The 10 Commandments


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The (much rewritten) story of Moses bringing the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt.

Oh man. This one is a lulu. It’s kinda like childbirth, you forget how painful it is til you do it again…but following the time honored tradition of our childhoods, Mr. Otter and I wasted a perfectly good Easter evening watching this turkey.

Where shall I start? The lavish but misguided production values, costumes and interior design that is 50s chic with a pseudoegyptian look? The moronic and historically inaccurate plot? The incredibly bad acting?

Yes, the incredibly bad acting. Mr. Otter’s contention is that, like wine in a bottle, Charlton Heston’s performances actually get worse over time, even when the movie was made years ago…it continues to age and every time you watch it, it has deteriorated. This is especially true of his terse yet scenery-chewing style of acting, declamatory mishmosh of biblical quotes, painfully awkward and unbelievably nonsensical love scenes, and thundering pronouncements. It has to be seen (and suffered through) to be believed. In a lifetime of bad movies, I truly think this is Chuck’s worst, and should never be forgotten.

And like Gone with the Wind, the fast-paced and (relatively) interesting first half lulls the viewer into complacency, so that after the intermission he or she will return to brain-numbing boredom and many quick glances at the wristwatch.

I would dearly love to see the MST3K crew at work on this one, it offers so many places where funny comments and dialogue can be inserted…God knows Mr. Otter and I did our best to amuse each other, but he was asleep for the last 45 minutes of it…and I could only envy him.

Do not buy this movie. You owe it to yourself to see it, but please, for the love of God, rent it from a library for free. Don’t waste your hard earned money on this dog…unless (like the Otters) watching really bad movies is something you do for amusement. If that is the case, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Added note: Yul Brynner, who plays Rameses, had just been promoted to a Serious Honey, and truly, although he mostly stomps around declaiming and snarling, he is pretty easy on the eye in this one…

Imponderable: Every year, when I was growing up, this was on TV on Easter night. Huh? It’s not about Easter, it’s about Passover…which, granted, generally happens right close to Easter…but still…seems kinda wierd…

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