Home Video Picks & Passes 03.28.21

‘The Ten Commandments’ is a ‘pick.’

This classic Bible-themed film has an annual viewing by many during Holy Week.
This classic Bible-themed film has an annual viewing by many during Holy Week. (photo: Paramount Pictures)

The Ten Commandments (1956) — PICK

Just in time for Easter, Cecil B. DeMille’s classic The Ten Commandments celebrates 65 years with a new three-disc 4K Ultra HD / Blu-ray edition, with the whole film on the 4K disc and two Blu-rays splitting the film. Both versions include an invaluable, highly informative commentary track by Katherine Orrison, author of Written in Stone: Making Cecil B. DeMille’s Epic, The Ten Commandments, also available in earlier home-video editions. Not in this edition: DeMille’s 1923 silent The Ten Commandments (included, with its own commentary track by Orrison, in previous editions) or the making-of documentary The Ten Commandments: Making Miracles offered 10 years ago in the 55th-anniversary edition.

The film itself was DeMille’s magnum opus, suffused with all his considerable talent for archaic staginess, melodramatic pageantry and opulent spectacle. Dated even in its day, it has something of the world of silent film about it. Yet an aura of King-Jamesesque authority and grandeur hangs over it, with Charlton Heston’s statuesque presence and rumbling line readings completing the effect. It’s a 1950s American take on the Exodus, both Christian and Protestant. For good and for ill, it’s as much a testament and a fixture of traditional American ideals and affections as a courthouse display of the stone tablets, and as weighty and solid.

 

CAVEAT SPECTATOR: Stylized violence, oppression of slaves and torture; melodramatic romantic complications; mild sensuality. Older kids and up.

a young parishioner prays inside St. Thomas Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Church Membership Falls Below 50% (April 17)

America’s political divide grew a little wider this week with the announcement by leading Democrats in the House and Senate that they were introducing a bill to pack the Supreme Court by adding four more Justices. This week on Register Radio we talk to Register legal analyst Andrea Picciotti-Bayer about the implications for the high court and American culture. And then, church membership in the U.S. fell below 50% for the first time ever. What are the factors in play, and what does it mean for the Church going forward? We are joined by Register writer Jonathan Liedl.

Aleksander Augustynowicz, “Alleluia,” 1906

Erika Ahern on Safeguarding Your Family From Relativism and Secularism (April 10)

The Easter Season is here, and Catholic families are trying to get the most out of the season, especially as we emerge slowly out of the pandemic. This week on Register Radio, we are joined by Catholic vlogger and Catholic family expert Erika Ahern on her Easter Octave Guide for Catholic Families and her advice for safeguarding families from relativism and secularism. And then, we talk to Register editor Alyssa Murphy who gives a round-up of not-to-miss stories at ncregister.com.