Over at The Daily Notebook, I’ve contributed a few mini-blurbs to a series on pre-code movies, which you might enjoy — if not, there are plenty of contributions from other writers that are well worth checking out.

And, it being Thursday, there’s also a new edition of The Forgotten, this week returning to recent subject of inquiry, the European silents of Michael Curtiz — under the eyepiece in this instance, MOON OF ISRAEL, Curtiz’s equivalent of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, made at the same time as DeMille’s first Hollywood take on the decalogue.

8 Responses to “Moonstruck”

  1. david wingrove Says:

    Can’t help wondering if MOON OF ISRAEL was made as a conscious attempt by the Germans to emulate the success of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS – or did the two films just happen to evolve at roughly the same time? Any ideas?

  2. David Boxwell Says:

    “Fresh fish!” LTTA is full of smutty puns.

  3. Well before either them there was the Italian epic Cabiria

  4. david wingrove Says:

    Given the attitudes towards Israel that were to take hold in Germany a decade or so later, it’s a minor miracle that this film survives!

  5. Somehow Nazism and Christianity were able to forget their differences, at least as far as the Pope was concerned. So I guess the logic was that pre-Christ Jews were OK, they only became genetically inferior after they nailed up the Messiah. Doesn’t make a lick of sense, but why should we expect it to?

    It seems that 10 Commandments and Monn of Israel were a case of parallel development, but Curtiz’s earlier Sodom und Gomorrah, which enfolds its bible tale within a contemporary narrative, DOES seem like a clear influence on DeMille — as well as on Curtiz’s own Noah’s Ark.

    Interesting that Curtiz returned to this mode somewhat in later years with The Egyptian and, to a lesser extent, Francis of Assissi.

    Cabiria lurks at the back of so much cinema, from Griffith’s epic sensibility to the cry of “Moloch” in Metropolis! And Curtiz’s movies look like a big influence on German Lang, too.

  6. David Boxwell Says:

    So I says to ‘im, “Say, ya big egg! Haul yer ashes outta here”, and I wannad tuh smack ‘im rightinna schnozz!
    And he says, “Lissen sistuh, no four-flushin’ dame like youse ain gonna get between me an’ my pal here, see?”
    Well, was my face red!

  7. “I don’t know how a pharaoh talks,” lamented Howard Hawks. Just once, I’d love to see a movie where he talks like a pre-code yegg.

    “Go ‘way, Nefretiri, ya bother me!”

  8. Christopher Says:

    Moon of Israel is a cooler title than a brow beater like The 10 it Moon Over Israel and make it a musical.

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