For sheer pageantry and spectacle, few motion pictures can claim to equal the splendor of Cecil B.
De Mille’s 1956 remake of his epic The Ten Commandments.
Filmed in Egypt and the Sinai with one of the biggest sets ever constructed for a motion picture, this version tells the story of the life of Moses (Charlton Heston), once favored in the Pharaoh’s (Yul Brynner) household, who turned his back on a privileged life to lead his people to freedom. De Mille himself, this unforgettable movie experience is enhanced by a Dolby surround stereo soundtrack. De Mille didn’t much alter the way he made movies after sound came in, and this 1956 biblical drama is proof of that.
"As with millions of young newlyweds who haven’t yet had sex," John said, "there was some nervousness and confusion at first.
But after a couple of minutes, we figured out that it would be easier if Linda separated her legs to facilitate entry." Penile insertion was somewhat complicated by John’s refusal to assist the navigation process by touching himself—an act the Bible strictly prohibits—but a few more minutes of unsteady shifting and jabbing enabled his penis to "almost certainly" enter Linda.
Having at last achieved probable sexual congress, the couple was brought to new heights of nervous, clumsy passion.
"As I prepared, sweat-drenched and terror-struck, to insert my semi-erect penis into my petrified new bride, I couldn’t help but think what a precious, magical moment it was.
Then, as Linda started to cry out from the anticipation of pain from the first-ever breaching of her tightly constricted vaginal walls, a tear of joy streamed down my cheek." According to the devout Lutherans, after retiring to their bridal suite at the Charleston Marriott East, Linda decided to initiate the evening of romance and dread by excusing herself to the bathroom, where she spent "approximately an hour" changing into the floor-length cotton nightgown she had purchased especially for the occasion.
Recalled John: "When I saw Linda emerge from the bathroom, a vision in billowing, opaque cloth, her head and hands peeking tantalizingly from the tight collar and cuffs, the moment we first fell in love came rushing back to me in a wave of adoration and fear." After an estimated 45 minutes spent in prayer and devotionals to ensure the smoothest possible act of coitus, John made sure the windows and doors were all securely locked, and that all windowshades and blinds were closed.
He then reached to his nightstand to turn out the lights "to contribute to the feeling of romance" and "because Linda refused to let me touch her nightgown until the room was completely dark." Trembling in giddy anticipation and fright, the longtime couple climbed under the sheets and blankets, where John took his place on top of his blushing, sobbing bride.
De Mille, as always, plays both sides of the fence as far as sin goes, surrounding Heston’s Moses with worshipful music and heavenly special effects while also making the sexy action around the cult of the Golden Calf look like fun.
You have to see The Ten Commandments to understand its peculiar resonance as an old-new movie, complete with several still-impressive effects such as the parting of the Red Sea.