The Ten Commandments (1923 film)

The Ten Commandments (1923 Film)

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The Ten Commandments (1923 film)

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The Ten Commandments is a 1923 American epic silent film directed by Cecil B. DeMille, starring Theodore Roberts as Moses, Charles de Rochefort as Pharaoh Ramesses, Estelle Taylor as Miriam the sister of Moses, and James Neill as Aaron, the brother of Moses. The cast also included notable silent film actors Nita Naldi, Leatrice Joy, Rod La Rocque, Richard Dix, Edythe Chapman and Agnes Ayres. The film is a grand spectacle of early Hollywood filmmaking, running 136 minutes, with the Exodus scenes photographed in early Technicolor. While the first half of the film tells the biblical story, the second half is a morality parable set in modern times. The film is the first in DeMille's biblical trilogy followed by The King of Kings (1927) and The Sign of the Cross (1932). The movie was released by Paramount Pictures and premiered at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre on December 4, 1923.


Despite its epic scale, the Moses story only takes up about the first third of the film. After that, the story changes to a modern setting involving living by the lessons of the commandments. Two brothers make opposite decisions, one, John, to follow his mother's teaching of the ten commandments and become a poor carpenter, and the other, Danny, to break every one of them and rise to the top. The film shows his unchecked immorality to be momentarily gainful, but ultimately disastrous.

A thoughtful contrast is made between the carpenter brother and his...
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