The Ten Commandments (1956)

Harry Thomas comments on The Ten Commandments: In the 1950's I was hired to work on Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956). It was a dirty, filthy picture and there was mud everywhere. I began to loose my independent contracts on the outside too. I've always enjoyed working on the independent pictures best. I wanted this picture to be finished....even if it meant getting fired. I couldn't quit from Westmore (the make up supervisor). That would be a disgrace, but to be fired by DeMille, who fired at least one person daily, would be an honor. I deliberately slowed my pace and even did a mediocre job, hoping that he would fire me. DeMille fired people right on the spot by saying "Take this man off the picture and give him his check. I never want to see him again." But he second guessed me and would not let me go. He told me, "If I let you go, how will the new make up artist match your work? You are using dark Egyptian make up on Yul Brynner. A new make up man might use light Egyptian make won't match your work so far."

DeMille was very clever, the way he got away with mixing sex, violence and religion in a movie. He told me "I'll make a biblical picture and use the Old Testament. There's so much dirt in the Bible, you couldn't clean it with a shovel."

Charlton Heston was a wonderful man to work with. I remember putting the long beard on him as an older Moses. He had to sit in the make up chair for hours putting make up on and taking it off. Sometimes I would pull his skin when removing the beard, but he never complained. He was always pleasant to work with. Do you remember the scene where he came down from the mountain and he had turned into an old man? I put the beard on him and colored his hair gray for that scene. I wanted to add some wrinkles to his face and make him really look old, but DeMille didn't want me to touch Charlton Heston's face. "He has to look handsome," Demille said. So I just put the beard on and put grey in his hair. I think the scene looked silly. Charlton Heston with a grey hair and a beard, but a young face. I tried to tell Demille, but he just wouldn't listen. Yul Brynner was pleasant to work with too.

10com.jpg (21613 bytes)  tencom.jpeg (69783 bytes)  


2 props from The Ten Commandments and a cool photo. 



Click on the banner for a wonderful web pages on Charlton Heston.

Back to The Harry Thomas Web Page.

Grab some popcorn and have a look at some of my collection of horror and science fiction movie props