John Derek

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The Ten Commandments Review


Excellent
It takes something special for a motion picture to enter the Biblical canon. But ask any Christian what happened to Moses before age 30, and they'll likely relate to you the plotline of Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments.

Surprise! As DeMille himself tells us in a (somewhat silly) opening narration -- where he comes out from behind a curtain and addresses the audience -- the Bible skips Moses' formative years altogether. One minute, as a baby he's fished out of the Nile by Pharoah's daughter, the next he's banished to the desert for killing an Egyptian who is beating a Hebrew man. There's certainly no talk of Moses' rise to power under Pharoah -- which comprises the first two hours of this nearly four-hour film. In DeMille's rendition (based, he says, on the works of ancient scholars), Moses (Charleton Heston, in the role that would define his career) toils under Pharoah (Cedric Hardwicke) as his adopted grandson, working hard building a treasure city for his glory. His rival is Pharoah's son Rameses (Yul Brynner), who isn't only also up for the future job of Pharoah, he's also competing for the hand of Nefretiri (All About Eve's title character Anne Baxter).

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All The King's Men Review


Excellent
Broderick Crawford is no Orson Welles, but this meditation on the underbelly of American politics is at least in the same league as Citizen Kane. Also a Best Picture winner, the film traces the rise of populist local hero Willie Stark, as he moves through the American political machine like a juggernaut, chewing up anything in his way. His compatriots (a newsman turned publicist, various lovelies and heavies) stick by him as Stark becomes corrupted en route to the top. The direction by Robert Rossen (The Hustler) isn't inspired, but he does get the job done with reasonable aplomb.
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