The Ten Commandments

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

The Ten Commandments is one of the great film classics of the 1950's, and probably one of the most spectacular Biblical epics ever made. In it, Hollywood actually manages to treat the sacred with reverance. Charlton Heston makes a heroic Moses, while Yul Brynner is a suitably sinister Pharaoh. On the whole it is relatively faithful to the Biblical account, although they use other ancient writers such as Josephus to fill in the blank spaces between his birth and his flight to Midian. However to me the real interesting parts come after he returns to Egypt to demand the freedom of the Children of Israel. The political infighting of Egyptian princes is over, and Moses assumes his Biblical role of liberator and then leader of the Exodus. At the end the Golden Calf heresy is telescoped with the schism of Korah and of Daithan and Abijah, but it doesn't really detract from the moral message of the movie, that of a society based upon the rule of law. There is so much in this movie that one could write an entire article just on it.

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Review posted December 1, 1998