Top SFX shots No.21: The Ten Commandments
Cecil B. DeMille's second chance at parting the red sea (which he had first done with his prior version of The Ten Commandments in 1923) provides one of the great spectacles of the 1950s. Water had proved the bugbear of many an SFX artist, and here DeMille follows a similar technique as tried in The Dambusters (1955). The technique involves isolating suitable footage of cascading water in moving matte areas, and this it is that provides the great backward-moving flukes that reveal the impressive 'parted sea' model (a Hollywood attraction for many years afterwards). Considering that SFX artists were getting equal or worse results 20-30 years later, this is a ground-breaking and ambitious piece of footage greatly assisted by reverse photography.