Saturday, March 31, 2018

On the Set of The Ten Commandments ( 1956 )

Tonight, as part of television tradition, ABC will be airing The Ten Commandments in honor of Passover week. For those who are unfamiliar with the film ( were you wandering in the desert wilderness with Moses? ), this 4-hour production tells the story from the Old Testament of Moses, the prince of Egypt ( portrayed by Charlton Heston ), who discovered that he was the true son of a Hebrew slave woman and renounced the throne to join his people. Years later, on Mount Sinai working as a shepherd, he hears the voice of the Lord speak to him, selecting him to lead these Hebrews out of slavery and out of Egypt into the Promised Land.

2018 marks the 55th year that this epic Cecil B. DeMille production has been televised on ABC ( except for 1999, the only year they dropped it )...and so, to honor and join in the celebration of this favorite annual occasion, we have compiled a little gallery of snapshots featuring behind-the-scenes photos taken on the set of The Ten Commandments

Happy Passover and a Blessed Easter to all of our readers! 

John Carradine, Martha Scott, Charlton Heston, Olive Deering, and Anne Baxter discuss the script with director Cecil B. DeMille. 
Charlton Heston, dressed as Prince Moses, stands in front of one of the many massive sets seen in the film. 
"Hello, valet service? Would you bring my chariot around to the front gate in ten minutes? Thank you!"
Filming the spectacular scene featuring Moses' return from his journey to Ethiopia. 
Yul, with his ever-present camera, capturing a snapshot of a gritty looking Moses in chains. 
Heston gets his chains tightened for Moses' dramatic entrance.
Cecil B. DeMille getting a light-reading for the opening sequence featuring Miriam and Baby Moses in the reeds. 
The construction of Bithiah's bathing pavilion, complete with palm trees. 
Yvonne DeCarlo seeing what the behind-the-camera viewpoint is like. 
Anne Baxter, as Nefertari, smiles at the camera while Cecil B. DeMille gives some last-minute direction to Yul Brynner.
Extras waiting in the blazing California sun to make their brief appearance in the movie.
Donald O'Connor visits the set during the filming of the brick-making scene. 
Charlton Heston gives Yul Brynner a good-luck handshake before filming commences. 
Charlton Heston and extras standing before the "blue screen". Heston still strikes a powerful figure, even without the parting sea behind him.


Yvonne De Carlo, as Sephora, modeling her shepherd's gown for a wardrobe test. 
Edith Head discusses a wardrobe matter with DeMille about one of Sephora's costumes, while Yvonne DeCarlo adjusts her earring.
A John Jenson sketch of one of the costumes worn by Dathan ( Edward G. Robinson ). Perhaps another actor was considered for the role of Dathan because this man hardly resembles Robinson!
Heston, as Moses, poses for this costume test. This is the shaggy shepherd suit he wears before he heads up to Mt. Sinai to be transfigured.
Nina Foch, as Bithiah, lounging in one of the many beautiful Edith Head costumes seen in The Ten Commandments.
Not only did costumes undergo color tests but eye color, too! Here, Debra Paget, poses for a photo with her "own eyes" compared to using contact lens.... seen here. Can you guess which option they went with for the final film?
Anne Baxter and Yul Brynner had the best looking costumes in The Ten Commandments and this garment was especially impressive. The white and red colors on the hedjet/crown atop Ramses' head represents the unity of Upper ( white ) and Lower ( red ) Egypt.
Moses, looking splendid in his leather tunic. 
One of the many beautiful gowns that Anne Baxter gets to wear as Nefertari. This one may possibly have been designed by Edith Head but Dorothy Jeakins also worked on the film.
Another Nefertari costume sketch.
When it comes to the fashion industry, sometimes the sketches look better than the costumes in reality, but not in this case. Anne Baxter knows how to fill out this sheer garment!
Debra Paget as Lilia, complete with leather slippers and her water cask.


  1. Wow! It is incredible to get this other view of a movie we have seen so often. Thanks.

  2. I love this behind the scenes look at a film I grew up watching. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I think so many of us grew up watching The Ten Commandments and yet this is the first time I looked into seeing if there were any behind-the-scenes photos taken. It does give one a different view of the film.

  3. These are amazing!!!! What a great look at this great movie. This is a post I have to share with my whole family. Thanks so much for this post!

    1. The Ten Commandments is a yearly favorite of mine so I'm very glad you enjoyed this post, too.

  4. Loved this post! 'Ten Commandments' isn't one of my top favorite movies, but it is nostalgic for me and an incredible film, so it was fascinating to see all these photos.

    1. I'm amazed that after seeing it every year I never tire of the film and always find something "new" in it with each subsequent viewing. Cecil B. DeMille really knew how to package history in an entertaining way!

  5. I LOVE THIS! Such an amazing collection of pictures -- I read through this so slowly and delightedly. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Hamlette. If I knew you were going to read the captions I'd of spent more time writing them!

    2. What? They were fully half the fun!

  6. amazing collection of pictures -- I read through this so slowly and delightedly. Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. What splendid photos! I especially like the one of Nina Foch lounging between scenes. As for the movie, it's a mixed bag, but I almost always winding up watching part of it.

  8. Wow! What amazing images! Absolutely fascinating,