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The Ten Commandments LiveBlog (Take Two)

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

Just like last year, we once again watched The Ten Commandments on ABC -- but this time, we liveblogged on tumblr.

If you missed it, here you go!

New Ten Commandments liveblogging time!

The thing to remember: this is 1956.

Lark: Oh, Woody Strode is the king of Ethiopia! Cool. And at least they cite their sources. They’re not good sources, but at least they cite them.

Also Lark: I do not like this font. The Y in Yvonne De Carlo is fancy but the last names aren’t.

Lark: I do like the fact that this one priest is just wearing leopard print. Clearly leopard print never goes out of fashion.

We do like the thousand yard stare on the mother whose child was just murdered. Give that woman some lines.

Lark: now here’s a question: if Moses doesn’t have a name, was he circumcised?

Rose: No, probably not.

Lark: Yeah, probably not until he came back.

Just because you have stairs built down to the Nile doesn’t mean that there aren’t still crocodiles there!

Lark: wouldn’t everybody just know that she… didn’t have a baby?

Rose: I know right?

Lark: apparently Moses is the first virgin birth. Or, well, pseudo virgin birth.

Rose: How do they know what that specific cloth means? Like that it’s Jewish, fine, but Levite specifically? Dude. Also Miriam is really not well-hidden.

Lark: That is some really shitty hiding of the cloth. And why don’t you just let that basket float away? Clearly Bithia failed her observation check.

That is a lovely painting of the sky. Do you love the color of the sky?

Rose: Yul Brynner is a total thirst trap.

Lark: Oh yes, that’s why I got quiet. I would lick Yul Brynner’s abs and they’re not that well-defined. It shows a man doesn’t have to have an eight pack to be attractive.

Lark: Is a pope hat or a penis hat that that the Pharaoh is wearing?

…Is that ragweed that she’s throwing?

Is that Bithia or Anne Baxter? Because she is definitely not wearing any underwear.

Lark: As I said, leopard print never goes out of style.

Rose: Also what is this, a wedding? Do we need sprinkles of flowers?

Lark: These are bad belly dance outfits. And that is definitely a penis hat.

Charlton Heston: not a thirst trap, even before he went off the wall with politics.

Lark: And notice Charlton Heston standing one step down from Yul Brynner to make them look the same height. It’s fun to play “How do they make Charlton Heston not look so much taller than Yul Brynner?”

“You conquered us, so let us give you our most valuable possession!”

Lark: This green stone, which is Kryptonite.

Lark: Sadly, to be fair to 1956, this is amazing representation. It’s showing Black people as a good culture.

Rose: It’s still racist as fuck but…you’re right, it’s amazing representation for the time.

Lark: …Trees of myrrh? No. Myrrh is the sap of specific trees.

Moses, Moses, Moses, it’s like Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

Let’s play: can we see Anne Baxter’s nipples? Because she is definitely not wearing a bra.

Lark: your fragrance is like the whore of Babylon? That’s one interesting fragrance!

(The line is the wine of Babylon but…)

Lark: This is ancient Egypt, there is no such thing as girdles! Look at Bithia, she is clearly wearing a fucking girdle.

Rose: Also why doesn’t he have a shaved head?

Lark: Because Charlton Heston said no? Seriously how much is due to Charlton Heston’s ego? We should be playing spot the ego.

Lark: I do have to give this film 1950s credit, it has great special effects.

Lark: This is not what they used the slaves for. Mausoleums and pyramids require skilled labor. They used the slaves for the fields!

Dathan, who is the Jewish collaborator.

Rose: I love that Yul Brynner is going “I’m wearing a skirt and I look fucking awesome.”

Lark: I enjoy watching Yul Brynner lounge casually so the camera is focused on his genitals and then waving his spear over his genitals.

That is definitely not real stone. Foam? Plywood? Something else?

Lark: I am not sure this is how they did the movement.

Rose: We know more now though?

Lark: Where is my OSHA compliance? Why would you wear loose stuff around this! She’s not going to smooth the way, she’s going to make it difficult for you to move it! Bones are not lubricant.

Lark: Let’s show how horrible Egypt is by having them kick the old woman. Though that was really good stunt work sliding down.

Rose: Her hair and veil are asking to be pulled into machinery.

Lark: She’s wearing two fucking veils of really bright colors that don’t go with the rest of her outfit. I understand it’s to make her stand out but…

Lark: Why doesn’t she have a knife to cut herself free?

Rose: yeah, they need them for everyday stuff.

Lark: Oh look it’s Vincent Price. Also I really do not like the brownface. Though it is amusing to play “spot the bad brownface applications” – where they’ve slathered it on and it streaks or runs. Armpits are really good for that.

Rose: The whole “God will choose when to set us free” is very fatalistic and not very Jewish. It’s very Christian.

Lark: That is terrible grain rationing. Very bad! This is how you get ants. Do you want rats? This is how you get rats. You’re asking for the plague here!

Rose: Oh it’s the seeing her nipples scene. She’s wearing the blue dress.

Lark: Yup, it’s the nipples dress. They put so much work into the costumes and then they put Cedric Hardwick in gold lame.

Lark: Now I don’t know if that breaking of the staff was intentional or just a really nice throw it in moment.

Lark: Every woman must be compared to a dog or a horse.

Rose: Is it just me or was this filmed in two pieces? The back is not in the same place as the first.

Lark: Yeah, the backdrop is a screen and it’s being projected.

Lark: Cowprint also hasn’t gone out of fashion. Look at the background, there’s people wearing cowprint.

Lark: This is a little too early for obelisks, but cool?

Rose: You can tell this was made a long time ago. See how those statues are still white, they would’ve been colored.

Lark: But they are still being moved, you don’t paint them until they’re in place.

Lark: Yul Brynner is already doing the etcetera, etcetera, etcetera pose.

Lark: Even Nefertiri knows that yellow sucks.

Lark: were persimmons around then? It’s an Asian fruit.

Rose: *looks it up* Yup, China 2000 years ago.

Lark: Let’s try and keep the anachronisms to a minimum.

Rose: I will give Anne Baxter credit for the acting though.

Lark: Anne Baxter was a fabulous actress. There’s an interesting prophecy happening in this movie – Bithia says “If you breathe a word of it, it will be your last” and then she breathes a word and it is her last.

Lark: I do like that they actually decorated the walls of her room because they would have been.

We will now pause our watching to break out our Bibles to find out what actually happened here.

Lark: How would she know the mother? How would Memnet know who Yoshebel was? There’s a plot hole large enough to drive a truck through!

Lark: I do like that she’s actually doing a viable pastime but that’s not something that would’ve been done by someone of her rank.

We both really hate how fast he throws over his adopted mother.

Okay, looking at the Bible, this all happens really fast. (Rose reads the Bible section)

Lark: Okay so this explains how he’d know his mother’s name. Why didn’t they plug the plothole with the actual plot?

Lark: You know, I feel sorry for both of the women.

Rose: Can they just get married and raise him together?

Lark: I’m cool with a lesbian relationship for those two. Have no conversions, keep their religions, and raise him in both.

(And then we had a whole discussion about adoptive parents vs. birth parents and we both completely agree that his adoptive mother is in fact his mother and he completely throws her over for his birth family. We both understand him having complex feelings (especially since he literally just found out he’s adopted) but she’s still his mother.)

Interesting note!

The Bible (in the original Hebrew) does NOT use the word basket for what Moses was sent down the river in. The word it uses is “ark” – the same word as is used for Noah’s ark.

Lark: You do have the right to do family of choice, especially if your parents are abusive, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

Rose: Yeah I get why he wants to know where he came from, but she’s still his mother.

Lark: Is wheat even what they were using then?

Rose: Does wheat even grow in Egypt?

Lark: We’re back to the artistically smeared mud.

Rose: And she’s once again wearing clothing that’s going to get caught in stuff.

Lark: It feels like they’re trying to make this analogous to the Black slave experience, but I don’t know that the Jewish slave experience was the same.

Rose: No, I don’t think they were. The whole “house slave” thing is very…

Lark: Yeah, they wouldn’t have done this.

Lark: The closed captioning needs some work. And considering how old this is, they could’ve captioned properly.

Rose: You also notice how they have Black people carrying the guy? Like not actually having the white people playing Jews acting as slaves in that way?

Lark: Especially since Black Africans wouldn’t have been slaves in that time period.

Rose: Yeah, wasn’t Punt, which was Egypt’s biggest trading partner, probably African?

Lark: Yes, and no one knows where Punt was.

Rose: …Because rich ladies totally come to tour the slave fields.

Lark: the very dirty one that is not dirty at all. No, Charlton Heston is more oiled than dirty.

Back to the Bible: he’s hidden for three months after his birth, so he should in fact be circumcised and named.

Lark: It’s a bad projection. It’s like the film got ruined and they didn’t have a backup.

Rose: I mean, she does have a point, that if he’s in charge, he could’ve changed things.

Lark: Yeah, as he said before, only Pharaoh can free a slave – if he’d become Pharaoh he could’ve freed all the slaves. He chose a more difficult path.

Lark: Gold fringe: totally de rigeur in Ancient Egypt.

Rose: you know what it looks like to me? Like they took a European depiction of Pocahontas and turned the outfit into gold.

Lark: Beards of shellfish? Oh my god I do not want to smell that gown!

Rose: I like the Tarzan leap.

Rose: I love how he’s not stopping them from tying him up at all.

Lark: No, he’s helping them. And they tied him really shittily. He must be really into BDSM. If you can’t get out of those knots, you’re not trying.

Lark: what the…is he wearing legwarmers? They’re trying to be cavemen, wearing uncut leathers! Look at Charlton Heston, he went back to Planet of the Apes.

Rose: I think Joshua is wearing boots.

Lark: the blacks don’t match, this bothers me that the blacks don’t match!

Lark: I could scrounge this outfit out of my closet right now. I could totally make Yul Brynner’s outfit for Halloween.

Lark: How much of this is us being thirsty over Yul Brynner?

Rose: Only the parts that aren’t us being thirsty over Anne Baxter.

Lark: I know that’s supposed to be a scarab but it looks like Dathan is wearing a Buddha necklace.

By the way, for anyone who wants to avoid this, we’re tagging everything with “#10k liveblog” so you can!

Oh god it’s the terrible lime green dancing outfits. With pompoms at the end of their hair.

Lark: Some people watch The Ten Commandments because it’s their Easter tradition. We watch it because it’s unintentionally hilarious.

Lark: Seriously, I think Charlton Heston made a career out of standing around in chains looking buff.

Rose: We’re two hours into this movie and we haven’t even gone through a whole chapter of the Bible.

Lark: But how much did Cecil B. DeMille come up with himself versus came from other sources?

Rose: Yeah, probably some came from extra-Biblical sources.

Oh look it’s time for a hot not-quite-threesome scene!

Lark: at some point we should do a recast of this.

Rose: YES!

Lark: That flower does nothing for her.

Lark: …Is he wearing an H on his chest?

Rose: Yes. I mean I think it’s supposed to be buildings but…

Lark: but it’s a fucking H. Oh I know what the H stands for! H stands for Harvey Weinstein!

Rose: *bursts out laughing*

Lark: The desert looks remarkably like Mars. Please go find Mark Watney.

Rose: And Charlton Heston is growing a beard.

Lark: Charlton Heston is growing a beard? I didn’t know he was gay!

(Charlton Heston was in fact very very homophobic.)

Lark: At the right angle, his rod does look like a penis.

Lark: Does he not know? I see green! Go toward green!

Rose: These girls are thirsty.

Lark: Oh god yes. They’re going to settle for Charlton Heston. I’m so sorry.

Rose: Those runes on the well look remarkably Norse to me.

Rose: This is seriously Jesus imagery.

Lark: It should be, Cecil B. DeMille wanted to tell the story of Jesus but couldn’t get away with it.

Lark: He’s the sheikh of Midian? I’m pretty sure that’s Arabian, not Egyptian.

Rose: The Bible says priest.

Rose: Why are they just washing his feet? What about the rest of him?

Rose: You’re a man, so you’re going to sit with Daddy and we’re going to serve you!

Lark: Congratulations, we have every neckbeard’s dream. And Charlton Heston does have a neckbeard.

Rose: Also was Bedouin even a group back then?

Lark: The people have been around for a while but they didn’t use the name back then.

Rose: Her brownface looks slightly orange.

Lark: It’s because they used too much bronzer on her.

Lark: Charlton Heston is the most arrogant Moses ever to Moses.

Lark: Well there’s some slut-shaming going on here.

Rose: Uh huh.

Rose: This is like… headbanging before there was headbanging.

Lark: It’s belly dance before there was belly dance!

Lark: Notice how Moses does a totally man thing and picks the one who doesn’t want him?

Lark: Is Mount Sinai a volcano?

Rose: No. No it is not.

Lark: …Her skin was as white as curd?

Rose: I know, right?

Lark: …I heard wine of desire, the closed captioning typed whore of desire.

Lark: The cinematographer does not know how to light it.

Rose: On the other hand, you can actually see their faces, which is better than some modern movies.

And we are now joined by the awesome @randomnoteforfuturereference!

Lark: I do appreciate that closed captioning does not actually caption the commercials.

Rose: My neck looks at that position and aches.

Lark: Leopard print: still in style.

FFR: Oh I forgot, Sinai God is watching you have sex.

Rose: Oh look, we finally got out of Chapter 2 of Exodus!

Lark: Puppy! I want to pet the puppy!

Rose: Seriously Charlton Heston has already aged how much while Joshua hasn’t at all?

Rose: Oh look Sephora’s not a virgin anymore so she’s not wearing white.

Lark: You can wear white after Labor Day!

That is definitely a German Sheppard, which wouldn’t have existed in Egypt in that time period.

(And then we got into a discussion of dog breeds and what they would’ve had/wanted.)

Lark: And it’s now time for Charlton Heston to talk to himself.

Lark: Charlton Heston trying to feign humility is really painful to watch.

FFR: It feels awkward.

Lark: The holy mountain is forbidden to men clearly means it’s for women.

Rose: Also look how much grayer his hair got.

FFR: God gave him product.

Lark: And Rogaine.

Lark: Is it wrong that I sort of want to reach out and squeeze Joshua’s boobs?

FFR: Or poke his belly.

Lark: I just heard “I will lead the army against the army of Midol.” I am pro fighting PMS.

FFR: One thing I can’t get over is how much the soldiers look like Romans.

Rose: It gets worse, wait for the Mongolians.

Lark: No no outfits bad! No biscuits!

Lark: Granted, we now have Yul Brynner wearing the penis hat. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

FFR: For its time, that special effect was spectacular.

Rose: That child is much darker than either of his parents.

Lark: I think the three kings came a little early. It keeps flashing to these three guys wearing fancy hats, clearly they’re the three kings.

FFR: Cape swirl!

Lark: I’m getting a definite Wonder Woman 1984 vibe out of Nefertiri with that dress.

Lark: You still can make brick without straw, it just will be shitty brick.

Lark: That spray of pink flowers, are those snapdragons?

Lark: She’s got a bit of crazy eyes going on.

Seriously the blackface in this is not okay.

Lark: The Pharaoh is supposed to be fucking wanking off into the Nile.

We all agree the blood is well-done here.

Rose: …Though now it’s not quite so well-done.

FFR: Yeah, it’s coloring in the image.

Lark: Oh that was a pretty jar!

Rose: And now they skip over the plagues because they don’t know how to show them.

FFR: I love how they just let Moses run around their palace.

Lark: That is a good point, how does Moses keep getting in?

Lark: I do like that Ramses is giving other explanations for the plagues, that’s well-done.

FFR: Moses always comes across like he’s talking like a robot.

Lark: His acting is so bad.

FFR: Compared to everyone else!

Lark: Yul Brynner came from the stage. Charlton Heston is so much worse than everybody else.

FFR: I like how he’s pouting with his cape.

Lark: Can you keep your cape open and stop pouting so I can see the thirst?

FFR: Ramses finally put his foot down on Moses coming into his house uninvited.

Lark: Can we get rid of Yvonne De Carlo’s rocket bra please?

Rose: Did his hair get even grayer?

Lark: Yes. The wardrobe department really went all out on the mousse and the spray gray.

Lark: He’s really framing it as “I can’t save your son” when what he means is “I won’t save your son.”

Oh look it’s the romantic tumor sideplot.

Lark: A bars jail motif.

Lark: Sure, let’s outcast the woman who got raped.

Rose: I will say Joshua isn’t trying to outcast her.

Lark: What this movie is telling us is that Joshua is really the catch.

Rose: Is it just me or was that stolen from a Halloween movie?

Lark: They raided Fantasia.

Rose: Oh look it’s time for the terrible seder of doom.

Lark: It’s a white guy freeing the Black. Time for the white savior!

Rose: They bring her a chair and don’t bring the servants chairs. I have serious issues with that.

Lark and FFR: *agreeing noises*

Lots of discussion of Joshua’s shiftlessness and extremely pointy nipple.

Rose: And now he’s calling his birth mother by her first name, does he have any mother?

Rose: Why do we eat unleavened bread? Because we’re commemorating tonight!

Lark: We’re commemorating TOMORROW!

Rose: I KNOW!

Rose: I mean the unleavened bread literally commemorates leaving Egypt and they haven’t left yet! And they don’t need bitter herbs to remember being slaves, they literally are slaves!

Lark: So the reason the slaves don’t join them at the table…you have to remember this is 1956. And that would be showing integrated dining.

FFR: And that wouldn’t have gone well in the south.

Rose: I know it’s the time but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!

FFR: I like how he slowly slumps over.

Rose: They’re also blaming the hardening of his heart on her when in the Bible it’s God which is… kiiiiiiiinda sexist.

Lark: Where is this kind of? It’s incredibly sexist!

Lark: I really like how that was framed. Yul Brynner sitting in the chair like that.

FFR: Wrapped in black.

Lark: Although the blacks still don’t match.

Rose: but seriously, Charlton Heston has aged how much and Yul Brynner has not?

*Insert thirst trapping over Yul Brynner’s arms*

Rose: Watch the child trying not to move.

Lark: The child is trying to hold his breath and failing. Count the breaths the child takes.

FFR: Wait, is that the right god?

Lark: That’s Horus.

FFR: It should be with Anubis.

Lark: or Osiris, because Osiris is the god who was reborn.

FFR: He said the god from below, it should be Anubis.

Rose: Isn’t Anubis a jackal?

Rose: Isn’t that a shofar?

Lark: Isn’t this the wrong holiday for a shofar?

Rose: Yeah, but it was used also for general announcement at that time period.

Lark: Now these statues should be painted.

FFR: Which is especially egregious because the friezes behind them are painted.

Lark: You can also tell they were poured from fiberglass models.

Rose: They totally took any Jewish name from any part of the Bible. You’re Benjamin! You’re Naomi!

Lark: I love the “Where are we going?” that’s some great comedic timing from Edward G. Robinson.

Rose: All the camels!

FFR: All the dates!

Lark: We’re bringing the trees!

FFR: I will say it’s impressive, the scale of extras they’re utilizing.

Lark: Oh, he pretty much grabbed every human in Egypt. And most of the extras are actually Egyptian. Of course, Egypt wasn’t this Arab or even Greek yet.

FFR: Those Black folks look more West African than East African.

Rose: Is it just me or does that look like a covered wagon? Oregon Trail: Israel.

Lark: You have died of dysentery.

FFR: Should’ve caulked instead of forded.

Lark: Oh my god, seriously, Joshua’s brownface really needs to stop.

FFR: Oh Dathan’s going full Karen. “Do you know who I am?”

Lark: The set designer really did a good job. I’m enjoying that painted background. Fuck the plot, I’m enjoying the other stuff.

Rose: Oh look Bithia’s being carried by her Black slaves. I have serious issues with that. Like we’re going to free the slaves, but they’re still going to carry the Egyptian princess.

Lark: everybody follow this white dude!

Lark: I do like the few people who are smart enough to bring food for their animals.

Lark: Yes I’m going to pray right in the middle of the road… that’s how you become road rash!

We all agree the children with the animals are adorable. The kid with the geese, the little kid leading the cows, the one sleeping on the donkey…

Rose: How long has this child been dead and how is he not decomposing?

FFR: Yeah, they would’ve started the embalming process pretty much immediately.

Lark: That’s a wax dummy by now.

Lark: Why did they let the Hebrew people take the temple treasure to begin with?

Rose: Oh look it’s the shiny blue helmet.

Lark: These are actual charioteers from the Egyptian army.

(Long discussion of the filming in Egypt and how it was negotiated with the King, but then he was removed, and it had to be renegotiated with Nasser.)

Rose: Wait is Joshua wearing a shirt?

Lark: He is! What is that shirt?

Lark: Apparently they got the sandstorm from the Egyptian army turning on their jets and it would blow sand.

Iconic scene time!

Lark: Here come some really janky clouds. We’re going to drop a house on the witch.

FFR: And here we are in Life of Brian.

FFR: The special effect looks more illustrated than anything else.

Lark: It’s animated. But it’s still well-done how it’s incorporated back in.

Rose: Pose for the movie poster!

Lark: I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille.

FFR: I like how those three women were dramatically posing.

The fact that the special effects still hold up from 1956 to now is pretty damn impressive.

Rose: The walls of water are impressive.

Lark: I like how people just randomly disappear to never be seen again. Like Moses’s wife. And his son.

Rose: And his birth mother.

Lark: You know, even in the Civ games, I never bothered with building chariots. They were just so useless.

Rose: Ah this last scene with the two of them. Goodbye thirst traps.

Lark: I do like how she stops him in his tracks. You failed, fuck you. We hate each other.

FFR: The Curb Your Enthusiasm theme plays.

Lark: …How did Moses get across the Red Sea when he went up on Mount Sinai before?

Rose: He must’ve gone around?

Lark: They cut the Suez Canal.

Lark: Go to an acting school, for fuck’s sake.

Rose: Are they using the actual Ten Commandments or are they using the Christian ones?

Lark: You asked this the last time and it’s the Christian ones.

Rose: The whole Golden Calf thing is sort of a mass madness.

Lark: It’s the ergot.

Lark: If they’re drinking new wine that is fully fermented, that’s a problem. You can either have the juice or you can have when it’s fully fermented, you don’t get it in the middle.

Lark: To be fair, I like the effect of how they’re burning the words in.

Rose: Yes.

Rose: Was human sacrifice even a thing in Egypt?

FFR: No. It was the Canaanites.

Lark: It wasn’t Greek either.

Rose: Is Charlton Heston getting even grayer in this scene?

Lark: Apparently he feels the need to molest the scenery. Watch him molest the scenery and chew it.

Lark: Are those sweet potatoes? What the hell are those big things?

Rose: Those would definitely not be native to this area.

Rose: Is that Joshua waiting for him?

Lark: In his Ugg boots. And he has a shirt on. Why does he have a shirt on?

Lark: The light of God is not shining from Moses, he just doesn’t know he’s sweating.

Aaron totally throws away his incense burner thing like he’s guilty, the little shithead.

Rose: Oh look Lilia’s free. A character who I’m pretty sure doesn’t exist in canon at all, either Egyptian history or Jewish history.

Lark: Oh Dathan got swallowed up by an earthquake, I always forget the end of this movie.

Rose: Oh look at Moses’s giant beard of doom. Oh his wife actually showed up again.

Rose: It’s been forty years and I don’t think Joshua and Lilia aged at all.

Lark: Of course not.

FFR: It’s those pecs.

Rose: Okay Joshua did age slightly, his beard has some gray in it. But not forty years.

Lark: They used up all the gray on Charlton Heston.

Lark: Excuse me while I crack up. Proclaim liberty to all the lands, except you’re still going to have slaves later and everybody else is going to have slaves and it’s still going on so…yeah!

Lark: I will say that was a pretty printed backdrop at the end.

And that’s the end!

Look for us next year! :)

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