Wednesday, November 10, 2010

DeMille's Samson and Delilah

Cecil. B. DeMille has directed this masterpiece in 1949. This story is adapted from the Biblical Book of Judges. Samson is the strongest man of the Israelite tribe of Dan. They are enslaved by the Philistines. He falls in love with the Philistine Princess Cemadar and is engaged to her. She has designs for Ahtur and betrays him. At the wedding feast, there is an ensuing struggle between Ahtur ad Samson and Cemadar is killed. Her sister, Delilah, who loves Samson secretly, now plans vengeance against him. She seduces Samson into revealing the secret of his strength that lies in the untouched locks of his hair as a covenant from God at his birth. She then betrays him to the Philistine Chief, Saran of Gaza by giving him a potion in his drink so that when he is unconscious, she cuts the locks off and deprives him of his strength.She is not aware that Samson is put in prison and given many hardships and his eyes are gouged out. Delilah's heart softens and she loves him more strongly than earlier. She repents and asks for his forgiveness. Samson forgives her and prays to God to give him patience and his strength back. As the seasons pass, his hair grows and so does his strength to the ignorance of the Philistines. DeMille's epic is kown for the spectacular toppling of the Temple of Dagon that brings down the pillars on Samson, Delilah and all his enemies culminating in a tragic end. Victor Mature is Samson. Angela Lansbury is Cemadar. George Sanders is Saran of Gaza. Henry Wilcoxon is Ahtur. Russ Tamblyn is Saul. Olivia Deering is Miriam. Hedy Lamarr is Delilah. The colour still looks magnificent when you see it on the television. Victor Young's music is heavenly. There is not enough praise that can be showered on the magnificent Academy Award nominated music score by Young. In particular,the superb echoing horn motif for Samson and the unforgettable sensual loveliness for the strings and harp in the Delilah theme.

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