Just some thoughts and ideas going around in my head while trying to figure out where I am and where everyone else is going.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Ten Commandments

Charlton HestonFor some reason I have developed certain TV movie and traditions over the years for which I have no explanation for. Like, and I have never told anyone this before, I always cry when I watch the Sound of Music. When Capt. Von Trapp is hiding on the roof top or grave yard, I’m never quite sure, with his family while the Nazis search for them. Then Rolfe who is in love with one of the girls finds them and betrays them, tears will just start to roll down my cheeks. I don’t plan to do it. I don’t even plaThe Ten Commandmentsn to watch the movie, but I always catch it and I always feel shivers up my spin during that scene.

Another tradition is watching the 1956 version of The Ten Commandments every year around Easter. I try not to, but as soon as I switch on to the local ABC station and see it playing, I will forget whatever I was doing or planning to do and watch as much as I can. That means I watching it up to when the Israelites who were singing and dancing and having sex around the Golden Calf fall into the pit of fire, or 2 minutes away from the end credits. Did I say people were having sex around the Golden Calf? I may have been projecting. That probably happened at the clubs that I used to go to where the white people acted like they reliving the Golden Calf scene and the black people mainly stood on the outskirts trying to get a look at what was going on so they could condemn it later. Ah memories.

The strange thing is, I don’t even like The Ten Commandments. I remember seeing it on the big screen in the late 70’s and I was impressed by it. But since then, the more and more that I’ve seen I realize that it’s really a bad movie. The actors all play as if they are acting for the people in the balcony with stultified gestures and over the top dialogue that came straight out of the 1920’s. In fact in this version, I bet if you were turn the sound down for 30 or 45 minutes you would The Ten Commandments 1923still know what was going on because it seems like the director, old Cecil B. himself, used his notes from his 1923 version of the movie. And the fact that ABC has turned a 3 hour movie into a 4½ hour movie with commercials doesn’t really help.

I can’t help myself, I have to watch it. Each year I have to look and see if I can find where Edward G. Robinson says, ”Where’s you Moses noowww?” I’ve never caught it, only heard people say it's there. I still thrill at Yul Brynner saying with hands on hips, “So let it be written, so let it be done.” And I still love to watch Anne Baxter vamp up her interpretation of Gloria Swanson or some other silent screen great, but with sound; and all of this in glorious Technicolor.

Some people get dressed in silly hats or ill fitting suits or chase around for hard boiled eggs that will put them at risk for salmonella poisoning to celebrate Easter, I watch The Ten Commandments, so sue me. What do you do?


  1. I confess...I watched it too.

  2. I loved watching this movie every year, along with Wizard of Oz. For me the attraction was the "special effects" they used for the parting of the Red Sea. Wasn't that pretty impressive for 1956? After the movie came out on VHS I simply fast forwarded to the best part. Come to think of it, I haven't watched it this year. Gotta go.

  3. A whole lot of nothing. I made an Easter basket for my son, went to breakfast with my dad & his GF and went to dinner with my mom.

    Took a nap in between. lol

  4. D-Place - They should a put a warning at the beginning of the movie, "may lead to chronic addiction," because I don't why it is that people watch this year after year. It's not like the end of the movie is ever going to change.

    photogreg - True the special effects are good and it took me years to figure out how they did them, but the whole tone of the movie is what impresses me. The size of the sets, the number of extras they must have used, a srcipt with an evil woman to turn the heart of pharoh with a simple line, all of this and much more make this not just a movie but an experience.

    Runningmom - Sometimes dealing with three generations of family in one day will make you want to take a nap just so you can make it through; but that is what family is all about. Look at it this way, when you become a grandmother and you are having easter dinner with your son and his wife, you'll think to yourself, "I love my son and my grandkids but why does he still bring that horrible woman around," and you'll smile to yourself knowing they'll be leaving soon and you'll take a nap then too.

  5. I know how you feel. I am beginning to think we are kindred spirits or something because I can relate to this. I admit I can't through move than 4 minutes of the 10 commandments, but the Sound of Music gets me everytime. Those darn Von Trapp kids. *SIGH*

    I have been actively trying to break down all those funny hat traditions surrounding religious holidays. Tjis year instead of ham I forced my family to have Jerk Chicken and Lemon Pepper Chicken grilled to perfection. It went over well, until my mother's friend showed up with a HUGE ham. Oh well.
    So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye

  6. Sound of Music: I love it, I sing the songs, and play the songs.

    The Ten Commandments: I first saw it when I was a kid, when LaserDisc was the hot thing. Remember LaserDiscs.... lol. That movie is just strangely addictive.

  7. Ingrid - I personally can't stand ham, but I love bacon and I can't explain why. Next time you do the chicken thing though, I'll be there. In fact my mouth is watering already.

    Dusty Boot - You must have grown up in the rich part of town. LaserDiscs were things I only saw on store shelves and for only about a year or two.

  8. I also look at the Ten Commandments every year. I think its a hoot!


  9. I've never been a fan of the epic biblical stuff, but I have to say my childhood "Here we go again"s were this film, The Sound of Music (I still watch it every year), The Wizard of Oz (I prefer the ridiculous Diana Ross/Michael Jackson vehicle, The Wiz), and Willy Wonka and the Chocoloate Factory (I'm talking Gene Wilder, the original and best).

    Great blog, by the way: found you through Dusty Boot.

  10. Lola - You are so right, a Hoot is the best way to describe this movie. Because the more I look at it, the more I wonder how they got away with it even in the 50's. It is just so damn entertaining you can't tear yourself away from it.

    Sanya - Thanks for dropping by I always welcome new friends here even those who want to disagree with me. I can't say I'm much of a Wiz fan, Miss Ross seems a little too old, and for me, too hard and skinny to watch every year, but I hear you on Willy Wonka, especially when the Oompa-Loompas are on the screen.

  11. Interesting you mention this movie as I found myself for the first time EVERY watching the Ten Commandments on Saturday as well. It was so interesting to me for some reason although I kinda feel some kinda way for during the commercial breaks, I was perusing the internet for ummmm...unpure manly activities. (Sorry Lord but you knew...) LoL.


  12. Damnit - Now if you are saying that you were on the net right after they had shown a scene with Yul Brynner in it, I will quite understand. Although I think you may have been breaking a few of the Commandments right then and there.

  13. Haven't given these programs much attention since childhood unless you count last year when you posted it last year and this year.

  14. Chet - Hmm, you know I've checked and I don't think I have done a post on this movie. Maybe you're are thinking of when I referrenced Yul Brynner, the sexiest man ever on the screen, in a post I did on something else.

  15. As a child and even as a teenager I watched the 10 commandments every year...and I mean every year, it was never intentional either but local tv stations always had it on air. Well It did make one time...not quite sure why.

  16. Tairebabs - it's a vast right wing conspiracy.


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