Samson and Delilah (Paramount 1949, Victor Mature, Hedy Lamarr)

Samson and Delilah is Cecil B. DeMille’s grandest biblical epic and that’s saying something. At a cost of $3 million, DeMille created a Technicolor version of the Old Testament world of the Danite shepherd who slays his Philistine captors with the jaw of an ass, but who succumbs to the wiles of a woman.

As the hunky hero, Victor Mature is in top form, his chiseled face straining as he fells his enemies but its fleshiness also hinting at his weakness. Hedy Lamarr also struts and poses to great effect, but the main attraction here is the spectacle itself, from Samson’s shows of strength, his battles with the Philistines, and his climactic destruction of the temple.

Although the film cost $3 million it quickly became Paramount’s most lucrative film when released, taking in $12 million on its initial screenings.

Samson and Delilah

Academy Award Nominations: 5, including Best Cinematography.

Cast: Hedy Lamarr, Victor Mature, Angela Lansbury, George Sanders, Henry Wilcoxon, Olive Deering, Fay Holden, Russ Tamblyn

Producer and Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Directors of Photography: George Barnes, Dewey Wrigley
Editor: Anne Bauchens
Composer: Victor Young
Screenwriters: Fredric M. Frank, Vladimir Jabotinsky, Harold Lamb, Jesse Lasky Jr.
Production Designer: Hans Dreier
Art Director: Walter Tyler

USA / Paramount / 128 minutes / 1949

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