The Ten Commandments

The popularity of Biblical films such as King of Kings, Ben Hur, and The Greatest Story Ever Told seemed to die away.
However, there is a growing popularity growing for Biblical epics in today's day and age. Films and TV shows like, The Passion and The Bible Series have been released. Is it possible that after all these years, the Biblical genre fanbase is growing? With films like, Noah's Ark in production, I'm excited to see the scores that will come out because of it.
Throughout the following months, I will be posting score reviews on several Biblical epics that defined the genre.  The first score I chose to review is probably one of the most obvious and popular film in that genre, The Ten Commandments. The film had a budget of roughly, $13, 282, 712, which was huge for a Hollywood production back then. It was a movie mass in scale and production! Unfortunately the movie itself suffered from biblical inaccuracies because the writers wanted to make the story more "interesting". The film was a huge success and made approximately $80,000,000 in the box office. (Remember how I said biblical epics were popular back then?)

For a composer, the director Cecil B. DeMille chose Elmer Bernstein. Bernstein did a spectacular job! The main theme is big and grand, which fit perfectly, given the whole movie is of biblical and epic proportions. Even though the story takes place in Egypt, there isn't much Egyptian influence in the music. There is a little here and there, but few and far between (Such as the cue In the Bulrushes and Egyptian Dance). That doesn't hinder the album at all, but allows the cues in the album to flow smoothly. The music has a lot of thematic material. The cues range from grandeur-esq to pastoral and classical in style.

Go, Proclaim Liberty! by Elmer Bernstein on Grooveshark
The cue, The Plagues fits the scene in the movie perfectly since it's the part where Moses pronounces different plagues on Pharaoh and his court (Plagues of Frogs, Boils, Lice, etc.). The cue is suitably unnerving and haunting. It's done in a quirky almost, synth-esq way. One of the best cues on the album, The Exodus, starts of with a shofar announcing the Israelite's mass exodus. Hearing it, you can't help but get chills and remember Charlton Heston's (AKA, Moses') voice pronouncing: "Go, proclaim liberty throughout all the land and to all inhabitants thereof!"

Rating: ****


  1. Alicia Willis said...
    Love this film, probably mostly because of the music! I'd like to research the works of Josephus and the Pillar of Fire, where they got most of their historical references for the script. My favorite character is Joshua; my favorite cue is the main theme. :)
    Joshua Hoppman said...
    The Pillar of Fire is a book for sale by Lamplighter. I came so close to buying it once at the Convention years ago. Joshua is definitely my favorite character too, but.....I'm biased. :)

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