cecil b demille

Movie Monday: The Ten Commandments 1923

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Ten Commandments Image
Photo Credit: imdb.com

Ninety-five years ago, today, The Ten Commandments, a Cecil B. DeMille silent film, was showing. Much like the Charlie Chaplin movie from last week, if this movie was a number one, there is no way to tell as the Academy Awards were still six years away. It was the 2nd highest-grossing film of 1923 so, it was very popular. It starred Theodore Roberts, Charles de Rochefort, Estelle Taylor, Julia Faye, Terrence Moore, James Neill, Lawson Butt and Clarence Burton. It was released on December 4 at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

Plot from IMDB:

The first part tells the story of Moses leading the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land, his receipt of the tablets and the worship of the golden calf. The second part shows the efficacy of the commandments in modern life through a story set in San Francisco. Two brothers, rivals for the love of Mary, also come into conflict when John discovers Dan used shoddy materials to construct a cathedral.

Trivia Bits:
♦ Most of the chariot crashes in the prologue were real and unplanned.
♦ After production, the enormous movie sets were bulldozed and buried in sand. It is now the legendary “Lost City of DeMille” and the site is recognized as an official archaeological site by the state of California.
♦ Midway through production, the film ran out of money and Cecil B. DeMille’s original backers pulled out. The production was saved when DeMille called in a personal favor from his friend Amadeo Giannini, one of the founders of Bank of America. Giannini’s $500,000 investment allowed the production to continue without stopping.

One Nomination