51 Years After Cecil B. DeMille’s Epic Film Release,
Technology Vastly Expands the Visual Telling of this Historic Event


In the heyday of Oscar-winning director Cecil B. DeMille, spray-painting popcorn white to portray hail as God’s wrath on the set of the epic “The Ten Commandments” was a practical solution to a monumental problem. Fast-forward to 2007 high-definition film technology and the opening of Promenade Pictures’ animated film, “The Ten Commandments” and the imagery of hail is easily realized through more than 100 film artists, on three continents, across 19 time zones. “The Ten Commandments,” featuring the voice talents of Elliott Gould, Ben Kingsley and Christian Slater, opens in tomorrow (Oct. 19) in theatres nationwide.

“The 1956 DeMille film boasted a cast of 7,000 extras in the exodus scene out of Egypt,” said Cindy Bond, president and COO of Promenade Pictures, producer and distributor of the film. “At Promenade, our film technology and creativity allowed us to animate nearly 10,000 individuals and utilize more than 60 speaking parts for that particular panorama.”

While comparisons will be made of DeMille’s version to the animated Promenade film, film makers went to great lengths to differentiate the two epics through technology and nearly a year of crafting family-friendly scripting.

“We were determined not to merely re-tool the DeMille epic because it’s such an iconic, classic film,” said Ed Naha, the film’s writer. “Our desire was to craft a film that appealed to families and showed Moses as the reluctant leader that the Bible describes. The biblical reality is that Moses wasn’t a self-assured, strong hero who willingly accepted his calling from God.”

When DeMille’s film was released, he employed savvy marketing techniques, including having replica stone tablets placed in public squares around the country to draw awareness of the film’s release. Doing so in today’s culture would be highly controversial, and in some cases, prohibited.

Producing DeMille’s 1956 epic had challenges that are virtually unknown in today’s film industry. For example, DeMille personally suffered a heart attack after climbing more than 100 feet to check a faulty camera, which halted production for several days. There was also the small detail of how to dump thousands of gallons of red dye to turn the waters of the River Nile crimson red.

“State-of-the-art technology has greatly impacted filmmaking and streamlined special effects, but that technology also takes time,” said Bond. “Promenade’s ‘The Ten Commandments’ was produced in a little more than two years using literally thousands of story boards, while DeMille’s film was crafted from around 1,200 story boards.”

Audio technology and mixing was especially important to the animated “The Ten Commandments.” Great care was given to selecting the appropriate talent to effectively portray the voices of these important biblical figures.

“It took Promenade sound technicians and the incredible voice talents of actors such as Elliott Gould (the voice of God), Christian Slater (Moses), and Ben Kingsley (narrator) approximately 100 hours to fully record the film,” said Bond. “The entire sound process was performed by more than 40 sound engineers.

“We selected ‘The Ten Commandments’ as our first film in the ‘Epic Stories of the Bible’ series because it is a pivotal story in the history of the Bible,” said Bond. “It was very disconcerting to learn from a recent Kelton Research study that more people know the contents of a Big Mac® than know the contents of our moral standards. We hope this film will help to change that.”

Promenade Pictures is releasing “The Ten Commandments” in theaters nationwide Oct. 19. See for more information.

    Other little-known trivia about DeMille’s epic include:

  • Charlton Heston and his son both played Moses in the movie: Heston ’s young son played Moses as an infant.
  • Producer Cindy Bond’s daughter provided the voice talent for two of the animated film’s female characters.
  • Each year, the ABC Network airs DeMille’s epic at Easter. In 1999, ABC chose not to air the film and viewer outcry was so great that network leadership reinstated the Easter tradition in 2000, and continues to air the film every Easter.
  • This year, Radio Disney, a subsidiary of ABC, required Promenade to remove the phrase “Chosen by God” in advertising for the film.
  • Up until the release of “The Passion of the Christ” in 2004, DeMille’s film was the highest grossing religious epic in history.
  • Since “The Passion,” Hollywood has increased its number of religious film offerings.
  • “The Ten Commandments” was the last film directed by DeMille.
  • This Ten Commandments film is the first in a 12-part series of “Epic Stories of the Bible.”

Promenade Pictures was founded and is led by studio pioneer and entertainment industry legend Frank Yablans, who serves as CEO. Promenade Pictures has established itself as a full-service production, distribution and marketing company specializing in the distribution of theatrical motion pictures appropriate for the entire family. For more information, please visit

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EDITOR’S NOTE: For interview opportunities, please contact Vicki Morgan or Melany Ethridge at 972.267.1111, or via email to [email protected].