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The Ten Commandments (1923)

After hearing the story of Moses, the sons of a devout Christian mother go their own ways, while the atheist brother's breaking of the Ten Commandments leads to tragedy.

Director:

Cecil B. DeMille (as Cecil B. De Mille)

Writer:

Jeanie Macpherson (story)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Theodore Roberts ... Moses - The Lawgiver
Charles de Rochefort ... Rameses - the Magnificent: Prologue (as Charles De Roche)
Estelle Taylor ... Miriam - The Sister of Moses
Julia Faye ... The Wife of Pharaoh - Prologue
Pat Moore ... The Son of Pharaoh - Prologue (as Terrence Moore)
James Neill ... Aaron - Brother of Moses
Lawson Butt ... Dathan - The Discontented
Clarence Burton Clarence Burton ... The Taskmaster - Prologue
Noble Johnson ... The Bronze Man - Prologue
Edythe Chapman ... Mrs. Martha McTavish
Richard Dix ... John McTavish - Her Son
Rod La Rocque ... Dan McTavish - Her Son
Leatrice Joy ... Mary Leigh
Nita Naldi ... Sally Lung - a Eurasian
Robert Edeson ... Redding - an Inspector
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Storyline

The first part tells the story of Moses leading the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land, his receipt of the tablets and the worship of the golden calf. The second part shows the efficacy of the commandments in modern life through a story set in San Francisco. Two brothers, rivals for the love of Mary, also come into conflict when John discovers Dan used shoddy materials to construct a cathedral. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Mightiest Dramatic Spectacle of All the Ages.


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 November 1923 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Ten Commandments See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White | Color (2-strip Technicolor) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During one day of the filming of the Exodus scenes, about 60 bit players were injured in chariot crashes. Most went right back to work after getting bandaged up. See more »

Goofs

When the Red Sea is parting, it's clear that the filmed footage was played in reverse. See more »

Quotes

Dan McTavish - Her Son: This time, we're going to take a chance on a leaner 'mix' - one of cement to twelve of sand and rock. With a broad-minded building inspector like yourself on the job - it's a cinch!
See more »

Connections

Edited into Forgotten Commandments (1932) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Church of the Poison Mind
8 February 2009 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

Cecil B. DeMille's Paramount EPIC "The Ten Commandments" tells the Old Testament's "Moses" story during its first hour. The "special effects" highlights are: Theodore Roberts (as Moses) parting the Red Sea, and the Biblical patriarch's thunderous receiving of God's commandments. The production is first rate throughout. After about fifty minutes of spectacle, the film switches to a "Modern Story" - wherein Mr. DeMille seeks to tell a morality story involving "The Ten Commandments".

For the main story (the more memorable Moses segments were a mere "prologue"), DeMille introduces the McTavish brothers - saintly carpenter Richard Dix (as John), and partying atheist Rod La Rocque (as Dan). While Mr. Dix stays home to read The Bible, with dear mother Edythe Chapman (as Martha McTavish), Mr. La Rocque breaks Commandments, with lovely Leatrice Joy (as Mary Leigh). Of course, Dix falls in love with Ms. Joy, after she becomes his brother's wife…

DeMille's morality tale is extremely heavy-handed, but nevertheless enticing, and expertly directed.

The "Biblical" and "Modern" story format recalls D.W. Griffith's superior "Intolerance" (1916). The all-star cast (it's 1923, remember) performs exceptionally, with La Rocque being seen in one of his finest performances. As any actor will tell you, La Rocque was halfway there, upon receiving the "bad brother" role, over Dix - and, La Rocque runs away with the film. His is a "Best Actor"-worthy performance. Nefarious Nita Naldi (as Sally Lung) leads a strong supporting cast.

All things considered, this one's a lot more fun than the 1956 re-make.

********* The Ten Commandments (11/23/23) Cecil B. DeMille ~ Rod La Rocque, Richard Dix, Leatrice Joy, Theodore Roberts


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