The Curator of Schlock #121 by Jeff Shuster

The Ten Commandments

(The 11th Commandment, Thou shalt not blog, does not exist.)

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I know. I know. Many of you had given up hope that your Curator of Schlock would never return, but I told you that I’d be back in March and your Curator keeps his word. Since Easter weekend is upon us, I thought I’d lend my commentary to 1956’s Cecil B. Demille’s The Ten Commandments from director Cecil B. DeMille. No doubt many of you will be watching its annual run on Network television this weekend. Okay. Let’s put some lipstick on this golden calf. I have some points to make about this classic epic.

1. Why is the director talking to the audience?

Who does this guy think he is, William Castle? Mr. DeMille comes right out of the curtains to address the audience before the movie starts. I wonder if audiences back in the day actually thought he was in the movie theater. He’s rambling on about dictators and freedom and the Commmies (well, maybe he didn’t mention that last part.)

2. I like Rameses more than Moses.

So we’ve got Yul Brynner as Rameses II, and he’s cool. I’m sorry, but I love the man’s attitude.

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He just wants the throne of Egypt and he is the rightful heir. He kintones, “So let it be written, so let it be done.” When Nefretiri, the princess to be, says that she’ll never love him, Rameses is like “What does that matter?” Like a boss!

3. Vincent Price is in this movie!

Yeah, he plays Baka, the Master Builder. I guess he’s the architect of the Pharaoh’s Treasure City. Imagine that, a city filled with treasure like golden doubloons and sapphires and…um…more golden doubloons. He fancies the water girl, Lilia, and wants to make her his house slave, but Moses breaks his back, killing him instantly. Vincent Price never gets the girl!

4. Nefretiri is a femme fatale!

Webster defines a femme fatale as “a very attractive woman who causes trouble or unhappiness for the men who become involved with her.” Yeah, Nefretiri as played by Anne Baxter fits that role.

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She goads Rameses into sending his army into the parted Red Sea. Rameses would left well enough alone, but no, his whole army has to get wiped out because of his scheming Queen. Incidentally, Ann Baxter starred in a noir picture called The Come On the very same year.

5. This is a looooong movie!

The Ten Commandments is 220 minutes long. That over three and a half hours! Maybe if Cecil B. DeMille had quite narrating at random points in the movie, he could have shaved about an hour off of this thing!

6. Those who will not live by the law, shall die by the law!

So Edward G. Robinson plays Dathan, a bad Hebrew who leads the others astray while Moses is up in the mountain getting The Ten Commandments. They build a golden calf to worship and there’s much, ummmmmm, nakedness.

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Dathan wants to sacrifice Lilia, the water girl, to their new god, but then Moses comes down with the Ten Commandments and he is not pleased. Let’s just say if you were standing by that golden calf, you’ve just received a one-way ticket to hell.

Happy Easter everyone! Oh, and Happy Passover too! Huh? Passover isn’t for another few weeks. How does that work?

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Jeffrey Shuster 1

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA candidate at the University of Central Florida.
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