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

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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.

Academy Award Nominations: 5, including Best Cinematography.

production details
USA | Paramount | 128 minutes | 1949
Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Script: Jesse Lasky Jr., Fredric M. Frank, Vladimir Jabotinsky,

cast
Frank Wilcox as Lord of Ekron
Arthur Q. Bryan as Fat Philistine Merchant Wearing No Robe
George Sanders as The Saran of Gaza
Fay Holden as Hazel
Henry Wilcoxon as Prince Ahtur
Dorothy Adams as Screaming Temple Spectator
William Farnum as Tubal
Julia Faye as Haisham
Moroni Olsen as Targil
John Miljan as Lesh Lakish
Claire Du Brey as Temple Spectator
Victor Varconi as Lord of Ashdod
Hedy Lamarr as Delilah
Victor Mature as Samson
Angela Lansbury as Semadar
Olive Deering as Miriam
Pedro de Cordoba as Bar Simon
William ‘Wee Willie’ Davis as Garmiskar
Francis McDonald as Story Teller
Russ Tamblyn as Saul
Kasey Rogers as Spectator
Bert Moorhouse as Spectator at Temple

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