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EYE-BALL MovieZone – Oscar Movies 1956 …

September 28, 2011
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EYE-BALL MovieZone –
Oscar Movies 1956:
EYE-BALL MovieZoneThe Nominees for the Best Picture in 1956 were:

1956 Nominees:

[Oscar Best Picture Winner – highlighted – click Nominee Movie links provided to navigate your way up and down the page – each Movie has additional links to Bit Torrent “downloads’ links, Wikipedia Links for all the information about the nominated movie, and the EYE-BALL MovieZone Reviews and ratings. Movie posters appearing at this site have been copied from Wikipedia and other research related source sites.]

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EYE-BALL MovieZoneReview – 1956

“Around the World in 80 Days”:

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Plot: [Pasted from Wikipedia] –

The film begins with a special onscreen prologue introduced by broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow. and featuring footage of an early science fiction/fantasy film by Georges Méliès, A Trip to the Moon (1902), which is based loosely on From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne.[3] Included also is the launching of an unmanned rocket and footage of the earth receding.

Around 1872, an English gentleman Phileas Fogg (David Niven) claims he can circumnavigate the world in eighty days. He makes a £20,000 wager (equal to £1,324,289 today) with several skeptical fellow members of the Reform Club, that he can arrive back within 80 days before exactly 9:00 pm.

Together with his resourceful valet, Passepartout (Mario Moreno “Cantinflas”), Fogg sets out on his journey from Paris via a hot air balloon. Meanwhile, suspicion grows that Fogg has stolen £55,000 (equal to £3,641,794 today) from the Bank of England so Police Inspector Fix (Robert Newton) is sent out by Scotland Yard to trail and arrest Fogg. Hopscotching around the globe, Fogg pauses in Spain, where Passepartout engages in a comic bullfight. In India, Fogg and Passepartout rescue young widow Princess Aouda (Shirley MacLaine) from being forced into a funeral pyre with her late husband. The threesome visit Hong Kong, Japan, San Francisco, and the Wild West. Only hours short of winning his wager, Fogg is arrested upon returning to London, by the diligent yet misguided Inspector Fix.

At the jail, the humiliated Fix informs Fogg that the real culprit was caught in Brighton. Though eventually exonerated of the charges, he has lost everything — except the love of the winsome Aouda. But salvation is at hand when Passepartout realizes the next morning that, by crossing the International Date Line, they have gained a day. There is still time to reach the Reform Club and win the bet. To the surprise of all waiting at the club, Fogg arrives just before the clock’s chime at 8:45 pm. Aouda and Passepartout then arrive. Noticing Fogg’s whole travel party has arrived, the Reform Club announces the completion of the journey.

EYE-BALL MovieZone Review …

Not my type of movie – fantasy epic that long ago lost any appeal – Would not want to watch it again.  Well acted with Niven delightful as always with his english toff accent – but in a year of exceptional movies and epics that carry great viewing pleasure even now – how this movie was given the Best picture gong astounds me.

EYE-BALL MovieZone Rating [scale 0-10]: 5.0/10 …

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EYE-BALL MovieZoneReview – 1956

“Friendly Persuasion”:

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Plot: [Pasted from Wikipedia] –

The film tells the story of a pacifist Quaker family in southern Indiana during the American Civil War. The father of the family is gradually converted to supporting the war.

The protagonist of the story is Jess Birdwell (Gary Cooper) the patriarch of the Birdwell family whose worldliness is forever coming in conflict with his being a Quaker. Jess’s wife Eliza (Dorothy McGuire) is a deeply religious woman and is steadfast in her refusal to engage in violence of any sort. Jess’s daughter Mattie (Phyllis Love) wants to remain a Quaker but has fallen in love with a dashing cavalry officer (Peter Mark Richman), a love that is against her mother’s wishes. Jess’s youngest child “Little” Jess (Richard Eyer) is a feisty child whose comical feud with his mother’s pet goose causes her nothing but heartache. Jess’s eldest son Josh (Anthony Perkins) is a young man torn between his hate for violence and the knowledge that to protect his family he must join the military and fight the invaders.

We are introduced to the family via its youngest member, “Little” Jess, who is forever at war with his mother’s pet goose. The story begins as an easygoing and humorous tale of Quakers trying to maintain their faith as they get ready and then go to Meeting on a Sunday. The mood shifts dramatically when the meeting is interrupted by a Union officer who asks how the Quaker men can stand by when their houses will be looted and their families terrorized by the approaching Confederate army. He questions various young men specifically, doubting their courage and suggesting that they are hiding behind their religion out of fear. When directly confronted with the question of his being afraid to fight, Josh Birdwell responds honestly that it might be the case. His honesty provokes the wrath of Purdy, a Quaker elder who is quick to condemn people who don’t believe as he does.

The film returns to comedy as the Quakers try to maintain their ways, but one is always reminded throughout that the Confederate Army is drawing closer every day. When the Confederates finally arrive, the situation turns deadly serious. Jess is cultivating his fields when he notices an immense cloud of smoke on the horizon, the kind that can only be produced by the burning of a city. Josh soon arrives and tells them the entire neighboring community has been reduced to a land of ash and corpses. Josh believes that he must fight, a conviction that threatens to destroy the family. Eliza tells him that by turning his back to their religion he’s turning his back on her, but Jess sees things a different way, explaining to her: “A man’s life ain’t worth a hill of beans except he lives up to his own conscience.”

With the story’s climax at hand, each member of the family is forced in their own way to confront the question of whether or not it is ever right for a Christian to engage in violence.

EYE-BALL MovieZone Review …

Never been a big fan of Gary Cooper – he plays a Quaker in a father role with a grown family mixed up in the Civil War.  The movie resonates with minority groups and America’s willingness to make movies exploiting the quirkiness of these minorities.  The awareness factor raised the profile of these types of minorities and they were always pitched against the ‘real’ America nd how they could abstain from the better quality of life on offer.

Once again the movie has dates and it is not a movie I would want to freely watch again.  I can’t remember a scene that stayed with me.

EYE-BALL MovieZone Rating [scale 0-10]: 4.5/10 …

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EYE-BALL MovieZoneReview – 1956

“Giant”:

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Jordan “Bick” Benedict (Rock Hudson), the head of the rich Benedict ranching family of Texas, goes to Maryland to buy a stud horse, War Winds. There he learns that this is the favored mount of the socialite Leslie Lynnton (Elizabeth Taylor), and is instantly smitten by her beauty. Despite signs that she does not see Texan history as he does, and his knowledge that she is engaged to a diplomat (Rod Taylor, credited at the film start as Rodney Taylor), he courts her vigorously and marries her to take up life with him in Texas. and becomes his wife.

They return to Texas to start their life together on the family ranch, Reata, where Bick’s sisyer Luz (Mercedes McCambridge) is head of the household. Luz resents Leslie’s arrival and tries to subdue her. Jett Rink (James Dean) works for Luz and hopes to find his fortune by leaving Texas; he also has a secret love for Leslie. Luz expresses her hostility for Leslie by mounting War Winds and cruelly digging in her spurs. The horse rebels and throws her. Coincidentally, Jett is giving Leslie a tour in a ranch car of part of the property and she learns that on part of it is a community of Mexican farm workers bedevilled by illness, for whom medical care is unavailable. That evening, Luz dies of her injuries and Bick shoots him, a decision Leslie accepts. She corrals the doctor called to the ranch to care for for Luz, and compels him to attend to the ailing farm workers despite Bick’s complaint that traditionally, doctors don’t treat Mexicans on the ranch. In her [will (law)|will]], Jett is left a small plot of land within the Benedict ranch. Bick tries to buy this, but in honor of Luz, Jett refuses. Jett keeps the fenced off waterhole as his home and names the property Little Reata.

Leslie eventually gives birth to twins, Jordan “Jordy” Benedict III (Dennis Hopper) and Judy Benedict (Fran Bennett), and a younger daughter named Luz II (Carroll Baker). Leslie is offended by the Texan principle that women have no no part to play in business and political discussions, and she is not allwed even to hear them. Her repeated efforts to join in are all rebuffed.

Jett discovers traces of oil in a footprint left by Leslie and drills. He hits his first gusher and covered in oil, drives to the Benedict yard to proclaim to the family and guests that he will be richer than the Benedicts. After Jett makes a rude sexual remark to Leslie, Bick punches him. As Bick’s friends hold him to restrain him, Jett recognizes that he is defenseless and hits him several times, then drives off. In the years before World War II, Jett prospers through his oil drilling company, named ‘Jetexas’. Determined to remain a cattle rancher like his forefathers, Bick rejects several offers to drill for oil on his much larger ranch.

In postwar years, tensions in the Benedict household revolve around how the parents want to bring up their children. Bick insists that Jordy must succeed him and run the ranch, just like his dad and grandfather before him – but Jordy wants to be a doctor. Leslie wants Judy to attend finishing school in Switzerland, but Judy loves the ranch and wants to study animal husbandry at Texas Tech for her education. Both children succeed. After war breaks out, Jett visits the Benedicts to convince Bick to allow oil production to help the war effort. Recognizing that his children will not take over the ranch when he retires, Bick concedes. Both Bick and Jett now have drinking problems and Jett is a violent drunk. Luz II, now a teen-aged girl, starts flirting with Jett. Once oil production starts, the wealthy Benedict family becomes even wealthier, depicted by the addition of an elaborate swimming pool next to the house.

The Benedict/Jett Rink rivalry continues however, and it comes to a head when the Benedicts find Luz II and the much older Jett have been dating. At a huge gala Jett organizes in his own honor, an irate Jordy tries to fight him, after his Mexican American wife, Juana (Elsa Cárdenas), had been repeatedly insulted by Jett employees due to her race. Again, Jett unleashes violence on a defenseless man. As his goons hold Jordy, Jett punches him out in front of a crowd, and thrown out. Fed up, Bick then challenges Jett to a fistfight. Weaving drunk and almost incoherent, Jett leads the way to a wine storage room. Seeing that Jett is in no state to defend himself, Bick lowers his fists, says “You’re not even worth hitting. … You’re all through,” and leaves, but not before toppling Jett’s wine cellar shelves domino style. The grand public occasion in front of Texas’s top citizens ends when Jett, completely drunk, falls face down and sleeping on the table from his seat of honor for the occasion. Guests all leave. Later, Luz II is taken to see him part-recovered from his stupor, orating to an empty room and disclosing that his sexual interest in the young girl is only his attempt to possess her mother symbolically. Luz II continues to like boys, as a later scene makes clear.

The next day, the Benedicts, all except Jordy, drive down the empty road to a diner. Again, Juana and he little boy are insulted racially in the hamburger restaurant they stop at, and when the proprietor, Sarge (Mickey Simpson), a few minutes later insultingly starts to physically eject an old Mexican man who arrives to eat there, Bick tries to discourage him. This leads to a hard-fought fistfight, which Bick clearly loses, and Juana, Leslie and Luzz II, horrified witnesses, all dislike.

Back at the ranch, Bick and Leslie watch their grandchildren, blonde and Latino, and reflect on their life and family. Leslie tells Bick that, after watching him lose the fight in the diner, she respects his evolution in understanding the concerns of people unlike his wealthy family, and considers the Benedict family a success.

EYE-BALL MovieZone Review …

AN epic movie with very few low points – Loved the Hudson/Taylor connection – James Dean’ lqast movie role before he died in a car accident befor the movie was completed … just a good story with strong performances fro all concerned … Recommended Viewing.

EYE-BALL MovieZone Rating [scale 0-10]: 7.0/10 …

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EYE-BALL MovieZoneReview – 1956

“The King and I”:

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Plot: [Pasted from Wikipedia] –

Mrs. Anna Leonowens (Deborah Kerr), a widow from Wales, arrives in Bangkok with her young son, Louis, to teach English to the children of the royal household of King Mongkut (Yul Brynner). She is escorted to the palace by the King’s sinister right-hand man, the Kralahome, of whom she is very apprehensive – she and her son must disguise their fear (“Whistle A Happy Tune”). She is greeted, but told she will stay in the palace, although the king promised her she would have a house. She demands to see the King and does see him. The King is pleased with her, and takes her to meet his wives and his fifteen children that live in the palace (he has sixty-seven more). She is charmed by the children, and agrees to stay and teach them. Here she meets a new, young wife – a Burmese girl named Tuptim, who arrived shortly before Anna did. She is unhappy living at the castle, because she is in love with Lun Tha, the man who had brought her to Siam from Burma.

The King’s wives come to help Anna settle in to her new home, and discover a photo of her husband. Anna reminisces about her days with Tom, and gives her blessing to other young lovers, who are like they used to be, (“Hello Young Lovers”).

The King is troubled – he craves truth, but how can he learn the truth when different cultures say different things? (“Is A Puzzlement”)

As Anna teaches her lesson to the children, she explains that getting to know people is her favorite thing to “teach” (“Getting to Know You”). The lesson goes on and the children start to not believe in the things she is teaching them, such as snow and Siam’s small size. The King intervenes and scolds his children for not believing her.

Late one night, the King summons Anna to talk to her about the Bible, and how Moses says the world was created in six days. The King of Siam thinks Moses is a fool – he thinks that the world took many centuries to create. They have a small argument about the Bible in which Anna stands above the King. Due to the Siamese custom that no one’s head should be higher than the King’s, Anna is forced to sit on the floor as the King has her write a letter to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, telling him he will send male elephants to America to help with the Civil War. Anna tries to tell him that the elephants will not last long if only male elephants are sent, but the King loses interest and tells her to finish the letter herself. Before this, Anna has to have her head lower than the king’s, which she first refuses, until the king loses his temper, forcing her to kneel and lie on the floor. Anna goes outside, where she meets Lun Tha and learns that he and Tuptim have been meeting in secret. He asks Anna to fetch Tuptim. Anna refuses at first, afraid of the consequences if the lovers are caught, but, remembering her own happy days with her husband, Tom, she relents. The lovers meet (“We Kiss In A Shadow”), and Lun Tha promises that when he comes again, he and Tuptim will escape from Siam.

Later, the King is told that England thinks him a barbaric leader, so he and Anna plan an English style feast for many European officials. Anna helps to make some of the ladies’ European dresses, and also orders food and teaches the orchestra European music. She is appalled to find that she only has one week to do this in, but the King reminds her that according to Moses, the whole world was created in one week.

Anna dresses the ladies up in English clothes, but forgets to give them undergarments. She is horrified on discovering her mistake, and entreats the ladies to keep their backs to the wall when presented to the Ambassador. But at the sight of the Ambassador’s spyglass, the ladies flee in panic, exclaiming that he has the head of a goat. The Ambassador arrives, along with his aide Sir Edward Ramsey, with whom Anna was in love before she met Tom – in fact, Edward did once ask for her hand in marriage. He waylays Anna as she goes to help the King with the seating, and they reminisce and dance together, which the King walks in on and is highly jealous. The King offers his arm to her and leads her to dinner, where the guest are entertained by the King’s intellectual observations, and Tuptim’s theatrical version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which she narrates. When the play is over, however, she escapes with her lover. Anna and the King talk after the feast, and he gives her one of his rings as a present. Anna is quite taken by this gesture. It is here that the movie seems to show that they have fallen in love with each other, even though the King rejects the idea. The king recites a poem, known as the “Song of the King” where he states that women are “blossoms” and that men are “like Honeybees”, and declares that “honey bees must be free” to “Fly from Blossom to Blossom”, however, “blossoms must not ever fly from bee,to bee to bee”. Anna laughs at the poem, however. She then teaches him how to dance the polka (“Shall We Dance”). However, they are interrupted by the Kralahome, who explains that Tuptim has been found and the King is told of her lover. He decides to whip her, but Anna calls him a barbarian, and says that he has no heart. He is unable to beat Tuptim and runs off in humiliation, and Anna gives back the ring and decides to leave Siam. Tuptim is led off in tears after an official announces that the corpse of Lun Tha has been discovered in the river. She is not seen again in the film.

Anna, thinking that she can no longer be of any use, is just about to leave Siam when she is told that the King is dying. His health has steadily declined ever since Anna called him a barbarian, and he has refused any help. She goes to his bedside and he gives her back the ring, pleading with her to wear it and saying that she has always spoken the truth to him. She decides to stay in order to help his young son, the Crown Prince Chulalongkorn, rule the people. As the prince is making his first statements as King, declaring the end of slavery in Siam, and stating that the King’s subjects will no longer bow down to him but rather stand at attention, the King dies, only Anna and the Kralahome noticing. The film ends with Anna laying her head on his hand.

The film makes Tuptim’s ultimate fate more ambiguous. In the stage version, when she hears of Lun Tha’s death, she exclaims “Then I shall join him soon”, implying that the King’s soldiers will execute her (which is what happens to her in the film Anna and the King of Siam and the 1999 Anna and the King). In the 1956 film version of The King and I, Tuptim, when hearing of Lun Tha’s fate, exclaims “Dead! Oh, no!”, and begins weeping uncontrollably as the soldiers drag her off. She is not seen in the film again.

Otherwise, the film makes almost no changes from the stage version, other than the deletion of several songs and the addition of a choral finale.

EYE-BALL MovieZone Review …

A real gem of a movie – Deborah Kerr is one of her finest roles and Yul Bruner as the King – even though he can’t sing manages to pull of the role with distinction –  loved the “Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ production by the Siamese troop – was a highlight of the movie – has dated somewhat with the ethnic and ‘slave’ issues but the real winner of the movie are the lavish sets and costumes …

A delightful viewing experience and it had been some time since I had seen this older version.  Recommended viewing.

EYE-BALL MovieZone Rating [scale 0-10]: 7.0/10 …

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EYE-BALL MovieZoneReview – 1956

“The Ten Commandments”:

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The film covers the life of Moses from his discovery in a basket floating on the Nile as a baby by Bithiah, a childless young widow and daughter of the then-Pharaoh, Rameses I, to his prohibition from entering the land of Israel in the wake of God’s judgment on him at the waters of Meribah. In between, the film depicts the early adulthood of Moses as a beloved foster son of Pharaoh Seti I (brother of Bithiah) and general of his armies, his romance with Throne Princess Nefertari (or Nefretiri, as she is called in the film) and rivalry with the Pharaoh’s own son, the future Pharaoh Rameses II.

Shortly after Moses’ birth, Rameses I had ordered the slaying of all firstborn male Hebrews to prevent the prophecy of the Deliverer from coming true. Moses’ mother (called “Yoshebel” in the film) had set him adrift on the Nile to escape, with his sister Miriam watching from a hidden spot. Bithiah discovers the Ark while playing with other young women in the banks of the Nile. She orders them to leave, then shows her servant Memnet the baby. Memnet warned Bithiah that the swaddling cloth was Levite, so the baby was placed there to escape Bithiah’s father’s edict. But Bithiah declared that this baby would be her son, and named him “Moses” because she had drawn him from the Nile (the Hebrew name “Moshe” derived from the Hebrew word “Mashu”, meaning “to draw”). Despite Memnet’s protests about serving a son of Hebrew slaves, Bithiah ordered her to serve him and to swear to secrecy on pain of death. But Memnet hides the cloth under her clothes.

As a young general, Moses is victorious in a war with the Nubian people of ancient Ethiopia, loosing captured ibises to combat the serpents (as recorded by Josephus) and further impresses Seti I by being wily enough to enter into an alliance with the conquered Ethiopians rather than subjugate them. Moses then is charged with building a treasure city for Seti’s Jubilee, which Rameses had failed to complete (probably the Biblical treasure cities of Pithom and Ramases (Avaris)).

Meanwhile, Moses and Nefretiri are deeply in love; she is the “throne princess”, who must marry the next Pharaoh. Rameses wants her for himself, not because of any liking for her but for the throne, but Nefretiri hates him. She tells Rameses that she would never love him, to which Ramses responds, “does that matter?”

When Moses assumes control of the project, he rescued an old grease-woman from being left to be crushed; unknown to him it was his birthmother Yoshebel. Moses tells the Egyptian Master Builder Baka, “blood makes poor mortar” and asks “are you a master builder or a master butcher?” And he frees Joshua the stonecutter who had struck an Egyptian, punishable by death, to try to save Yoshebel. Moses was impressed with Joshua’s bravery and words, and institutes numerous reforms concerning the treatment of the slave workers such as one day in seven to rest and even going so far as to raid temple granaries for necessary food supplies. Moses questions Joshua about his God, and Joshua declares his strong faith but says that God’s name is unknown.

Rameses uses these changes as proof that Moses is planning an insurrection by currying the slaves’ favor, and points out that the slaves are calling Moses the “Deliverer” of prophecy. However, when Seti confronts Moses, Moses argues he is simply making his workers more productive by making them stronger and happier. He proves his point with such impressive progress on the project that Seti becomes convinced that Rameses falsely accused his foster brother. Seti promises that Moses will get credit for the new city. Rameses, meanwhile, has been charged by his father with the task of finding out if there really is a Hebrew fitting the description of the Deliverer, and is having no luck.

As Nefretiri is joyously preparing for marriage, Memnet informs her that Prince Moses is not a prince at all, but the son of Hebrew slaves. Nefretiri is furious at the accusation, whereupon Memnet produces the Levite cloth and tells Nefretiri to wrap their firstborn in it. Memnet also tells her that a little girl had led her to Yoshebel to breastfeed Moses, which she realized must be the real mother. Nefretiri kills Memnet. After doing so, Nefretiri inexplicably tells Moses what she has done.

Moses, unwilling to wait until he becomes Pharaoh, and thereby acquiring the legal ability to free his people, asks Bithiah about Memnet’s stories. Bithiah dissembles and reminds him of how he never doubted her when he held his hand as he took his first step. Moses leaves, promising that no matter what he finds, he will always love her. She rushes in a chariot to Yoshebel. Bithiah pleads with her not to reveal anything, since she has put the throne of Egypt within his grasp, and also declares how much she loved and cared for him, and promised to free them and make sure they were well cared for. But Moses has followed from a distance. Yoshebel cannot look him in the eyes and deny that she is his mother. And her robe matches the pattern of the much more faded Levite cloth Memnet kept. Then Yoshebel’s adult children, Miriam and Aaron introduce themselves to Moses as his sister and brother Bithiah sadly departs. Moses is determined to reveal his status as a Hebrew, effectively throwing away what he has gained at the Egyptian court.

Declaring he is not ashamed, but curious, he spends time working among the slaves to learn of their hardship, only to be rescued from the mudpits by Nefretiri. Moses then saves Joshua’s life again. Baka, the master builder, had taken Joshua’s beloved, Lilia, intending to keep her as his sex slave until he would tire of her, whereupon he says he will return her to Joshua “more worthy.” Joshua attempts to rescue Lilia, and in the process, strikes the master builder. Baka then has Joshua tied between two pillars and is in the process of whipping him to death. At this point, Moses bursts on the scene, strangles Baka to death, and sets Joshua free. Dathan, the devious and ambitious Hebrew overseer who has been charged by Rameses to help him find the Deliverer, watches from hiding. Moses confesses to Joshua that he himself is Hebrew; Joshua excitedly proclaims Moses the Deliverer, and although Moses denies it, Dathan has all the proof he needs. Revealing what he knows to Rameses, Dathan bargains for Baka’s house, a post as Governor of Goshen and the ownership of Joshua’s betrothed Lilia.

Moses is arrested and brought in chains before Seti, who begs him to say he is not the Deliverer. Moses does so, but avows that he would free the slaves if he could (and which he would have been able to do, if only he and Nefretiri had kept quiet, and Moses had been content to wait until he became Pharaoh). Bithiah confesses to her brother Seti that she took Moses from the Nile knowing by the design on his blankets that he was Hebrew. In a short, impassioned speech, Moses says that it is evil to enslave or oppress people, “to be stripped of spirit, and hope and faith, all because they are of another race, another creed. If there is a God, He did not mean this to be so!” Seti is grievously hurt, since he said that he had always loved him as a son, more than his own real son Rameses. So Seti imprisons him and orders his name stricken from all records and monuments, to be unspoken in Egypt forever thereafter. Asked what punishment Moses shall receive, Seti states that he is unable to speak it (tacitly admitting that ordinarily, the punishment would be death) and leaves the matter to Rameses’ discretion. Rameses banishes Moses to the desert, fearing to execute him lest he create a martyr. Meanwhile, Seti proclaims Rameses to be the next Pharaoh. Nefretiri as the Throne Princess is required to marry the arrogant prince, to her great distress.

Lilia begs Dathan not to shame her before her people. Dathan reminds her that he is able to influence the decision on how to punish Joshua. He can be put to death or sentenced to work in the copper mines in Sinai. To save Joshua’s life, Lilia tearfully agrees to become Dathan’s mistress “of her own free will.”

Moses makes his way across the desert, nearly dying of hunger and thirst. He comes to a well in the land of Midian. After drinking and eating dates from a nearby palm tree he passes out, to be awakened by the sound of seven sisters watering their flocks. Bullying Amalekites appear, pushing the girls aside, whereupon Moses wakes. Seemingly appearing out of nowhere he thrashes the Amalekites soundly with his staff, forcing them to wait their turn at the well. Moses finds a home in Midian with the girls’ father Jethro, a Bedouin sheik, who reveals that he is a follower of “He who has no name”, which Moses recognized as the God of Abraham. Jethro explains that they are the descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s first-born. Moses later impresses Jethro and the other shieks with his wise and just trading, so Jethro offers Moses one of his daughters as a wife. Moses chooses the eldest daughter, called Sephora in the film (the Greek form of her name), the least flamboyant but wisest, who was previously the one who had stood up to the Amalekites.

Back in Egypt, Seti dies heartbroken, with Moses’ name on his lips, and Rameses succeeds him as Pharaoh (becoming Rameses II), taking Nefretiri as his Queen. Herding sheep in the desert, Moses finds Joshua, who has escaped from hard labour in the copper mines. Moses sees the Burning Bush on the summit of Mount Sinai; climbing up to investigate, he hears the voice of God. Naming himself “I Am That I Am”, God charges Moses to return to Egypt and free His chosen people.

At Pharaoh’s court, Moses comes before Rameses to win the slaves’ freedom, turning his staff into a snake to show Rameses the power of God. Jannes and another magician do the same, but Moses’s snake eats the others. But the Pharaoh decrees that the Hebrews be given no straw to make their bricks, but to make the same tally as before on pain of death. As the Hebrews prepare to stone Moses in anger, Nefretiri’s retinue rescues him; but when she attempts to resume their relationship, he spurns her, reminding her that not only is he on a mission, having been touched by God, but that he is also married.

As Moses continues to challenge Pharaoh’s hold over his people, Egypt is beset by divine plagues. We see the water turned into blood, and hear of others. But Rameses hears of a naturalistic explanation of a mountain beyond the Nile cataract spewing red mud, although this would not have explained what the film showed: the red colour starting from where Aaron’s stick touched the river and moving away, or the water in pitchers turning red as it was poured. but given this explanation, Rameses declared it not surprising that fish would die and frogs leave the water, and flies would bloat upon their carcasses and spread disease. So Moses predicts hot hail and three days of darkness; the hot hail comes shortly after and bursts into flame on the ground. Moses warns that the next plague would come from his own lips.

Enraged at the plagues and Moses’ continuous demands, and at his generals and advisers telling him to give in. Rameses orders all first-born Hebrews to die, but just as Moses had foretold, this intention backfires. Although Nefretiri warns Sephora to escape with Gershom on a passing caravan to Midian, Moses tells her sadly that it is her own son who will die, and he cannot save him. In an eerily quiet scene, the Angel of Death creeps into Egyptian streets in a glowing green cloud, killing all the firstborn of Egypt, including the adult son of Pharaoh’s top general, and Pharaoh’s own child. Meanwhile, Bithiah is released to Moses.

Broken and despondent, Pharaoh orders Moses to take “your people, your cattle, your God and your pestilence” and go. Dathan is also ordered out when the Egyptian guards sees the sacrifice lamb’s blood on the sides of his door frame, his position as an overseer counting for nothing with the Egyptians, the Hebrews resentful of him and refusing him the privileges he expects. The Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt begins.

Goaded into rage by Nefretiri in her grief and anger at Moses, the Pharaoh arms himself and gathers his armies to chase the former slaves to the shore of the Red Sea. Held back by a pillar of fire, the Egyptian forces can only watch as Moses parts the waters to provide his people an escape route. As the Hebrews race over the seabed, the pillar of fire dies down and the army rides in hot pursuit. The Hebrews make it to the far shore just in time to witness God’s closing of the waters on the Egyptian army, drowning every man and horse. Rameses looks on in despair. All he can do is return to Nefretiri, confessing to her, “His god is God.”

The former slaves camp at the foot of Sinai and wait as Moses again ascends the mountain. When Moses delays coming down from Sinai, the Hebrews lose faith and, urged on by the evil Dathan, build a golden calf as an idol to bear before them back to Egypt, hoping to win Rameses’ forgiveness. Aaron is forced to help fashion the gold plating. Dathan also orders Lilia to be sacrificed. The people proceed to indulge their most wanton desires in an orgy of sinfulness. Sephora, now re-united with Moses, tells the people that he has gone to receive God’s Law, and Bithiah asks, “Would the God who’s shown you such wonders let Moses die before his work is done?” But their defences are mostly disregarded after Dathan’s demagoguery.

Meanwhile, high atop the mountain, Moses witnesses God’s creation of the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments. When he finally climbs down, Moses beholds his people’s iniquity and hurls the tablets at the idol in a rage. The idol explodes, and Dathan and his followers are killed, a burning crevasse swallows all who do not join Moses at his side. After God forces them to endure forty years’ exile in the desert wandering lost to prove their loyalty, the Hebrews finally are on the eve of arriving in the land of Israel. An elderly Moses then appoints Joshua to succeed him as leader (with Lilia by Joshua’s side), says a final good bye to his devoted wife Sephora, and goes forth out of Israel to his destiny.

EYE-BALL MovieZone Review …

This was surely the year Yul Bruner arrived – his famous strut with arms folded were used in both ‘The Ten Commandments’ and ‘The King and I’ to great success.  In any other year all these three epics – the above and ‘Giant’ – could have won Best Picture – each ran over 3 hours and were such contrasts – each plot and script has mass appeal to moviegoers.

This is a movie you should see if it has been a while – Heston is magnificent and in his day – there was no fine an actor in a lead role.

EYE-BALL MovieZone Rating [scale 0-10]: 7.5/10 …

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