A remake of DeMille’s own 1923 film- this would be DeMille’s last
It’s soapy in some of the writing and it hurts the performances in parts—but on the whole—it’s an engaging melodrama (that moves surprisingly well for 3+ hours) with some scenes showcasing the epic size of the film to praise
At least 14,000 extras and 15,000 animals used in the film—plays to the film’s scope and grandeur—DeMille loves the epic
Heston would admit Brynner gives the best performance in the film and he’s right—the extended ensemble (Judith Anderson, Vincent Price, and John Carradine barely have lines) is great but the film vibrates when Brynner speaks and lights up when he shows up
The illusion of the Red Sea parting was achieved by large “dump tanks” that were flooded, then the film was shown in reverse.
The film’s theme is literally told you by DeMille as the narrator and wit his awkward introduction “the theme of the picture is”
Shot in VistaVision but there are, sadly, so few wide shots, even with the high number of extras and animals and locations. DeMille is not David Lean—it’s like he’s shooting a sitcom box for much of the running time.
Best of the best not just with the cast but crew- Edith Head costumes, Elmer Bernstein
You could play a drinking game—speaking of forecasting what the theme is—with the mention of “bondage”—repeated 30 times—beating a theme to death– “So let it be written, so let it be done”
Lots of rear projection work- some better than others
Edward G. Robinson is fantastic and as I said Yul Brynner comes away with the film from an acting standpoint—won the Oscar in The King and I the same year—this had to have helped—he and Charlton Heston are great here actually going back and forth with their dueling baritones
I’m mixed on the curvy Anne Baxter- she hams it up for sure but she’s not helped by some of the writing “Oh Moses you stubborn splendid adorable fool”
DeMille’s narration—it’s good form, coming in and out at the right time during transitions, but he’s playing this to land so broadly with audiences—he tells you what you’re looking at “chopping stray” and shows someone chopping straw
The Exodus scene with the extras is really something to watch-