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The Ten Commandments (Three-Disc 50th Anniversary Collection)

288 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

For sheer pageantry and spectacle, few motion pictures can claim to equal the splendor of Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 remake of his epic The Ten Commandments. Filmed in Egypt and the Sinai with one of the biggest sets ever constructed for a motion picture, this version tells the story of the life of Moses (Charlton Heston), once favored in the Pharaoh's (Yul Brynner) household, who turned his back on a privileged life to lead his people to freedom. With a rare on-screen introduction by Cecil B. DeMille himself, this unforgettable movie experience is enhanced by a Dolby surround stereo soundtrack.

Special Features

  • Includes 1956 Oscar-winning version and Cecil B. DeMille's original 1923 silent version
  • Hand-tinted footage of the Exodus and Parting of the Red Sea Sequence from the 1923 version
  • Commentary by Katherine Orrison, author of "Written in Stone: Making Cecil B. DeMille's Epic, The Ten Commandments," on both the 1956 and 1923 versions
  • 6-part, 37-minute "making of" documentary, featuring interviews with Charlton Heston and composer Elmer Bernstein, among others
  • Newsreel footage of the New York premiere
  • 3 theatrical trailers: 1956 "Making of" trailer, 1966 re-release trailer, 1989 re-release trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Theodore Roberts, Charles de Rochefort, Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Estelle Taylor
  • Directors: Cecil B. DeMille
  • Writers: A.E. Southon, Dorothy Clarke Wilson, Fredric M. Frank, J.H. Ingraham, Jack Gariss
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Color, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: March 21, 2006
  • Run Time: 356 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (288 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,800 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Ten Commandments (Three-Disc 50th Anniversary Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 103 people found the following review helpful By B. G. Carroll on May 9, 2006
Format: DVD
Like many admirers of DeMille, I was delighted when this 50th Anniversary Edition appeared but then, profoundly disappointed with what it contains. This movie has had two previous DVD releases and to my eyes, the presentation here is not an improvement on earlier outings.

Unlike Warners magnificent restoration of THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, GONE WITH THE WIND and WIZARD OF OZ (amng others) which were digitally restored, frame by frame, Paramount has merely assembled the best archive print it can and remixed the soundtrack.

As for the "extras", surely a film which was in production & pre-production for almost 5 years & cost $13 million to make , had a ton of archive materials - photos, stills, memos, storyboards etc- that could have been included? The documentary seemed underproduced and cheaply done. Where was Debra Paget? Where was Nina Foch? Where was Yvonne De Carlo? All major players in the film and still very much alive! What great memories they would have had to share! Instead, we get an old interview with Heston and two minor bitpart players (one, Eugene Mazzola who played Ramses son, offers little as he was only 12 at the time!). And what about Clint Walker? Every time he makes an appearance as a guard (which is often), we are told this by the irritating commentator, as though it was some momentous event - well, if so, why didn't they interview him? He's a nice guy & loves talking about his career.

So, Paramount, I am giving the DVD set just 3 stars but only because it is good to finally have the silent version available at last. But given the fact that De Mille's own private archive is extensive and comprehensive I am surprised the De Mille Estate was not more fully involved in this.

Three DVDs in a matter of 8 years seems to me to be milking the cow without any effort. Will there be a Super Collectors' Edition next year? If so, I hope it's an improvement on this!

An opportunity missed!
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Lugubrious DBB on March 16, 2006
Format: DVD
There is little I can say that will add to the discussion of Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 VistaVision classic "The Ten Commandments." Love it or hate it, it is impossible to rank the film as anything less than a monumental chapter in the history of cinema.
As for the DVD, the question posed is this: Is the new 50th Anniversary Edition worth the upgrade? The answer depends on your circumstances. If you have never purchased the film on DVD or own only the bare-bones 1999 DVD edition, then I would highly recommend picking up Paramount's newest release of the film. In addition to the 1956 classic (presented in anamorphic widescreen; note to editors: the aspect ratios of VistaVision films are 1.85:1, not 2.20:1 as claimed above), the DVD offers six featurettes detailing various aspects of the film's production, audio commentary by DeMille historian Katherine Orrison, and three trailers, including the 1956 "Making Of" trailer featuring DeMille himself. This three disc set also includes the first DVD release of DeMille's 1923 silent film version of "The Ten Commandments" in black and white and in its original Academy Standard (1.33:1) aspect ratio; the film also features commentary by Orrison.
However, if you own the 2004 Special Collector's Edition release, there is nothing in this set you do not already have, except for the silent film. There are no new special features in this set, and the transfer is identical to the 2004 release. If you own the 2004 DVD, I would recommend saving your money unless you are eager to own the original silent film. For those who do not own any DVD edition of "The Ten Commandments," I highly recommend picking up a copy of this set; it offers the best opportunity to view a true Hollywood masterpiece.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Stephen H. Wood on April 8, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Cecil B. DeMille's THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956, Paramount) may be the greatest Biblical epic in Hollywood's history. People tend to ridicule it, but generally without seeing it. Yes, it has corny dialogue at times, but a glance at the long 1956 theatrical trailer with DeMille in his office, surrounded by Bibles and other religious items, leaves no doubt that this is an old-fashioned showman and devoutly religious man. He was born in the 1880's and came of age during a time of traveling carnival shows with theatrical dialogue and larger-than-life performances. So when it came time to do a wide-screen. color, sound remake of his own excellent 1923 silent epic, he would remember the carnival epics of his youth. We believe the message and manner of speaking in the 1956 film because DeMille believed in it sincerely. He wanted us to, quite simply, live according to The Ten Commandments because God wanted that.

Nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture (it lost to Mike Todd's AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS), THE TEN COMMANDMENTS tells the life of Moses (Charlton Heston) from infancy to old age in ancient Egypt. Though secretly Hebrew, he lives the life of a pharaoh. The supporting cast is very impressive-Yul Brynner as Rameses, Anne Baxter as Nefretiri, Edward G. Robinson as Dathan, lovely Debra Paget as Lilia and John Derek as Joshua (their career performances), Martha Scott and Yvonne DeCarlo, evil Vincent Price, and literally a cast of thousands during the Exodus climax. DeMille had many technical advisors and believed "the film was made in the office", meaning when the screenplay was completely finished line for line and scene for scene. He prided himself on having every single extra know exactly who they were playing and what they were doing story-wise.
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