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 still 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?