Monday, March 31, 2008

Silence of the Hams

After watching (listening to)the commentary for "The Ten Commandments" my husband wanted to watch the bonus 1923 version that came with the DVD set. That version is a silent movie. I've never watched a feature length silent movie, and frankly, I'd rather not do it again any time soon. It's exhausting. Not only do you have to pay attention so that you're looking at the screen when the text comes up, but when the actors are on screen they are always emoting to the balcony, so to speak. Two hours or so of campy organ music is also wearing.

The movie itself was really weird. the first half was the biblical 10 commandments, then it changes - without any preamble - to "modern day". Modern day being the 1920's. The biblical portion wasn't too hard to watch, after all - it's a familiar story - and it did have its share of unintentional humor. I especially liked that Moses is portrayed as an old guy of about 70 or 80 years of age - and yet, his sister Miriam (wasn't she the one who took care of him when he was a baby?) was a babe in her 20's. Poor Moses certainly didn't age well in comparison. The orgy scene wasn't quite as "G" rated as DeMille's later effort.

One thing I did like about the "modern" setting was that the characters reminded me a little of the ones you might find in a GLH book. Especially the sweet little old mother who either slaved away in the kitchen or read her bible. She was big into the 10 commandments, and of her 2 boys (Johnny and Danny) only one followed after her. The other son (Danny) was a big disappointment - he left home to marry and he and his heathen wife said they would go and break all the commandments. Which they did - well, mostly he did. Another character who reminded me of GHL was "the scarlet woman". As are all bad GLH people, she is distinctly chubby. She is also French, Chinese AND a leper (talk about overkill). Johnny, the good son, was content to stay home with mother and go on being a poor carpenter. Who secretly loved his brothers' wife.

As Oscar Wilde said: "The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means." Oh, except the mother. She was killed (remember, parents are pretty expendable in GLH's world).


Keira said...

So did the poor carpenter get the girl? Danny would have to die...

I also love your, "emoting to the balcony, so to speak."

crashhanna said...

Yes, Danny died. And it was implied that Johnny got the girl. Did I mention her name was "Mary". Again, very GLH.