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World Film Series

March 2, 2009

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Vernon Chadwick sent me this info and I heartily recommend you start going to World FIlm night at the Library!

The Oxford Public Library’s World Film Series continues on Tuesday, March 3, 6:00 PM, with Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 biblical epic, “The Ten Commandments.”

Before Charlton Heston became a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, he had polished his credentials in such iconic movie roles as Ben-Hur, El Cid, and, most bombastically, Moses in Cecil B. DeMille’s biblical epic, “The Ten Commandments.”

The year is 1956.  The Soviet Union invades Hungary.  The US Military explodes a hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll. Nasser of Egypt vows to reconquer Palestine. The US Congress votes “In God We Trust” as the national motto of the United States. Elvis records his first RCA single, “Heartbreak Hotel.”  And Heston, tablets in hand, comes down from the mountain in the top grossing movie of the decade.

“At our peril,” says World Film Series host Vernon Chadwick, “we underestimate the power of popular culture to influence our understanding of history or frame issues of contemporary debate.  At a time when Cold War tensions had heightened the struggle between competing political systems, East and West, movies like “The Ten Commandments” were instrumental in selling to the American public a convincing narrative of freedom, as epitomized in this case by Moses, deliverer of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.”

Fifty years later, DeMille’s masterpiece is perhaps best known for its special effects, which read like a greatest hits of Old Testament wonders – A rod wriggles into a serpent.  Fiery hail rains down on Egyptian evil-doers.  A mysterious voice (as it turns out, Heston himself) speaks from a burning bush.  Drunken revelers dance around a cash-4-golden calf.  The finger of God digitally (and literally) text messages his commandments in stone.  And, finally, one of the greatest feats in film history – the parting of the Red Sea (achieved in a specially constructed tank on a back lot at Paramount Studios in Hollywood).

“For good or ill,” says Chadwick, “Charlton Heston, and the right-wing politics for which he agitated in the latter half of his career, has morphed in the minds of his popular audience with images of Moses, guns, and God himself.  What better reason to give this flick a second look?”


WORLD FILM SERIES

OXFORD – LAFAYETTE LIBRARY

HOST: VERNON CHADWICK

Tuesdays at 6:00 PM

Main Auditorium

Oxford, Mississippi

Tel. 662-234-5751

2009 Series

HOLLYWOOD HISTORY OF THE WORLD

Tuesday, March 3

Ten Commandments. 1956. Directed by Cecil B. DeMille.

Charlton Heston lays down the law, with Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yevonne De Carlo.

Tuesday, March 17

Helen of Troy. 1956. Directed by Robert Wise.

Adaptation of Homer’s Iliad starring Rossana Podesta, Jacques Sernas, Cedric Hardwicke.

Tuesday, March 31

Ulysses. 1954. Directed by Mario Camerini.

Adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey starring Kirk Douglas, Silvana Mangano, Anthony Quinn,  Rossana Podesta.

Tuesday, April 14

Spartacus. 1960. Directed by Stanley Kubrick.

And Kirk Douglas strikes back against the Empire, with Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov.

Tuesday, April 28

Fellini – Satyricon. 1969. Directed by Federico Fellini.

Rome before Christ and after Fellini. Based on a work by the notorious writer of Nero’s Rome, Gaius Petronius.

Tuesday, May 12

Quo Vadis. 1951. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy.

Based on the novel by Nobel laureate Henryk Sienkiewicz. Stars Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Leo Genn, and Peter Ustinov in the quintessentially deranged role of Nero.

Tuesday, May 26

King of Kings. 1927. Directed by Cecil B. DeMille.

DeMille’s silent masterpiece on the life of Christ complete with Technicolor resurrection!

Tuesday, June 9

Barabbas. 1961. Directed by Richard Fleischer.

Based on the novel by Nobel laureate Par Lagerkvist. Stars Anthony Quinn, Silvana Mangano, Jack Palance, Ernest Borgnine.

Tuesday, June 23

Fall of the Roman Empire. 1964. Directed by Anthony Mann.

More expensive to make than a Wall Street banker’s golden parachute, this CinemaScope epic stars Sophia Loren, Stephen Boyd, Alec Guinness, James Mason, Christopher Plummer.

Previous shows included:

Tuesday, January 6

One Million Years B.C. 1966. Directed by Don Chaffey.

Dinosaurs and fur bikinis compete in this vintage take on Homo sapiens starring Raquel Welch.

Tuesday, January 20

Jason and the Argonauts. 1963. Directed by Don Chaffey.

Wonders of Greek myth engineered by stop-motion special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen.

Tuesday, February 3

Land of the Pharaohs. 1955. Directed by Howard Hawks.

The William Faulkner oddity starring a surprisingly young Joan Collins.

Tuesday, February 17

The Mummy. 1932. Directed by Karl Freund.

The classic thriller of Egyptology starring Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Bramwell Fletcher.

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