Moses and Egypt: The Documentation to the Motion Picture The Ten Commandments


There is more to making a motion picture than putting action and sound on a strip of film.

Especially when the subject is historical or biblical, accurate research must precede and accompany every stage of production.

The research consultant on a producer's staff must become familiar with all the principal sources of information on the historical characters and the historical period of the picture; he must assemble an adequate working library for constant use as well as a voluminous collection of reference notes, photographs, photostats, excerpts, and other data from the great libraries and museums of the world; and he must approach his task with the steady objectivity of the scholar -- even if this means that he must sometimes be, quite firmly, a "no-man" to the producer, the writers, the art department, and the others engaged in actual production!

The producer will sometimes overrule the research consultant, deliberately and without apology, for reasons of legitimate dramatic license; for, as Professor Keith C. Seele of the University of Chicago wrote to us, "The challenge which you meet . . . is even greater than that faced by the historian. What he does not know he may leave unexpressed; you, however, must solve every problem, no matter how small or detailed, for pictures can contain no gaps or lacunae and no uncertainties. Your decisions may be right or wrong, but decisions you must make; you cannot say, along with the historian, 'I do not know.'" But, to make these decisions intelligently, the producer must be aware of all that is known, with . . .

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