Before I put a finger on the keyboard, I admit this is probably heresy, at least to some people. As Easter approaches, one simply doesn’t make fun of religious movies. But I do.

Last night, Marilyn and I had our annual viewing of “The Ten Commandments.” Cecil B was, again, going for life-altering moments. But really, he gave us much-needed laughter. It isn’t a movie that has stood up well to the years. Time tested it and found it wanting.

The holiday lineup of movies on our cable stations include most familiar biblical movies. Few stand the test of time. Some are really well intended like George Stevens’, “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” Yet the man who gave us classics like “Shane”, “A Place In The Sun” and “Giant,” wound up with a ponderous and static film in “The Greatest Story.” It’s biggest sin? It’s boring.

As I write, we are watching Mel Brooks “History of the World-Part One” which is the perfect antidote to historical films that have become parodies or that were never good even when new. We probably have a greater appreciation of history because of Mel’s equal opportunity insults rather than the cardboard epics which play fast and loose with facts.

Mel Brooks last supper
The Last Supper – Mel Brooks

I must admit I love watching gladiator movies. It’s a guy thing, like war films. I also enjoy seeing semi clad (or even less clad) young women engaging in erotic dances before evil monarchs who are not playing with a full deck. But we’re not talking about great cinema here.

Charlton “call me Chuck” Heston was really honest when he talked about playing Moses. He told me it was a good gig. Working with Cecil B. DeMille (for a second time) was nice for his résumé. It actually gave him a boost for a religious film he really wanted to do.

“Ben Hur” is one of the best religious films out of Hollywood. It stands the test of time because of William Wyler’s fine direction. The chariot race alone is still worth the price of admission.

This is obviously subjective stuff. If you love Cecil B’s heavy-handed narration of his version of the Old Testament, so let it be written. So let it be done, We’re back with Mel. It’s the French Revolution and those generously endowed girls are displaying their charms. It’s good to be the king!

Categories: film, Holidays, Humor, Movies, Religion

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31 replies

  1. It’s good to be da King.


  2. I’m giggling, Gary. First, Mel Brooks…who doesn’t love what he brings to the TABLE? Lol Secondly, I’m a gladiator movie fan! Hear hear! My parents have a similar “history” with The Ten Commandments. I’ve watched it twice in my life! How cool you met Chuck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • K.L. I am not sure we will watch “The Ten Commandments” this Easter season. It’s become a subject of ridicule and I’m not sure it’s worth argument. Still, I love C.B.’s ham-handed version of Moses , friends and enemies. DeMille’s intent was to ENTERTAIN with historical accuracy be damned.

      Charlton “Chuck” Heston was, for me, a nice guy to know. He was always affable and friendly to the media, acknowledging they had a job to do as he was promoting his movies. I think there were four or five Heston “meets” and he was always gracious. The best was a DeMille type luncheon for the media, part of a massive PR junket for “Midway”. Marilyn was my “plus one” for the NYC event. We sat at a table filled with veteran entertainment reporters and critics. At one point, working myriad tables in perfect synch, Heston and other cast members approached our table. As I looked up, Heston’s booming voice resonated, “Well, hello again, Garry Armstrong. Good to see you here”. A quick glance at the table caught the media vets looking a bit annoyed at Heston’s singling out of the newbie and his lady friend. I just grinned and soaked it all up as “Chuck” and I shared brief chit-chat and I introduced Marilyn. If memory does not fail me, Charlton Heston smiled and kissed Marilyn’s hand, saying “Just call me Chuck, dear”. Immediately, I noticed how yellow Heston’s teeth were as he smiled widely and continued the friendly chat with us, the media vets still scowling. Minutes later, Heston said “I have a few friends for you to meet”. The friends: Henry Fonda (with very thick eyebrows), Burgess Meredith and Kevin Dobson (best remembered as ‘Crocker’ from the “Kojak” TV series). There were others but I don’t remember at this point. A memorable star-studded luncheon, indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Garry, what an incredible experience for you both! That’s so cool! I did giggle again about the media vets’ scowls. And the yellow teeth! I can imagine that! I won’t watch The Ten Commandments either since I’ve seen it all much and share similar stance as you! Entertainment! That’s the goal!
        Take care! Both of you!

        Liked by 1 person

        • K.L. Thanks! That media junket was very cool. It was a holdover from the golden days of old Hollywood. The entertainment media folks took themselves seriously – like they were celebrities themselves. Maybe they were.

          It was particularly cool to see Heston have Fonda, Meredith and other legends in tow as if they were a neighborhood clubhouse gang.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I guess I liked the Ten Commandments the first time. It was hard to sit through again and again. I loved Ben Hurr in the theater on the big screen. It is hard to watch now. I guess that has something to do with Heston’sw late-in-life persona. Mel Brooks is the perfect antidote.
    I liked gladiator movies for a different reason, I guess. By the way I have been meaning to watch Troy but can seem to set aside 3 and half hours for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. moses, moses. house tag line. I’ve never actually seen the movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember waitressing one year on easter when the owner of our cocktail bar insisted we open. even though he was at home with his family. obviously, it was a day with no customers, so we ended up sitting upstairs, watching the Ten Commandments and drinking margaritas together.

    Liked by 1 person

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