Last Wednesday I did a phoner with Paramount’s Ron Smith, the restoration guy who quarterbacked the work on the Ten Commandments Bluray. (And on the theatrical version.) A ten-minute portion of our chat is on the video. The film is best appreciated as “a Cecil B. DeMille proscenium arch experience,” as I put it. It’s immaculate old-world fakery, shot almost entirely on a sound stage. The 44 days spent shooting location footage in Egypt mean nothing to me. The Exodus scene could have been shot in the Mojave desert.
“Digital processes have made it cheaper and easier to assemble such multitudes in films like Gladiator and 300, but pixels are pixels, no matter how artfully deployed. Only DeMille and his army of assistants could have captured the spectacle of The Ten Commandments, a human spectacle, with weight, warmth and life.” — from Dave Kehr‘s 4.1 N.Y. Times appreciation.