Top positive review
73 people found this helpful
A fabulous film treated respectfully.
on 21 April 2009
The Ten Commandments was made in Vistavision which was Paramount's answer to Cinemascope. Not as wide as Cinemascope, Vistavision had an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 which is almost exactly the same as a widescreen TV at 1.78:1. Standard 35mm film was used but it moved horizontally through the newly designed Vistavision cameras, the frames being photographed side by side instead of one over the other. This resulted in a bigger negative area and therefore better picture quality than Cinemascope.
To view the movie as intended you'd have had to visit a cinema equipped with the horizonal projectors. Most cinemas would have 35mm anamorphic prints which would crop the picture at top and bottom to give a scope aspect ratio of 2.35:1. TV of course, would crop the picture at the side to give a ratio of 1.37:1.
Paramount's Vistavision productions had a sharp, grain free look and it shows on this DVD. Ten Commandments is presented here in its correct aspect ratio with no black lines at top and bottom or at the sides.
The Ten Commandments was and is a ROADSHOW movie with an overture, intermission and exit music. In the 50s and 60s a roadshow movie often had special instructions sent to cinema projectionists on how it should be exhibited.
When the overture was playing the curtains were kept closed because there is no picture, the film has a soundtrack only at this point. When the picture appeared the curtains opened and the movie proper began. At the end of the first half the word "intermission" appeared briefly and then faded to black, the curtains closed. After about 15 minutes the second half of the movie began with the entr'acte music. Curtains were closed at this point because there is again, no picture. The curtains were opened when the picture appeared. In roadshow films there was never a title at this point, the second half just began on the next scene. - At the end of the movie after the end titles the film would go to black and the exit or walkout music would play while the curtains were closed.
The Ten Commandments is the only roadshow movie on DVD that I know of that is presented correctly. The screen is black during the overture, entr'acte and exit music. THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD BE. The word "overture" should not be present at the start, the word entr'acte should not be present at the start of the second half and, most heinous of all, there should not be a slide show during the intermission - ARE YOU LISTENING MGM WITH "DOCTOR ZHIVAGO?"
Cecil B. De Mille introduces the Ten Commandments after the overture, he's usually edited out as is all the additional music when it's shown on TV.
In this DVD everything is correct. Those of you with projector systems at home can replicate accurately the presentation of the Ten Commandments at its time of release. WELL DONE PARAMOUNT, FIVE GLOWING STARS FOR THIS ONE.
Some say there are inaccuracies in the storyline. Well, this is a movie and the movies have never been known for their accuracy. It's great filmaking though, made at a time when going to the cinema was a real event. It's all about showmanship. They don't make them like this any more. - Anyway, if you want the true word of God you should be reading your Bible...shouldn't you?