Samson and Delilah


Drama Romance Adventure
134 min     6.497     1949     USA


When strongman Samson rejects the love of the beautiful Philistine woman Delilah, she seeks vengeance that brings horrible consequences they both regret. The classic story of Samson and Delilah as told by Cecil B. DeMille.


CinemaSerf wrote:
Maybe not one of Cecil B. De Mille's better biblical epics, this, but it's still an enjoyable, if slightly long, watch with Hedy Lamarr on good form as the eponymous temptress. Snubbed by "Samson" (Victor Mature) in favour of her beautiful but fickle sister "Samadar" (Angela Lansbury) whom is subsequently killed, she sets out - with the aid of the Saran of Gaza (George Sanders), to find the secret behind the strength of the handsome, strong and decent man and use it do ensure his disgrace and downfall. De Mille uses a certain amount of cinematic licence with the biblical verses upon which this is based, but that does it no harm - it is a live, fairly action-packed romantic adventure that looks every inch the part. Sumptuous settings and costumes give it a visual richness and Victor Young has written a score than accompanies the grandeur of the visuals well, too. The acting, well that's quite another matter though. Lamarr is efficient, certainly, but Mature and Sanders are both as wooden as a picket fence. They deliver their dialogue as if they were reading it straight from off-screen cue cards. There is a great deal of activity filmed on sound stages that, though colourful, does limit the imagination (especially the terrifying stuffed lion that starts off the whole enterprise in the first place). George Barnes did try quite hard to photograph the legendary denouement creatively, but even that is just too stage bound to be wholly effective. Luckily, for me anyway, it leaves out much of the moralising. It's about power, avarice, betrayal, maybe even love and ultimately redemption but the narrative is left to deliver what messages we choose to receive, rather than having pontificating monologues aimed between our eyes. That helps to keep this a decent example of entertaining, big screen cinema that delivers a feast for your eyes, if not so much for your brain.