The Ten Commandments (Three-Disc 50th Anniversary Collection)
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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!
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 Amazon.com 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.
The contemporary story shows a mother with two sons; one is a god-fearing and humble carpenter, the other an unbelieving go-getter determined to prove his mother's teaching of the Ten Commandments of no use in the modern world. Although you can guess that this defiant son's attitude will be proven wrong, being the parallel to the defiant Pharaoh of Egypt in the prologue, DeMille's direction of the story is still unpredictable and suspenseful enough to keep you enthralled and wondering exactly how it will turn out.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A classic and one of my favorites. Enjoyed the older versions too.Published 1 month ago by Valerie Jacoby
This movie is ancient and its crap because when you watch the preview from the Amazon website it shows you the 1953 version in color and when you rent it you get the black and... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Robert Berg
The restoration by Paramount was a monumental task. Because of the length of the film, a truck was used just to transport all the reels of films. Read more
Great video quality. The story begins with Moses and the Ten Commandmnts and transitions into a modern-day family and mother's son who breaks a Commandment and pays the price. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Alex L. Acosta
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