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BYU collection taking part in ‘Ten Commandments' special edition

By Sam Penrod | Posted - Mar. 30, 2011 at 11:00 p.m.


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PROVO -- One of the great movies of all time, "The Ten Commandments," has been released on Blu-ray disc. BYU had a leading role in a new special edition of the movie, including a new documentary about how the film was made.

The Special Collections Library at BYU houses Cecil B. DeMille's collection of papers from his career, which Paramount Pictures relied on in creating this new box set. James D'Arc, the curator, helped gather the memorabilia when BYU acquired the collection in 1977.

More Utah connections with 'The Ten Commandments'
  • Salt Lake City is where the movie had its first preview screening, in August 1956.
  • Legendary Utah artist Arnold Friberg was involved in the design of the film.

It includes "1,263 boxes of personal correspondence: business letters, investment files, research files, script files," D'Arc said. He calls the history of the making of "The Ten Commandments" a historical and cultural treasure.

"That's what Paramount Pictures found when they came here last fall to spend two days looking in the 131 boxes of material we have just on ‘The Ten Commandments' alone, and over 1,100 pieces of artwork -- production artwork, storyboards, custom sketches, scene renderings," D'Arc said. Among the artwork, original paintings by Utah's own Arnold Friberg, who was the chief illustrator for the movie.

D'Arc is personally excited for the new release and special features, which he believes will allow audiences to enjoy "The Ten Commandments" like never before.

"It looks better on Blu-ray than it did to audiences in the big motion picture palaces in 1956 when the film was released," D'Arc said. "Technology has been able to pull out of the camera negative all of the crystal-clear clarity, the vivid colors of the costumes, in a way that audiences, including me, back then never saw."

"Time is the tester on things like motion pictures," he continued, "and this can truly be called a classic film."

Email: spenrod@ksl.com

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Sam Penrod

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