The Ten Commandments - Blu-Ray Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 4 Old 03-22-11, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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The Ten Commandments - Blu-Ray Review

Title: The Ten Commandments
Starring: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo
Directed by: Cecil B. DeMille
Written by: Dorothy Clarke Wilson, J.H. Ingraham, A.E. Southon, Æneas MacKenzie, Jesse Lasky Jr., Jack Gariss, Fredric M. Frank
Studio: Paramount
Rated: G
Runtime: 220 Minutes
Release Date: 3/29/2011


When Egypt’s Pharoah, Rameses I, condemns all first-born Hebrew males to death, Yoshebel sets her infant son adrift in a basket down the Nile River. The basket is intercepted by Bithiah, sister to the Pharoah and a childless widow, who now decides to adopt the child in the basket and raise him as an Egyptian. Years later, Moses is confronted with his past and must accept his destiny as the deliverer of the Hebrews from slavery. The film follows Moses from the time he is adopted, through the 40 years in the desert and as always, there were some embellishments and straying from the book of Exodus however; DeMille does begin the movie with some explanations as to why they did certain things the way they did.

The Ten Commandments is a dramatization of the biblical story of Exodus and centers around Moses, an adopted Egyptian prince whose actual destiny is the deliverer of the Hebrew slaves. The film, made in 1956, was directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starred Charlton Heston in the title role of Moses. This depiction of Exodus was a truly epic film in its time and still is when compared to some of today’s big blockbuster type of films and with a runtime of 3 hours and 40 minutes; it is a long one folks.

Up until 2004, The Ten Commandments was the top grossing live-action movie of a religious nature and it held that record for nearly 50 years until 2004’s ‘Passion of the Christ’ finally ended its reign. Luckily, this high definition transfer from Paramount makes it seem brand new again because there is absolutely no denying that this transfer is spectacular!


Classics on Blu-ray have been very much hit and miss thus far. Some have been done with the utmost care and given a lot of love such as Warner’s Gone with the Wind while others, such as Spartacus, have been underwhelming at best. I am happy to report that Paramount’s ‘The Ten Commandments’ falls into the former and not the latter. While this isn’t the best classic transfer to find its way to Blu-Ray, it is by far the best this film has ever looked and would make a welcomed edition to any film buffs collection.

Colors are vivid and full of life in Cecil B. DeMille’s classic vision of the story of Moses. Exquisite details are revealed as a direct result of the beautiful 6K restoration that Paramount had done on the film and the resolution, while not crystal clear 100% of the time, is a far cry from anything that we have seen for this film before. Black levels are balanced, but do give way to some very minor crushing and shadows are properly dilineated a majority of the time. There is considerable edge enhancement in some scenes that were shot against backdrops however; after looking very close at it, it is obvious that these edge enhancements were not a result of any over processing of the print, but more of a revealing of deficiencies in the technology that was used 55 years ago. I was truly impressed with this transfer and was left in awe of what the filmmakers were able to achieve 55 years ago as well as what the team at Motion Picture Imaging were able to accomplish with their restoration. Honestly, this is just an incredible transfer!

For a movie that is as old as 'The Ten Commandments, I was impressed with the audio almost as much as I was with the video. Don’t get me wrong, it couldn’t come close to movies that have come out in the past 20 years or so however; when compared to other films from that era, as well as the original DVD version, ‘The Ten Commandments’ newly re-mastered 5.1 DTS-HD-MA soundtrack sounds simply amazing. Most of the sound is obviously still delivered via the front sound stage and there isn’t anything that is going to knock your sox off in the way of bass, but the entire audio codec is crystal clear and void of the ‘closed in a box’ sound that films this old normally project. Voices are clear and very well textured and ambient sound actually makes its way across the front sound field as well as to the surrounds from time to time.

Of course there is no denying the grandness of the score of ‘The Ten Commandments’ and the new re-mastered version of this timeless classic is truly epic. Swells of orchestral rhythms and the pounding percussion throughout this score bring these larger-than-life compositions and heartfelt melodies alive. Truly a wonderful re-master to compliment the superb video presentation.

  • Commentary
  • Newsreel
  • Trailers

Whether you are a fan of ‘The Ten Commandments’ or a fan of classic cinema, this Blu-Ray version of Cecil B. Demille’s classic telling of the story of Moses should not be missed. Of course I forgot how long this one was and found myself getting antsy a time or two, but that should not take away from the incredible job that Paramount did on this restoration. They should be applauded and commended on a truly outstanding and flat-out stunning job well done! If I had to make a complaint about the transfer, it would be that the 6K restoration reveals too many weaknesses in the technology from 1956, but that should speak volumes to how good of a job that Motion Picture Imaging did on the film. I would definitely recommend this one to any fan of the movie or classic film buffs as a buy. Don’t bother renting, you’re going to have to have it anyway so just save yourself some time and the extra few dollars and buy it. Until next time campers, have a good day and in case I don't see ya later, a good afternoon, a good evening, and a good night!

Dale Rasco

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." -Thomas A. Edison

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Last edited by Dale Rasco; 03-22-11 at 07:27 PM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 03-22-11, 09:09 PM
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Re: The Ten Commandments - Blu-Ray Review

Thanks for the review Dale, i wasn't even aware they did this one on Blu-ray. When i was a kid i remember my mother and my brother and sister watching it everytime it was on. From the review you gave it sounds like i better hit up Amazon and grab one as it's got my curiousity and will bring back some good memories. Thanks again.
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post #3 of 4 Old 03-23-11, 07:33 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Ten Commandments - Blu-Ray Review

I enjoyed watching it again, I was a bit thin on the synopsis, but that was intentional as I figured that most already know the story and those that are interested are mainly interested in the A/V section of the review anyway.

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post #4 of 4 Old 03-30-11, 10:09 AM
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Re: The Ten Commandments - Blu-Ray Review

Nice review, it always tickles me how these old films can be so well reproduced, and how long our home display technology really stayed locked in the dark ages.
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