The Ten Commandments – simultaneous screening
As Part of The Ten Commandments exhibition by Jacob Robinson & Kelvin Brown, Cecile B. DeMille’s 2 classic versions of The Ten Commandments film were shown in a simultaneous screening.
The story of The Ten Commandments, as a biblical tale has been told repeatedly through history, and twice by the the same director. Once as a black and white silent film in 1923, the other in a 1956 colour version with sound starring Charlton Heston. The 1923 version provided the starting point (and title) for the current exhibition in NewBridge Project Space by Robinson & Brown, made at the start of Cecile B. DeMill’s career, was also served as a key moment in the the birth of hollywood. It propelled DeMille to stardom, as well as providing a cornerstone in the creation of the Hollywood studio system. The colour version, made 33 years later served as his last film. This saw him retell the same story again, this time with performances from Yul Brynner and Chalton Heston, and in doing so created one of the most financially successful films all time.
By showing the two films in parallel, the direct relationship revealed the changing cinematic language through film history. The impact of changing technology and the impact it has on the Demille’s approach to telling the same story will be revolted, in terms of shooting, editing and other elements of visual language. This is most apparent in terms of the impact of both colour pictures and sound on the film making process, not simply in terms of aesthetic approach, but also with advent of the hollywood star actors so present in the later version of the fable.