Elmer Bernstein, who was not related to Leonard Bernstein, was born on August 4, 1922, in New York City. He displayed a talent in music at a very young age, and was given a scholarship to study piano at Juilliard when he was only 12. He entered New York University in 1939, where he majored in music education. After graduating in 1942, he joined the Army Air Corps, where he remained throughout World War II, mostly working on scores for propaganda films. It was around this time he became interested in film scoring when he went to see William Dieterle's The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), a film whose score was composed by Bernard Herrmann, a man Bernstein idolized as the ideal film composer. Bernstein, who originally intended to be a concert pianist and gave several performances in New York after being discharged from military service, decided to relocate to Hollywood in 1950. He did his first score for the football film Saturday's Hero (1950), and then proved his worth with his trenchant, moody music for the Joan Crawford vehicle Sudden Fear (1952). Rumors of his "communist" leanings came to surface at this time, and, feeling the effects of the blacklist, he found himself scoring such cheesy fare as Robot Monster; Cat Women of the Moon (both 1953); and Miss Robin Caruso (1954). Despite his politics, Otto Preminger hired him to do the music for The Man With the Golden Arm, (1955) in which Frank Sinatra played a heroin-addicted jazz musician. Fittingly, Bernstein used some memorable jazz motifs for the film and his fine scoring put him back on the map. It prompted the attention of Cecil B. De Mille, who had Bernstein replace the ailing Victor Young on The Ten Commandments (1956). His thundering, heavily orchestrated score perfectly suite the bombastic epic, and he promptly earned his first Oscar® nod for music. After The Ten Commandments (1956), Bernstein continued to distinguish himself in a row of fine films: The Rainmaker (1956), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Some Came Running (1958), The Magnificent Seven (a most memorable galloping march, 1960); To Kill a Mockingbird (unique in its use of single piano notes and haunting use of a flute, 1962); Hud (1963); earned a deserved Academy Award for the delightful, "flapper" music for the Julie Andrews period comedy Thoroughly Modern Mille (1967), and True Grit (1969). His career faltered by the '80s though, as he did some routine Bill Murray comedies: Meatballs (1980) and Stripes (1981). But then director John Landis had Bernstein write the sumptuous score for his comedy Trading Places (1983), and Bernstein soon found himself back in the game. He then graced the silver screen for a few more years composing some terrific pieces for such popular commercial hits as My Left Foot (1989), A River Runs Through It (1992) and The Age of Innocence (1993). Far From Heaven, his final feature film score, received an Oscar® nomination for Best Score in 2002. He is survived by his wife, Eve; sons Peter and Gregory; daughters Emilie and Elizabeth; and five grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Martha Scott, 1914-2003


Martha Scott, the actress who originated the role of Emily Webb in the stage and film versions of Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize winning Our Town died on May 28 at a hospital in Van Nuys, California due to natural causes. She was 88.

Martha Ellen Scott was born in Jamesport, Missouri on September 24, 1914, and raised in Kansas City, where a high school teacher encouraged her interest in acting. She majored in drama at the University of Michigan and after graduation, she joined The Globe Theatre Troupe, a stock company that performed truncated Shakespeare at the Chicago World's Fair in between 1933-34. She went to New York soon after and found work in radio and stock before playing making her breakthrough as Emily Webb in Our Town. When the play opened on Broadway in February 1938, Scott received glowing reviews in the pivotal role of Emily, the wistful girl-next-door in Grovers Corners, New Hampshire, who marries her high school sweetheart, dies in pregnancy and gets to relive a single day back on Earth. Her stage success brought her to Hollywood, where she continued her role in Sam Wood's film adaptation of Out Town (1940). Scott received an Academy Award nomination for best actress and was immediately hailed as the year's new female discovery.

She gave nicely understated performances in her next few films: as Jane Peyton Howard in Frank Lloyd's historical The Howards of Virginia (1940), opposite Cary Grant; the dedicated school teacher in Tay Garnett's Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941) in which she aged convincingly from 17 to 85; and as a devoted wife to preacher Frederic March in Irving Rapper's warm family drama One Foot in Heaven (1941). Sadly, Scott's maturity and sensitivity ran against the glamour-girl persona that was popular in the '40s (best embodied by stars like Lana Turner and Veronica Lake) and her film appearances were few and far between for the remainder of the decade.

Her fortunes brightened in the '50s, when she found roles in major productions, such as a suburban wife trapped in her home by fugitives, led by Humphrey Bogart, in William Wyler's taut The Desperate Hours (1955) and played Charlton Heston's mother in the Cecil B. Demille's The Ten Commandments (1956) and again for William Wyler in Ben-Hur (1959). Scott found steady work for the next 30 years in matronly roles, most notably on television, where she played Bob Newhart's mother on The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978) and the mother of Sue Ellen Ewing on Dallas (1978-1991). Her second husband, pianist and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Mel Powell, died in 1998. Survivors include a son and two daughters.

by Michael T. Toole

Martha Scott, 1914-2003

Martha Scott, the actress who originated the role of Emily Webb in the stage and film versions of Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize winning Our Town died on May 28 at a hospital in Van Nuys, California due to natural causes. She was 88. Martha Ellen Scott was born in Jamesport, Missouri on September 24, 1914, and raised in Kansas City, where a high school teacher encouraged her interest in acting. She majored in drama at the University of Michigan and after graduation, she joined The Globe Theatre Troupe, a stock company that performed truncated Shakespeare at the Chicago World's Fair in between 1933-34. She went to New York soon after and found work in radio and stock before playing making her breakthrough as Emily Webb in Our Town. When the play opened on Broadway in February 1938, Scott received glowing reviews in the pivotal role of Emily, the wistful girl-next-door in Grovers Corners, New Hampshire, who marries her high school sweetheart, dies in pregnancy and gets to relive a single day back on Earth. Her stage success brought her to Hollywood, where she continued her role in Sam Wood's film adaptation of Out Town (1940). Scott received an Academy Award nomination for best actress and was immediately hailed as the year's new female discovery. She gave nicely understated performances in her next few films: as Jane Peyton Howard in Frank Lloyd's historical The Howards of Virginia (1940), opposite Cary Grant; the dedicated school teacher in Tay Garnett's Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941) in which she aged convincingly from 17 to 85; and as a devoted wife to preacher Frederic March in Irving Rapper's warm family drama One Foot in Heaven (1941). Sadly, Scott's maturity and sensitivity ran against the glamour-girl persona that was popular in the '40s (best embodied by stars like Lana Turner and Veronica Lake) and her film appearances were few and far between for the remainder of the decade. Her fortunes brightened in the '50s, when she found roles in major productions, such as a suburban wife trapped in her home by fugitives, led by Humphrey Bogart, in William Wyler's taut The Desperate Hours (1955) and played Charlton Heston's mother in the Cecil B. Demille's The Ten Commandments (1956) and again for William Wyler in Ben-Hur (1959). Scott found steady work for the next 30 years in matronly roles, most notably on television, where she played Bob Newhart's mother on The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978) and the mother of Sue Ellen Ewing on Dallas (1978-1991). Her second husband, pianist and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Mel Powell, died in 1998. Survivors include a son and two daughters. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

No son could have more love for you than I.
- Moses
Then why are you forcing me to destroy you? What evil has done this to you?
- Sethi
The evil that men should turn their brothers into beasts of burden, to be stripped of spirit, and hope, and strength - only because they are of another race, another creed. If there is a god, he did not mean this to be so.
- Moses
Harden yourself against subordinates. Have no friend. Trust no woman.
- Sethi
Do you mean to tell me he would turn the slaves against me? I've been his father!
- Sethi
Ambition knows no father.
- Jannes
The one who I choose will be the best man to rule Egypt. I owe that to my fathers, not to my sons.
- Sethi
The city is made of bricks. The strong make many, the starving make few, the dead make none. So much for accusations.
- Moses

Trivia

To create the effect of the sandstorm in the narrated desert sequence, Cecil B. DeMille use the engine blast from tied-down Egyptian air force planes.

Director Cecil B. DeMille suffered a heart attack during the production after climbing 130 feet to check a faulty camera perched on one of the giant gates used in the exodus sequence. He took a couple of days off and then, against his doctor's orders, returned to work to complete the film.

DeMille gave his old actor friend, H.B. Warner, his last speaking role as the old man wanting to die in the desert in the Exodus sequence. H.B. Warner came to fame after Demille cast him the lead as Jesus in his silent film, King of Kings (1927).

This was legendary film composer Elmer Bernstein's first major project. Bernstein had just had some success with his jazz score for Man with the Golden Arm, The (1955). However, he was not DeMille's first choice to score the film. DeMille had a long relationship with Paramount contract composer, Victor Young, who had been working with DeMille since the 1940 film, Northwest Mounted Police. Unfortunately, Victor Young had become very ill and could not accept the project.

One day in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, a casting director for The Ten Commandments approached Jack Peters and his son to ask if Jon wanted to appear in the film. Multitudes of people with dark hair and complexions were needed to cross the Red Sea. Jon was chosen to ride a donkey and lead a goat by rope. Jon was so excited that he refused to wash off his makeup when he went home at night.

Notes

The working title of this film was Prince of Egypt. Before the film's onscreen credits, producer-director Cecil B. DeMille steps out from behind a curtain onto a stage. Directly addressing the audience for two minutes, DeMille states that the Bible omits approximately thirty years in its description of the life of Moses, and that the filmmakers drew upon historical works such as those by Philo and Josephus and the Hebrew Midrash for the picture. DeMille then asserts that the subject of Moses' life is particularly timely, as it deals with themes such as whether man is to be ruled by God's law or the whims of a dictator like Rameses. DeMille announces that the filmmakers' intent was "not to create a story but to be worthy of the story divinely created 3,000 years ago, the five books of Moses." After DeMille states that the film is three hours and thirty-nine minutes long and will contain one intermission, he thanks the audience for its attention, then goes back behind the curtain. Although the prologue was included in the print viewed, the Daily Variety review noted that it would be "used in all initial playdates, but May be dropped later."
       After DeMille's introduction, a special version of the traditional Paramount logo, in which the Paramount mountain is shaped like Mount Sinai and is colored mostly in red, appears and is followed by the onscreen credits. The intermission occurred following the picture's fourteenth reel, after the burning bush has spoken to "Moses" and instructed him to return to Egypt. According to the Daily Variety review, Paramount recommended a ten-minute break. The film ends with a written card stating: "So it was written, so it shall be done," and a special title card announcing the "Exit Music."
       As noted in the onscreen credits, The Ten Commandments was "compiled from many sources and contains material from" three contemporary novels and was written "in accordance with the ancient texts of Philo, Josephus, Eusebius, The Midrash and The Holy Scriptures." DeMille's onscreen credit reads: "Those who see this motion picture-Produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille-will make a pilgrimage over the very ground that Moses trod more than 3,000 years ago." The opening credits contain a written acknowledgment for the "valuable cooperation" of Dr. William C. Hayes, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Dr. Labib Habachi, Department of Antiquities, Luxor, Egypt; Dr. Keith C. Seele, Dr. Ralph Marcus and Dr. George R. Hughes, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago; and Rabbi Rudolph Lupo, Jewish Community Library, Los Angeles. Studio records indicate that the scholars acknowledged were frequently consulted throughout pre-production and production on a wide variety of historical topics. Frequent voice-over narration heard throughout the film, spoken by DeMille and explaining the action, is taken primarily from the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament. Other books from the Old Testament are also quoted in the narration.
       DeMille announced his intention to remake his 1923 Paramount film The Ten Commandments in spring 1952. The earlier film, which starred Theodore Roberts as Moses, focused only partially on the biblical story and included a modern-day parable about two brothers (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30). Cinematographer J. Peverell Marley and editor Anne Bauchens worked on both the 1923 and 1956 versions of The Ten Commandments. In announcing his intention to remake the film, DeMille noted that the new picture would depict only the life of Moses. In August 1952, Daily Variety reported that DeMille intended the film to be "the biggest picture of his career," an ambition that many modern sources agree that he fulfilled. In an undated, circa mid-1954, letter written by DeMille to the editor of the British journal The Jewish Chronicle, the producer stated that at that time, he had been working on the picture for five years, with "the script alone requiring three years to write." DeMille estimated that the movie would "require two years to film" and would not be ready for release until the middle of 1956. Although information in the Paramount Produced Scripts Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that Edmund Penney worked on the film's screenplay, he is not listed by any other contemporary sources, and the extent of his contribution to the completed picture, if any, has not been determined.
       Henry Noerdlinger, DeMille's chief researcher on many of his films, published a book entitled Moses and Egypt (Los Angeles, 1956) detailing the enormous amount of research undertaken to achieve historical accuracy in The Ten Commandments. According to Noerdlinger's book, "950 books, 984 periodicals, 1,286 clippings and 2,964 photographs were studied," and the "facilities of 30 libraries and museums in North America, Europe and Africa" were employed in the film's preparation. An October 1956 Hollywood Citizen-News article noted that Noerdlinger began his research for the film in June 1952, and an August 1956 New York Times report asserted that the historical preparation cost "hundreds of thousands of dollars." As Noerdlinger explained in his book, the Bible does not give a specific date for the exodus, nor state which pharaoh was confronted by Moses, and so the filmmakers decided upon the 13th century B.C., which was generally favored by scholars as the time of the exodus. They then chose Rameses II, who reigned from 1301-1234 B.C., as Moses' nemesis. [Scholars alternately spell Rameses as Ramses, and Sethi as Seti.] DeMille's depiction of Moses' early life, about which little is told in the Bible, relied upon other sources, as noted in an article written by screenplay author Aeneas MacKenzie for the July 31, 1955 issue of New York Times. MacKenzie stated that "certain ancient Hebrew, Moslem and other non-Biblical texts," as well as sources found in Noerdlinger's extensive research, were used to supply the "missing" details of Moses' life. Noerdlinger's book was used to help publicize the film, especially in Europe, and was given to film, religious and historical reviewers.
       According to an unsourced, circa 1952 news item, contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library, DeMille offered the role of Moses to William Boyd, best known for his work as "Hopalong Cassidy." In DeMille's autobiography, however, he stated: "I was never in any doubt who should play the part of Moses," in reference to Charlton Heston. In September 1954, Hollywood Reporter announced that DeMille was screening the 1954 religious film Day of Triumph "in order to appraise actor James Griffith for a possible lead." Griffith does not appear in the completed picture, however. Studio records and a September 1954 New York Times article indicate that Cornel Wilde was originally set for the role of "Joshua." According to a May 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item, Robert Lowery was considered for the role of "Mered."
       In several contemporary sources, it was noted that Heston was cast partially due to his resemblance to Michelangelo's renowned statue of Moses. After location filming was completed in Egypt, Heston stopped in Rome so that publicity photographs of him with the statue could be taken, and in the trailer for the film, DeMille uses the photos to point out the resemblance. [Heston went on to play Michelangelo in the 1965 Twentieth Century-Fox picture The Agony and the Ecstasy. See AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70.] According to a January 30, 1955 speech Heston gave to the Bureau of Jewish Education, a transcript of which is contained in the Charlton Heston Collection, located at the AMPAS Library, Fraser Heston, the son of Charlton and Lydia Heston, was cast as "The infant Moses," several months before his birth, while his mother was still pregnant. Fraser Heston, who went on to become a screenwriter, director and producer, was three months old when the sequences featuring him were shot.
       In his autobiography, DeMille related that he offered the part of "Rameses II" to Yul Brynner between acts one night while watching Brynner's famed performance as the King of Siam in The King and I on Broadway. According to Yvonne de Carlo's autobiography, she was cast when DeMille was screening footage of a film featuring Nina Foch, who was cast as "Bithiah," and DeMille was so captivated by de Carlo that he gave her the role of "Sephora." In Edward G. Robinson's autobiography, he related his disappointment over his career in the early and mid-1950s, when scrutiny by the House Committee on Un-American Activities caused him to make a string of "B" movies. Asserting that DeMille resurrected his career by casting him as "Dathan," Robinson wrote: "Cecil B. DeMille returned me to films. Cecil B. DeMille restored my self-respect."
       Although Hollywood Reporter news items include the following actors and dancers in the cast, their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed: Wesley Gale, Dennis Nelson, Harry Schwartz, Jody Parker, Patricia Richards, Dorothea Hulse (who wove the fabric used for the robe in the 1953 Twentieth Century-Fox production The Robe, ), Cy Phelps, Norman Walker, Capri Candela, Shirley Hart, Marie Roe, Vera Lee, Virginia Lee, Edith Udane, Joan Samuels, Shirley deBrugh, Marjorie Packa, Jerry Forrey, Lee Irwin, George Bruggerman, Ron Nyman, Edward Fury, Dan Towler, Harry Thompson, Dick Lane, Gadge Johnson, Bess Flowers, Paul Busch, Michael Carr, Buddy Baer, Donald Curtis, Francis MacDonald, Cesar Ugarte, Jr., Paul Haakon, Gregor Mondjian, Aaron Gerard, Lela Zali and Moshe Lazrah. In an interview for the 2004 special collector's edition DVD of the film, music composer Elmer Bernstein noted that Victor Young was originally assigned to score the film but fell ill during production, after which Bernstein replaced him.
       According to studio records, portions of the picture were shot on location in Egypt at a number of locations, including Beni Youseff, near Cairo, where the city of Per-Rameses was partially recreated; Aswan near the Nile River; the grounds of the ancient St. Catherine's Monastery, where many of the cast and crew stayed during filming of the scenes of the burning bush on Mount Sinai, which is also known as Gebel Musa; Abu Ruwash, where later parts of the exodus and the chariot chase were shot; Luxor and Kharga. As noted by a September 16, 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item, a second unit headed by cinematographer Loyal Griggs had been "shooting second unit sequences in Egypt for some time" before the main unit, led by DeMille, left for location and began shooting on October 13, 1954. A October 13, 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that DeMille had four of Paramount's newly developed VistaVision cameras shipped to Egypt for the location shoot. As noted by an October 1952 Daily Variety news item, the extensive location shoot represented the first time that DeMille personally directed footage outside of the United States. According to modern sources, DeMille suffered a heart attack during filming at Beni Youssef, but returned to the set shortly after.
       On October 24, 1955, Life reported that the immense reproduction of Per-Rameses included gates that were 107 feet tall, with two 35-foot statues, made to resemble Brynner, flanking the gates. A June 1955 The Picture News Magazine article estimated that the gates, which were part of one of the largest location sets ever built, were 650 feet wide, 620 feet deep and 108 feet high. An April 1956 Good Housekeeping article reported that the set was a quarter of a mile long and took six months to construct. Production manager Don Robb had arrived in Egypt in February 1954 to coordinate the construction and hire the extensive numbers of people and animals needed, according to studio records, and stayed on long after the shoot was completed to finalize any remaining business.
       Heston, Brynner and Henry Wilcoxon were the only major players to shoot on location, and Brynner was in Egypt for only a brief time to film the sequences in which Rameses leads the chariots chasing the Hebrews during the exodus. The rest of the cast had doubles, shown in long shot, for the location filming. In several papers in the Heston Collection, Heston noted that DeMille always insisted that he stay in character as Moses during filming, even during rest periods on the set, in order "to stay within the context of the part." Heston credited the then-unusual direction with stimulating the authentic reactions he received from the thousands of Jewish, Christian and Moslem extras used during the exodus sequences. In numerous contemporary and modern interviews, Heston related how profoundly moved he was by the experience of being followed by the many extras calling out, "Moussa, Moussa, Moussa" to him.
       In his autobiography, DeMille noted that due to the desert heat, the film negative had to be packed in ice to protect it and completed footage was flown to Hollywood at the end of every day's shooting. After being developed, prints were flown back to Egypt for DeMille to view at Cairo's Misr Studio. According to a November 19, 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item, DeMille employed eighty-eight assistant directors-six from Hollywood and eighty-two hired in Egypt-to help him control the crowds needed for the exodus scenes. Contemporary sources estimated that between 7,000 and 10,000 people were used as extras, with approximately 5,000 head of livestock. According to an American Cinematographer article on the film, it "mobilized the greatest number of extra people ever used in a motion picture," a statement challenged by some film historians when discussing other contemporary "spectacles," such as Quo Vadis and Around the World in Eighty Days. In a 1990 Los Angeles Times interview, Heston stated that upon their return from location shooting, "DeMille shut down the production for several weeks while he edited the footage together and blocked out specifically what he needed to do at the studio." Heston made the 1955 Universal film The Private War of Major Benson during the interval.
       As noted by contemporary news items and information in the Paramount records, in exchange for the extensive cooperation provided by the Egyptian government, which supplied approximately 200 cavalry soldiers and horses, plus equipment, to be used as background extras, Paramount agreed to produce a travelogue about Egypt. Directed mostly by Arthur Rosson, who served as the second unit director on The Ten Commandments, the documentary was shot in color and VistaVision and was entitled Ancient Egypt and Modern Egypt.
       Although information in the film's file in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library gives the lyrics for several songs to be included in the picture, they are heard only in the background as chants by priests or others. The songs were written variously by Bernstein, Noerdlinger and Wilcoxon. Cinematographer Marley was borrowed from Warner Bros. for the production. Noted artist Arnold Friberg designed the costumes of the principal male characters-Moses, Rameses II, Sethi and Baka-and also painted the special version of the Paramount logo that appears at the beginning of the film, according to contemporary sources. Modern sources report that Friberg was largely responsible for the "look" of Moses, including the different makeups that Heston wore as the character aged. Friberg's portraits of Heston as Moses were used widely in the film's publicity, and a number of his paintings were used in the commemorative booklet sold at movie theaters during the picture's exhibition. According to studio records, artist Roy Rulin designed many of the film's décor and props, including the Golden Calf, but because he did not have a contractual obligation to receive an onscreen credit, his name is not listed among the other art and set directors.
       In DeMille's autobiography, the director called recreating the voice of God "the greatest single problem" in the film. In a September 1953 NewsLife interview, DeMille stated that the sequence in which Moses was to receive the ten commandments would be filmed "with special symphonic sound being used to represent the universal language of the Lord's voice." A September 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Guy Prescott had recorded the "voice of God" for the film that week, although in February 1980, an item in Hollywood Reporter's "Rambling Reporter" column claimed that Alan Jeffory was the offscreen voice of God. In his autobiographical collection of his 1956-1976 journals, Heston wrote that he supplied the voice of God. In 1996, Parade magazine reported that DeMille himself had claimed to supply the voice of God, as did singer-actor J. D. Jewkes. The article concluded that "only DeMille and his sound editor, Loren L. Ryder, who died in 1985, knew the truth-because the voice used in the film was run through mixers, changers and echo chambers." According to DeMille's autobiography, Heston's voice was used during the burning bush sequence, but an unnamed friend, who was not a professional actor, was used for the sequence in which God gives the ten commandments to Moses.
       Among the film's noted special effects was the parting of the Red Sea, which was supervised by John P. Fulton, who also did the special effects for DeMille's 1923 version of The Ten Commandments. For the 1956 film, the huge Red Sea set included two giant water tanks, according to an April 1955 New York Times report, which covered not only a 300 by 300-foot square area of the Paramount backlot, but also part of the RKO backlot. According to the Time review, the special effects team "built a 200,000 cubic-foot swimming pool, [and] installed hydraulic equipment that could deluge the area with 360,000 gallons of water in two minutes flat." According to modern sources, Fulton simply projected the film of the water pouring out of the tanks in reverse to simulate the parting of the sea, with footage of the actors then superimposed over the shots of the water. A May 20, 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item asserted that the Red Sea sequence would cost $500,000, both for filming and creating the special effects. The Time review, however, claimed that the scene "cost more than a million dollars and took 18 months to shoot."
       As explained in a report submitted by the studio to AMPAS for consideration for an Academy Award nomination for Best Special Effects, part of the live-action footage for the Red Sea sequence was shot on location in Egypt, and part of it on studio sound stages in front of blue screen backings. The report goes on to state that the water "in the first scenes of the encampment is actually the Red Sea," while miniatures and the water in the tanks were used for the rest of the sequence. Matte paintings of the bottom of the sea and of the sky were combined with the rest of the footage. The studio report concluded that "the opening and closing scenes of the sea are a combination of as many as 12 original negatives printed together with stationery split screen mattes, rotoscope hand-made mattes and Blue Screen Mattes." For the sound effects in the sequence, thirty-five separate sound effects tracks were used, including an "actual Atom Bomb rumble that was recorded during one of the Atom Bomb tests" to simulate the thunder.
       According to a May 1954 version of the screenplay, the look of the pillar of divine fire was suggested by the décor paintings done by Pavel Tchelitchev for the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo version of the ballet "Firebird." Studio records add that several of the animators who worked on the pillar of fire, the finger of God, the burning bush and other effects were borrowed from the Walt Disney Studios. The studio special effects report noted that the writing of the commandments on the tablets "was accomplished by animating three different drawings for each frame," and that nine shades of color were used for the pillar of fire.
       In December 1953, DeMille announced in a Los Angeles Times article that his picture would probably have a budget of at least six million dollars. By September 1954, Los Angeles Times was reporting that the budget would be eight million dollars, and in November 1954, Paramount board chairman Adolph Zukor announced that DeMille was "working on an unlimited budget." On July 27, 1955, Daily Variety announced that the film was the costliest motion picture made to that date and revealed that the profits would be split "50-50" between DeMille's production company, Motion Picture Associates, and Paramount. According to studio records, the final budget was over thirteen million dollars, and in a speech DeMille made in New York just prior to the film's premiere, he claimed that "only six motion pictures have ever grossed as much as The Ten Commandments cost to make."
       An October 1956 Hollywood Citizen-News article reported that before DeMille completed the final edit of the picture, he "invited West Coast top figures in the religious world-laymen as well as clergy-to view the film at Paramount Studios so that he might have their reactions and advice." The guests, ranging from James Francis Cardinal McIntyre to Jewish rabbis and Protestant ministers, were very favorable in their responses. The Ten Commandments, which did not have a formal general release date, played as a special roadshow engagement at "advanced" prices and generally on a reserved-seat, twice-daily basis, before going into a more general release at "neighborhood" theaters at regular prices in mid-to late 1958. Even when the film played at drive-in theaters, exhibitors were required to run it for a minimum of two weeks and pay Paramount a per person royalty, according to July 1958 Hollywood Reporter news items.
       The film received mixed reviews, with many critics praising the spectacular nature of it but dubious about its historical accuracy. Time referred to the film as "in some respects the most vulgar movie ever made." New York Times, however, commented on the then-current conflict between Egypt and Israel and stated that the film "is a moving story of the spirit of freedom riding in a man, under the divine inspiration of his Maker. And, as such, it strikes a ringing note today." The scope of DeMille's overall achievement was highlighted by many reviews, including Cue, which stated: "DeMille has built himself a towering monument-the biggest, most spectacular, and by all means the most impressive of the 70 motion pictures that have constituted his life's work." Hollywood Reporter declared that The Ten Commandments "is not just a great and powerful motion picture, although it is that; it is also a new human experience." Heston's portrayal of Moses, arguably the role with which he is most identified, received mostly positive notices, although the Time critic called him "ludicrously miscast." The Daily Variety review, however, termed him "outstanding" and stated that the role was "splendidly performed." In his autobiography, Heston judged his work in the film as "generally impressive, often very good, and sometimes not quite what it needs to be."
       In a November 1956 editorial about the film, influential New York Times critic Bosley Crowther wrote that because of its subject matter, The Ten Commandments was "weighed with responsibilities that are seldom borne in such manifest fashion by the product of the screen." Although Crowther mildly criticized the invention of Moses' relationship with Nefretiri, he concluded that the film was "unquestionably an interesting romance about a magnanimous individual who gives himself to a high cause." A year later, Crowther wrote another editorial about the picture, noting that 1,300,000 people had seen it at the Criterion Theatre in New York alone. Crowther pointed out that in addition to the DeMille name, "which gives [The Ten Commandments] a trademark that is special in the motion picture field," the film reaped the benefits of "excellent promotion" and "the incalculable asset of its support by church authorities." The Ten Commandments played at the Criterion Theatre in New York for seventy weeks, according to a February 25, 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item.
       In August 1958, in order to broaden the film's appeal, Paramount began showing a version subtitled in Spanish at the Mayan Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, which catered primarily to Spanish-speaking customers. The move was so successful that it was repeated in other parts of Southern California, Arizona and Texas. According to September 1958 Hollywood Reporter news items, The Ten Commandments had not to that time been exhibited in Mexico because the country "so sternly keeps a low ceiling of admissions that Paramount cannot set up any form of roadshowing." In order to "siphon" off prospective Mexican theater-goers, the studio arranged for buses to take customers from Tijuana to see the film in San Diego, CA, and from Juarez and Laredo to see it in El Paso and Laredo, TX. Other subtitled versions were shown throughout the United States in areas heavily populated by foreign speakers.
       The film's power at the box office was the subject of numerous contemporary articles, including a March 19, 1957 editorial by Hollywood Reporter publisher W. R. Wilkerson, who commented on the fact that the film was then taking in one million dollars per week, an unprecedented feat. The picture had played in only eighty theaters by the time it grossed ten million dollars, according to a April 5, 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item, with more than seven million people paying to see it. The item also stated that Paramount and DeMille "reportedly are getting 70 percent of the theatre gross," and that the predictions by studio executives of a $100,000,000, worldwide gross seemed like "a distinct possibility." In December 1960, Hollywood Reporter noted that the film's worldwide gross had reached $60 million, and in July 1965, New York Times reported that The Ten Commandments was one of only five films to have grossed more than thirty million dollars domestically, and put its domestic total to that time at $34.2 million.
       As noted by several contemporary sources, DeMille did not receive any personal profit from The Ten Commandments, which was the seventieth and last picture he directed before his death on January 21, 1959. [DeMille did supervise the 1958 Paramount release The Buccaneer, however, which was directed by his son-in-law, Anthony Quinn, and also starred Brynner and Heston. See entry above.] DeMille's percentage of the profits went to the DeMille Trust, which had been established in the early 1950s by the director and his wife. According to a speech DeMille gave just prior to the film's opening, the trust was established for "charitable, religious and educational purposes." Hollywood Reporter news items also related that in January 1956, DeMille assigned twenty-five percent of his profits to fifty key employees who worked on The Ten Commandments, both in front of and behind the camera. The fifty employees received an annual stipend from the film's profits, and according to a December 15, 1960 Daily Variety news item, the financial arrangement would remain in effect for as long as the film continued to be exhibited theatrically. Contemporary sources noted that it was the first time in film history that such an arrangement had been made, and that some of the recipients had worked with DeMille from 10 to 25 years or even longer. Many of the cast and crew who worked on The Ten Commandments, such as editor Bauchens, associate producer Wilcoxon, photographer Marley, assistant director Francisco Day, actor H. B. Warner and researcher Noerdlinger, had collaborated with DeMille on numerous of the producer's earlier films.
       In October 1958, Hollywood Reporter announced that Pakistan was "the first country in the Free world to bar exhibition" of The Ten Commandments. The article reported that the action was not "leveled against the picture because of its content, but because Pakistan `fears the exhibition of the film at this time May incite a small group of illiterate fanatics.'" The article went on to state that a movie theater in Pakistan had been burned by a Moslem group the previous year when it exhibited a film on Christianity, and that The Ten Commandments was still "barred in the Soviet Union, Red China and all countries held captive behind the Iron Curtain." According to a December 1959 New York Times article, "no one in the United Arab Republic" had ever seen the film, because "the censor has refused to give it his stamp of approval," despite the location shooting done in Egypt. The article further reported that the film had been censored because "in the great clashes between the Egyptians and the Jews, the Egyptians were always the villains and the Jews the victims."
       Modern sources state that Sam Cavanaugh served as a cameraman and Pat Moore as a sound editor on the picture and add to the cast Herb Alpert as a drum player, future film producer Jon Peters as a child extra, Michael Burden, Richard Farnsworth, Amadeo Nazzari, Tim Cagney and Vernon Rabar. DeMille's autobiography and other modern sources note that DeMille's daughter, Cecilia Harper, aided him not only on the set every day during the location shoot, but at night by attending official functions for him. DeMille's granddaughter, also named Cecilia, married Egyptian major Abbas El Boughdadly, who portrayed "Rameses' charioteer" in the picture, on July 6, 1955. The Ten Commandments was the last film of actor H. B. Warner, who died in 1958.
       The September 14, 1956 issue of Collier's featured a number of Brynner's snapshots taken during filming of The Ten Commandments. Brynner later became well-known for his portrait photography. Several claims were made throughout the years that the tablets carrying the ten commandments were auctioned off, but in a July 17, 1995 letter to People magazine, Heston stated that the tablets recently auctioned at Christie's were fiberglass duplicates carried by his stand-in, not the original, fifty-pound, red granite tablets that he carried. Heston then surmised that the original tablets were still in the DeMille family collection. According to a 1963 memo in the studio records, various props and wardrobe from The Ten Commandments were used in the 1965 United Artists release The Greatest Story Ever Told (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70).
       Heston made several recordings of the Old Testament; the first being made for Vanguard Records in the late 1950s. Heston made several other recordings of the Bible, which have been widely sold and are still available. Bernstein's score, which was praised in reviews of the film, was released on a soundtrack album by Dot Records. Another of the varied ways in which the film was promoted was the placing throughout the United States of between 2,000 and 4,000 granite monoliths, six feet in height and inscribed with the ten commandments, in a joint partnership between DeMille and the National Fraternal Order of the Eagles. Stars of the film were present at the unveilings of several of the monoliths during the 1950s. Since 2001, several cities have sued to have the monuments removed on the grounds that they violate the separation of church and state.
       The Ten Commandments received an Academy Award for Best Special Effects and was nominated for Academy Awards in the following categories: Best Picture, Best Art Direction (Color), Best Cinematography (Color), Best Costume Design (Color), Best Film Editing and Best Sound Recording. DeMille received the first Torah Award presented by the National Women's League of the United Synagogues of America. Heston received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor and Brynner was named Best Actor of 1956 by the National Board of Review, which also encompassed his performances in Anastasia and The King and I. In 1999, The Ten Commandments was added to the National Film Registry by the National Film Preservation Board.
       The Ten Commandments has been re-issued theatrically a number of times. The picture was initially withdrawn from distribution in late 1960, by which time Daily Variety estimated that over 51,00,000 people in the United States had seen it. In addition to being rereleased in 1966 (at which time it was again banned in Pakistan), the picture was revived in late 1975, at which time Paramount advertised that it would never be released theatrically again. In 1990, however, a restored print of the film was re-issued in 70mm Super VistaVision with a six-track soundtrack remixed in Dolby Stereo. According to a letter to the editor, published in Hollywood Reporter on February 11, 1991, the restored print represented the first time that the DeMille's introduction to the picture had been included in theatrical prints since the 1950s. The film has played yearly on the ABC television network since the late 1960s, and in March 1997, Hollywood Reporter noted that the network had renewed their rights to broadcast the film through the year 2009. The news item also reported that the picture had consistently won its time slot during its Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday broadcasts. The picture was first issued on DVD in 1999, and in March 2004, Paramount released a special "collector's edition" of the film, featuring several documentaries about its making.
       Among the films about the ten commandments are the ten 1987 short films entitled Dekalog, which were directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski for Polish television before they received a theatrical release, and the 1997 animated film The Ten Commandments, directed by Michael Sporn and featuring the voice of Joel Briel as Moses. Films depicting Moses include the 1975 television movie Moses the Lawgiver, which aired on CBS, was directed by Gianfranco De Bosio and starred William and Burt Lancaster as Moses at different ages; the 1980 Columbia parody Wholly Moses, directed by Gary Weis and starring Dudley Moore; the 1996 TNT television production Moses, directed by Roger Young and starring Ben Kingsley as the title character; and the 1998 animated DreamWorks feature The Prince of Egypt, directed by Brenda Chapman and Steve Hickner, and featuring the voice of Val Kilmer as Moses. In April 2006, ABC broadcast a four-hour, two-part miniseries entitled The Ten Commandments. Directed by Robert Dornhelm, the miniseries starred Dougray Scott as Moses and Paul Rhys as Rameses.

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of the Best Actor Award (Brynner) by the 1956 National Board of Review.

Released in United States Fall October 5, 1956

Released in United States March 1980

Released in United States November 1956

Re-released in United States May 25, 1990

Released in USA on video.

Selected in 1999 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

VistaVision

Released in United States March 1980 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (The Epic: A Monumental Movie Marathon) March 4-21, 1980.)

Re-released in United States May 25, 1990 (Los Angeles)

Released in United States Fall October 5, 1956

Released in United States November 1956