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The Ten Commandments

1956 / 220m - USA
Adventure -
The Ten Commandments poster

A classic epic. Cecil B. DeMille set out to create the definite film adaptation of the story of Moses. With a huge cast (and even more extras), state of the art special effects and a runtime of nearly 4 hours, he certainly made a real effort. And yet, the result is utterly dull and boring. What a slog this was.

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If you're Christian, the plot doesn't hold many surprises. My religious days are well in the past, but I'm still pretty familiar with the ins and outs of Moses trials and journey. DeMille walks through it rather slowly and remains close (enough) to the source, but it's hardly riveting material.

The performances are pretty weak and terribly overstated, there's way too much dialogue for a 4-hour film that relies on spectacle, and the effects didn't really hold up. Fans of classic epics might get something out of it, I'm just glad I somehow got through it and never have to look at this again.

The Cheat

1915 / 59m - USA
Drama, Romance -
The Cheat poster

Early DeMille that fails to impress. I've said it before, but silent cinema doesn't work that well for straight drama/crime narratives. Unsubtle performances make it hard to care for the characters, while awkward alternations between scenes and intertitles slow the whole thing down unnecessarily.

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Edith is a cheeky woman. She steals money from a charity in invest it in the stock market. What looked like a good deal turns out to be a disaster and Edith loses all her money. In order to pay back the charity she relies on the help of an Asian businessman. He is willing to aid Edith, but wants more than just money from her.

It's a pretty simple story that goes from A to B without too many surprises. Performances are well over-the-top, the cinematography is rather bland and characters are flimsy. In its time it might've been an interesting film, considering all the limitations directors had back then, but films like these just didn't age well at all. It's only an hour long, but it felt much longer.