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lavenderdiva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-14-06 01:07 PM
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The Ten Commandmants movie: Charlton Heston
Edited on Fri Apr-14-06 01:14 PM by lavenderdiva
In honor of the Easter tradition of airing 'The Ten Commandments' movie with Charlton Heston, I came across a little background on the film that I thought was interesting. On ETonline, they were interviewing Fraser Heston about his dad's Alzheimer's. I didn't realize that Charlton Heston was suffering from this disease. However, in the interview, some background on the movie was discussed, which I include here:

'Charlton's role as Moses in 1956's 'The Ten Commandments' is arguably his most famous one, and Fraser says his dad "likes the film a lot, and his own work in it" and has seen it "plenty of times."

Believe it or not, it was Fraser himself who played baby Moses when he was less than a year old in the movie: "I was the little guy in the basket," he says, adding that DeMille contacted his father before he was born, asking whether they were expecting a boy or girl. Once Fraser was born, the Hestons received a telegram from the famous director saying, "Congratulations. He's got the part."

The dramatic biblical epic, with an all-star cast that includes YUL BRYNNER as the Pharaoh, ANNE BAXTER as Queen Nefretiri, EDWARD G. ROBINSON as Dathan, the overseer of the slaves and YVONNE DeCARLO as Moses' wife, has played semi-annually on ABC since the early '70s, and Fraser says his father would "stumble into it every so often."

Fraser says the project was a seminal film for his dad and that a Hollywood era ended with its release. "It's a heck of a film," says Fraser. "It still holds up. It's a different style than today ... marvelously timeless; a story that speaks to so many people."'

link: /

The following movie trivia is from imdb (link: ):

Trivia for
The Ten Commandments (1956)

* To create the effect of the sandstorm in the narrated desert sequence, Cecil B. DeMille used the engine blast from tied-down Egyptian air force planes.

* Cecil B. DeMille suffered a heart attack during the production after climbing 130 feet to check a faulty camera perched on one of the giant gates used in the exodus sequence. He took a couple of days off and then, against his doctor's orders, returned to work to complete the film.

* Cecil B. DeMille gave his old actor friend, H.B. Warner, his last speaking role as the old man wanting to die in the desert in the Exodus sequence. Warner rose to fame after DeMille cast him as the lead as Jesus in his silent film, The King of Kings (1927).

* This was legendary film composer Elmer Bernstein's first major project. Bernstein had just had some success with his jazz score for The Man with the Golden Arm (1955). However, he was not Cecil B. DeMille's first choice to score the film. DeMille had a long relationship with Paramount contract composer Victor Young, who had been working with DeMille since North West Mounted Police (1940). Unfortunately, Young had become very ill and could not accept the assignment.

* One day in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, a casting director for this film approached Jack Peters and his son 'Jon Peters' to ask if Jon wanted to appear in the film, as multitudes of people with dark hair and complexions were needed to cross the Red Sea. Jon was chosen to ride a donkey and lead a goat by rope. He was so excited that he refused to wash off his makeup when he went home at night.

* Cecil B. DeMille previously filmed this story as The Ten Commandments (1923).

* Considerable controversy exists over who supplied the voice of God for the film, for which no on-screen credit is given. The voice used was heavily modified and mixed with other sound effects, making identification extremely difficult. Various people have either claimed or been rumored to have supplied the voice: Cecil B. DeMille himself (he narrated the film), Charlton Heston and Delos Jewkes, to name a few. DeMille's publicist and biographer Donald Hayne maintains that Heston provided the voice of God at the burning bush, but he himself provided the voice of God giving the commandments. In the 2004 DVD release, Heston in an interview admitted that he was the voice of God.

* Cecil B. DeMille's first choice for Moses was William Boyd, best known as Hopalong Cassidy. Boyd turned down the role, fearing the Hopalong Cassidy identification would hurt the movie.

* Charlton Heston was chosen for the role of Moses by Cecil B. DeMille because he bore a resemblance to Michelangelo's statue of Moses in Rome.

* When Woody Strode reported to work, he presented Cecil B. DeMille with an antique bible Strode's wife had found. DeMille was so impressed with the gift he not only put Strode in two parts in the film but told Strode that if he ever wanted a part in a future DeMille film, all he had to do was ask. Unfortunately, this project was Demille's final film due to declining health.

* In adjusted-for-inflation gross, this movie is the top grossing movie in the US that has not benefited from multiple releases. It is generally in the top 3 to top 10 of all-time top grossing films (depending on who made the list and how they accounted for re-releases), adjusted for inflation.

* Decades later, some of the props used in this film - in particular cups, glasses and tableware - turned up in an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987) called "Tapestry".

* Celluloid art created the special effects of the Red Sea parting by pouring 300,000 gallons of water into a tank and then playing the film backward.

* 14,000 extras and 15,000 animals were used in the production of the movie.

* The illusion of the Red Sea parting was achieved by large "dump tanks" that were flooded, then the film was shown in reverse. The two frothing walls of water were created by water dumped constantly into "catch basin areas" then the foaming, churning water was visually manipulated and used sideways for the walls of water.

* Urban legend has it that Anne Baxter's character's name was changed from Nefertiti to Nefertiri because Cecil B. DeMille was afraid people would make "boob" jokes. In reality, DeMille was sticking to history: Rameses II's queen was called Nefretiri. Nefertiti lived about 60 years earlier than the events in The Ten Commandments. Both names mean "Beautiful".

* Father and son both played Moses in this movie, as Fraser Clarke Heston played Moses as an infant.

* There is a longstanding rumor that future Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is an extra in this film, possibly playing a soldier. In her book "My Lucky Stars", Shirley MacLaine recalls asking Castro if he indeed was in the film, and receiving an ambiguous answer.

* The special effects work was so extensive that it was not completed by the final edit. The released version contains fringing during some blue screen shots which the crew did not have time to correct.

* When asking the Egyptian authorities for permission to film there, Cecil B. DeMille was pleasantly surprised to find out they were fans of his film The Crusades (1935). "You treated us so well, you may do anything here you want," they told him.

* Produced at a then-staggering cost of $13 million, the film went on to become Paramount's biggest-grossing movie to that time. For years it ranked second only to Gone with the Wind (1939) as the most successful film in Hollywood history.

* Although uncredited, former Mr. America Mike Sill was one of the persons helping to carry the Idol of the Golden Calf

* The last line of the film "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof" was taken from Leviticus 25:10 of The Bible. It is also printed on the Liberty Bell.

* Feature film debut of Robert Vaughn.

* Many of the sets, costumes and props for this picture were originally made for The Egyptian (1954) and were bought from the studios of 'Daryl F. Zanuck' (q.v.) for reuse. The sword of the Hittite Princes, which plays a large part in "The Egyptian" toward the end, is seen again in this film in the hands of 'Clint Walker' (q.v.), who plays an Egyptian royal guard. This gives a nice feeling of historical continuity, as the events in "The Egyptian" take place during the reign of Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) about 60 years before the events in "The Ten Commandments".

* Despite being credited as costume designers, John L. Jensen and Arnold Friberg did not work primarily in designing any costumes. Jensen was the lead sketch artist, and only worked in sketching out designs for certain costumes, while Friberg was hired to design the film's titles, which were hand lettered and photographed over a colored leather background. Friberg also contributed sketches regarding the costuming, but worked primarily as the title designer.

Goofs for
The Ten Commandments (1956)

* Continuity: When Moses is talking to the Hebrew crowd as the deliverer for the first time, the stick in his hand changes hands as it is filmed from different positions.

* Anachronisms: Moses on top of the large rock with a watch on.

* Revealing mistakes: The floating basket bounces in the water when the lid is closed as would be expected; but scenes in which the lid is open and the baby Moses is visible the basket is stationary, very obviously supported under the water. Maybe the basket could not float with the weight of the baby, or maybe it was for safety reasons.

* Continuity: When Nefretiri appears carrying their newly-dead son to Ramses, the boy's skirt is hanging very low. In the next shot, the excess skirt is suddenly wrapped under her arm.

* Errors in geography: Ramses stands in front of the Saqarra pyramids, with the Nile in the background and deports Moses into the desert. Unfortunately this will send Moses due west into the Sahara, instead of east across the Sinai.

* Continuity: When the chariots are riding out of the city, the shots alternate between a clear blue sky and a sky with clouds.

* Revealing mistakes: The words on the stone tablets are clearly visible before they are "carved" into the stone.

* Continuity: When Yochabel is trapped before the stone her robe's rope belt varies in length.

* Anachronisms: The safety pin on the infant Moses' diaper can be seen when the baby is afloat on the Nile.

* Revealing mistakes: When the Israelites are making the golden calf, one of the male dancers carelessly, but harmlessly, backs into the pot of molten metal.

* Anachronisms: When Nefretiri is playing "Hounds and Jackals" and talking with Rameses, the lace trim at the top of her brassiere is visible.

* Audio/visual unsynchronized: When Moses is standing on the rock with the Ten Commandments in his hand, he points to the Hebrews and his voice is heard saying, "Blasphemers! Idolaters!" but his lips do not move.

* Continuity: When the Hebrews are going out of Egypt, a camel eats some fruit that a man is carrying on his back. In the next shot, the amount of fruit has decreased markedly (too much for the camel to have eaten it all).

* Anachronisms: In the scene where "Bithia" fishes Moses out of the Nile, you can't miss the blatant zipper up the back of her dress. I accept that Miss Head couldn't do historically accurate clothing and still have a glamorous epic, but there are ways of fastening clothes that don't call for a mechanism not invented until 1892 C.E.!

The 'Ten Commandments' starring Charlton Heston & Yul Brenner will air Saturday night, 04/15/06, on ABC-TV, at 7pmCST.

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CBHagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-14-06 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
1. That's a great post, lavenderdiva.
I had no idea how many anachronisms there were in that movie! :rofl:

I haven't seen the movie since the '70s, when of course it was Easter viewing at our house (My brother mocked the scene where the commandments are bashed into the tablets with a fiery fist or whatever that was). I had even forgotten Edward G. Robinson was in it until a co-worker did imitations of his character. (Assume Edward G. voice.) "Moses, Moses!" :rofl:

The actor/director Peter Riegert, in his recent film King of the Corner (based on Bad Jews and Other Stories by Gerald Shapiro), plays a character who notes that his true ancestors were the stubborn Israelites who were busy drinking, fornicating, and melting down their jewelry to make the golden calf while Moses was off getting the 10 Commandments. I think that makes an interesting genealogical point for a lot of us, regardless of ethnicity.

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lavenderdiva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-14-06 11:14 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thanks, CBH!!
I love the one where Moses is standing on the rock, speaking to the multitudes, and he is wearing a wrist watch!!!! Who was doing the costume check that day, I wonder??? And how did noone watching the dailies, or doing the editing, catch this either?? That makes me laugh!
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