April 15th, 2008

Bast

Pharaoh and Balanced

bethje and I finished watching the rest of The Ten Commandments, and I have to say that it was a well-made movie for its time. A lot of the effects looked pretty fake by today's standards, but I'm sure that, in the fifties, the parting of the Red Sea was incredibly impressive. I assume that limits of the time were largely responsible for the fact that Moses' rod-snake (no double entendre intended) eating the others, or plagues like the frogs and locusts, instead having people talk about them. There was a LOT of exposition in the movie, some of which undoubtedly would have ended up on the cutting room floor or the deleted scenes section of the DVD release if the film had been made today. And yet, for all of their attempts to explain pretty much everything, there were some confusing moments when Moses aged several years in between scenes, with no indication that this had happened. How hard would it have been for them to put up a caption, or have the narrator mention that some time had passed?

While the idea that Rameses II (the guy played by Yul Brynner) was the pharaoh who refused to let Moses' people go has been a popular one for some time, I believe it's fallen into disfavor as of late. Among other things, I think the walls of Jericho were destroyed some time before Rameses' reign. I found it interesting that the film presented Rameses as a contemporary of Priam of Troy. Did Paramount make, or plan to make, a Trojan War movie that they were trying to promote, or did a scriptwriter just think that that would be a neat touch? The beginning of the movie gives the impression that a lot of the stuff that wasn't in the Bible was from Josephus and the Midrash, which makes sense.

Speaking of Charlton Heston (and I know I haven't done so directly in this post, but still), Bill O'Reilly was complaining about people on left-wing blogs bad-mouthing Heston pretty much right after he died. I don't know exactly what form this bad-mouthing took, but I'm not keen on the prevalent idea in our culture that, when someone dies, everyone should be respectful even if they didn't like the person. Also, O'Reilly seemed to have no problem with Heston being vocal about his politics, even though he constantly complains about modern celebrities doing the same. But then, O'Reilly having a double standard isn't exactly noteworthy, is it?