Snakes and Pharaohs and perms, oh my

I just checked the TV listings and The Ten Commandments is being shown tonight.  I plan to watch it while I fold four baskets of laundry and pack up diaper bags for tomorrow’s daylong Easter-Mass-and-Extended-Family-Brunch-Extravaganza, which is sure to be a production at least as stunning as Cecil B. DeMille’s epic.  (On a related note, I know the costumers had to clothe hundreds of extras for that film, but I still think I had it far worse trying to track down an Easter outfit for my toddler.  More on that here).

Anyhow, I do love this movie.  I remember seeing it for the first time when I was in third grade or so.  The scene with the Angel of Death — that creepy green cloud — really freaked me out, in a most delicious way.  I think my childhood fascination with Egypt has its roots in this movie, too — Pharoah’s palace (before the plagues, that is) is a pretty impressive place.  The film is undeniably cheesy in places, but that is a major part of its appeal.

A few favorite moments:

1) The burning bush scene.  It always makes me wonder what it really felt like for Moses to encounter God.

2) Right AFTER the burning bush scene, when Moses’ wife sees him coming down from the  mountain and she says, in an awe-filled voice, “He has seen God!”  The camera then cuts to Moses walking purposefully towards her, and we see that he is now sporting what seems to be a permanent wave and gray highlights.  Is that what happens when one sees God?  A new hairdo?  Who knew?

3) The scene where one staff-turned-into-a-snake swallows the OTHER staff-turned-into-a-snake.  I love how they don’t even attempt to show this.  Instead, we see the two snakes writhing on the floor, then the camera cuts to someone — Pharoah’s kid, I think it is — who exclaims, “Look!  Moses’ snake is eating the other snake!”  Then they cut back to the floor, where we see one fat and happy snake.  Awesome.

4) The parting of the Red Sea.  If they wimped out on the snake scene, they sure didn’t on this one.  Fabulous stuff.

UPDATE: I’m watching the film right now, and there are actually two snakes that are swallowed up offscreen.  Not one but TWO.  How could I have forgotten that??

Comments are closed.