The Ten Commandments, DeMille's second take on the same theme (the first dating to 1923) is one of the lushest and most impressive Biblical epics ever screened. Ancient Egypt in the heyday of Rameses is recreated in grandiose style, and one of the greatest stories from the Old Testament is retold with the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood. Even as a child seeing it for the first time in the 1970s, I was impressed at the special effects including the Nile turning to blood, death sweeping through the streets of Egypt to claim the newborns, and the pillar of fire that allows the slaves to escape through the parted Red Sea. Brynner's hate against the Hebrews is palpable following the death of his son, Anne Baxter is luminscently beautiful and conniving as Nefertiri, and Heston gives his usual solid performance as the stoic Moses, saviour of his people. For me, the stand out moment of this film is the Exodus from Egypt, played by DeMille's 'cast of thousands'. This scene is a magical moment in the history of films. It captures it all - the small details, the humour, the animals and children - and must have been a nightmare to coordinate! But add to this the score written for the film by Elmer Bernstein, and it all comes together to be a cinematic experience that will be remembered for a lifetime.
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