Movie 50min

The Life of Moses (1909)

Not rated.

+ 2 images
Facts
Directors J. Stuart Blackton, Charles Kent
Country United States
Language English
Titles
(Country Spesific) Moses lif i lefvande bilder
(Alternative) Scenes from the Life of Moses
Production
Distribution
Categories
Ancient Egypt Based on the Bible Biblical Characters Biblical Drama Biblical Plagues Biography Black and White Burning Bush Drama Historical Drama Idolatry Israel Jew Judaism Moses Murder Old Testament Pesach Pharaoh Religious Persecution Serial Silent Film Slavery Tabernacle The Arc of the Covenant The Exodus The Ten Commandments
Description

Notable Series of Biblical Pictures Produced Under the Direction of Rev. Madison C. Peters, D. D., Eminent New York Divine - A Remarkable Historical, Educational and Scenic Creation Marked by Correct and Elaborate Costuming and Revealing Profound Study and Research of Tradition.

NOTHING has been attempted by producers of motion pictures, here or abroad, that will excell the highly ambitious undertaking of the Vitagraph Company of America, about to be presented to lovers of motion pictures in the "Life of Moses" which will appear in a series of five reels beginning December 4, 1909. In the biblical history of the World, if we eliminate the divinity of Christ, there is no one personality which stands out so prominently as that of Moses, the liberator and lawgiver of his race. The bible story of this great man is profoundly interesting and filled with events of the highest dramatic value, especiaily well adapted to the requirements of motion picture art. The rich costuming and the pageantry of the East afford untold opportunities for the picture maker to display his skill, and the scenes to be simulated are wonderfully grand and aweinspiring.

Enhancing these dramatic and scenic values is the Divine inspiration which clothes the subject, commanding the most profound reverence of all civilized people. This attribute raises the subject away above the commonplace of picture effort and places no mean responsibility upon the producer.

The Vitagraph Company has approached its task with a full recognition of this phase of the work and the result as shown in the pictures so far completed, is dignified and reverential, fully in keeping with the grandeur which is assoclated with the career of Moses.

Assisting the Vitagraph producers in every step of this important work has been the Rev. Dr. Madison C. Peters. A profound student of biblical lore, Dr. Peters has brought his wide knowledge into play in perfecting the details of the production and his connection with that work is a sufficient guarantee of historical exactness fn the matter of costuming and scenic effects. The producers have also drawn upon many of the world's greatest artists for the most approved conceptions of scenes to be portrayed. Among these are to be found the names of Briton Riviere, R. A.; Edwin A. Abbey, R. A.; Tissot, Alma-Tadema, R. A.; Gerome, Dore, Israels, Constant, Chavannes and many others equally noteworthy. From the array of talent that has been drawn upon it is evident that the Vitagraph producers have procured the most complete and authentic data obtainable.

In treating a subject of such important magnitude in an adequate manner the Vitagraph producers divided the work into a series of five reels of about 1,000 feet in length each. These will be released at convenient periods from two to three weeks apart.

Source: The Film Index

Part 1. The Persecution of the Children of Israel by the Egyptians.
The first reel of the series deals with the condition of the Jews in Egypt prior to the birth of Moses when they were under the most abject slavery. The picture opens upon a scene illustrating the cruelty of the taskmasters. Then follows the dictating and promulgating of the decree that all males of the Jews shall be killed the carrying out of that decree and the terror of the Mother of Moses when she learns of the danger to her child. She hides the child in the bullrushes; it is discovered by Pharoah's daughter and adopted by her.
Scene 1
The persecution of the children of Israel by the Egyptians. Now there arose up a new king in Egypt. And he said unto his people. Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Let us set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. (Exodus, chapter I.) The first scenes show the Egyptian court and King Pharaoh commanding the slave drivers to beat the Hebrew toilers who show signs of rebellion. Pharaoh notices this and, calling his scribes, orders that a decree be published that every man-child born to the Hebrews be killed.
Scene 2
The parchment is prepared and is read in Pharaoh's court in the presence of Pharaoh's daughter, who hears and pleads in vain for his clemency. Pharaohs Decree. Every male child that is born to the Hebrews shall be cast into the river.
Scene 3
The Egyptians ruthlessly proceed to carry out the decree and seize the male children from the arms of the Hebrew mothers.
Scene 4
Here we are shown the interior of a Hebrew dwelling. The child Moses is in a cradle and his mother is bending over him, utterly unconscious of the cruel edict of King Pharaoh. The sister of Moses is shown attending to household duties and she takes a pitcher and goes to the well to draw water. There she learns of the slaughter of the innocents and hastens back and tells the mother of the cruel scenes she has witnessed. They decide to hide the child Moses by the river, and the cradle or ark is covered and carried between them to a marsh, where they plaster the outside with soft mud to keep out the water, and placing the child therein, his sister remains nearby to watch what will become of him.
Scene 5
And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the rivers edge; and when she saw the ark among the flags she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it she saw the child; and, behold, the babe wept, and she had compassion on him. Pharaoh's daughter fondles and pets the crying child and decides that she will keep him for her own. The sister of Moses approaches and suggests that she call a nurse of the Hebrew women and she, of course, called the childs mother. "And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away and nurse it for me and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child and nursed it."
Scene 6
Pharaoh is informed of his daughter's caprice and demands to see the child. He orders it away, but his daughter embraces him and pleads so hard for the life of the child that he consents and gives it his protection and blessing. A fitting ending is a picture of the mother and sister of Moses again fondling their own and giving thanks to God for their unexpected good fortune.
Part 2. Forty Years in the Land of Midian
In the second reel Moses appears as a young man. He has been deeply touched with the hardships of his people and subsequently kills one of the taskmasters for cruelty to the workmen. For this act he is compelled to flee the country, escaping to the land of Midian, where he becomes a shepherd and takes a wife. The Lord appears to him in a Burning Bush and commands him to return to Egypt and free the Hebrews from bondage.
Scene 1
The first reel of this series ended with the child Moses being adopted by Pharaoh's daughter. The Hebrews are still under bondage, and we see them laboring in the brick fields, beaten by the taskmasters, as they build those gigantic specimens of Egyptian architecture, many of which stand to this day. Moses has been reared and educated in the Egyptian court, and is now in the prime of life, but he does not forget that he is of Hebrew blood, and, as he watches his brethren in their slavery, his blood boils at the outrages and he looks toward Heaven and cries, "How long, oh Lord, how long?"
Scene 2
A number of Hebrews are digging clay, which is filled into baskets. The load is too heavy for one of the laborers, and the taskmaster beats him unmercifully. Moses sees this and kills the taskmaster.
Scene 3
The other Hebrew slaves, horrified at the enormity of the act, run away, and Moses, afraid of the consequences, hastily buries the body in the clay pit.
Scene 4
Two days after this, Moses seeks to separate two of his brethren who are quarreling, and one of them says: Wilt thou kill me as thou didst the Egyptian? Moses is terrified when he knows that his crime is known, and decides to flee from the country.
Scene 5
He seeks refuge in the home of a Hebrew laborer and
Scene 6
bargains for a suit of the laborer's garments, with which he disguises himself; he also purchases provisions and a water bottle, and departs.
Scene 7
Moses is seen crossing the desert. Tired and dusty, he rests and drinks from his water flask.
Scene 8
Still toiling on through the arid desert, he reaches an eminence and looks hack to see if he is being followed, and, seeing no one, he gives thanks for his deliverance.
Scene 9
Moses has at last reached the land of Midian. He discovers a well and refreshes and rests himself. While he is resting seven daughters of Jethro, a Midianite, come to the well to draw water for their sheep and cattle. Other herdsmen also come to the well and ungallantly drive away the maidens, but Moses comes to their aid, and draws the water for them.
Scene 10
The home of Jethro, the priest of Midian, father of the seven maidens. They enter and tell of the encounter at the well, and how they were aided by a Hebrew traveler. He says the man must be his guest, and
Scene 11
hastens to the well and greets Moses and invites him to the shelter of his house, which offer is accepted.
Scene 12
Moses enters the home of the priest of Midian, where he is effusively greeted by the whole household, and
Scene 13
we see him seated and enjoying a meal with the family. (And Moses was content to dwell with the man and he gave Moses his daughter, Zipporah, to wife.)
Scene 14
(Forty years later). Moses is now a shepherd, and, while tending his flocks in the land of Midian.
Scene 15
The voice of God speaks to him out of a burning bush and commands him to return to Egypt and deliver his brethren out of the bondage of the Egyptians.
Scene 16
Moses bids farewell to Jethro, his father-in-law, and, with his family, journeys to Egypt. On the way he meets Aaron, who had been, commanded by the Lord to meet Moses, and together they arrive at the Egyptian court.
Scene 17
The court of Pharaoh, a young man, the elder Pharaoh having died while Moses was in Midian. The officials announce the new arrivals, and Moses and Aaron are ushered in and demand, in the name of the Lord, that the Children of Israel be set free. The Egyptian king refuses, and Moses tells him that if he does not consent the wrath of God will come on all the Egyptians.
Part 3. The Plagues of Egypt and the Deliverance of the Hebrews
The third picture brings Moses before Pharoah, demanding the freedom of his people. Pharoah’s refusal is followed by the Ten Plagues, the Passover and the death of the First Born, depicted with startling realism. After this Israel is led out of the house of bondage by Moses and guided on their way by a "pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night." The incident of crossing the Red Sea on dry land and the destruction of the hosts of Pharoah which attempt to follow them is shown in this picture.
Scene 1
Moses prays to the Lord for advice, and is commanded to work a miracle before the Egyptian monarch to convince him that it is the Lord, the God of the Israelites, who demands the deliverance of His people.
Scene 2
Moses and Aaron appear before Pharaoh again. Aaron casts his rod upon the ground and it becomes a serpent. Pharaoh is amazed, but he still refuses to free the Children of Israel.
Scene 3
Pharaoh's continued refusal brings upon Egypt the ten plagues. Moses finds Pharaoh near the rivers edge and again asks that his people be allowed to go free. When Pharaoh denies again. Aaron smites the water of the river with his rod and the waters are turned into blood.
Scene 4
Again Moses appears before Pharaoh and again Pharaoh refuses his request. As God had commanded, Moses stretches his hand toward heaven and immediately a great storm of hail and lightning, such as they had never seen, descends on Egypt, killing man and beast and striking terror to the heart of Pharaoh.
Scene 5
Pharaoh's heart was again hardened and he still refuses to free the Hebrew children. Again Moses stretches his hand toward heaven, and a thick darkness, a darkness that might be felt, covered the land for three days, so that no one was able to rise from his place.
Scene 6
The last and most terrible plague visited on Egypt for Pharaoh's continued refusal is the death of all the Egyptian first born. The Feast of the Passover is instituted at this time. Moses directing all the Hebrew people to observe the Feast by killing and preparing a lamb.
Scene 7
Moses commands the Children of Israel to sprinkle the door posts on both sides and on top with the blood of the lamb and on every house where they are to eat the Feast of the Passover, and to prepare the Feast.
Scene 8
The Feast of the Passover is observed, according to the instructions of Moses, by every Jewish family in Egypt, the Feast consisting of roast lamb with unleavened bread and herbs.
Scene 9
The same night that the Feast of the Passover is being observed by the Israelites, the Angel of Death passes over the land of Egypt in the last plague, the death of the first born.
Scene 10
The Angel of Death enters every Egyptian home where there is no blood on the doorposts, and the first born of every Egyptian family is slain, from the first born in Pharaoh's household to the first born of the captive in the dungeons.
Scene 11
The Angel of Death, however, passes by every Jewish home, as God had promised to Moses that where He saw the blood on the doorposts He would pass them over and the plague should not be upon them.
Scene 12
In Pharaoh's palace Pharaoh and his court are feasting, when the Angel of Death enters and Pharaoh's own first born is slain. Pharaoh is overcome with grief at this terrible visitation and sends for Moses and Aaron immediately.
Scene 13
The death of his first born softens the heart of Pharaoh and when Moses and Aaron now appear before him he commands them to take the Children of Israel and to depart out of the land of Egypt.
Scene 14
Moses and Aaron give the command to the Hebrew people, who immediately gather together their possessions and prepare to leave the land of their bondage with reverent and thankful hearts.
Scene 15
With Moses and Aaron as leaders, the Israelites begin their exodus from Egypt, the land of the Pharaohs, where they had been slaves for so many years.
Part 4. The Victory of Israel.
The Wandering of the Children of Israel in the Wilderness for forty years is the subject of the fourth reel, in which the notable incidents are the Falling of the Manna from Heaven, Moses Smiting the Rock from which water sprang to quench the thirsty multitudes. Moses Sitting In Judgment Over the People. The battle between the hosts of Israel and of Amalak when the hands of Moses were held up until the enemy was defeated.

This issue shows the journeyings of the children of Israel in the Wilderness and the many marvelous provisions for their protection and deliverance. It is a revelation of the possibilities of scenic effects as produced by Vitagraph art; the reproduction of things heard of, but never before seen since their actual occurrence.
Scene 1
After the children of Israel depart from Egypt and are well on their way,
Scene 2
they discover they are pursued by Pharaoh and his army of soldiers and chariots as shown in Scene 2.
Scene 3
The Israelites beseech Moses in fear and trembling that they be not swallowed up by the Egyptians and returned into bondage. Moses tells them to fear not, to pray unto God for their deliverance, then, lifting his hands in supplication, commands them to kneel in prayer while he calls on the God of their fathers for protection, and, behold! He sends a pillar of cloud which stands between them and Pharaoh’s army, so that they are not seen by their pursuers.
Scene 4
Coming to the Red Sea, which bars their progress, Moses lifts up his hands and the waters of the sea are divided by a strong East wind.
Scene 5
The children of Israel pass through the waters of the Red Sea on dry land.
Scene 6
The Egyptians follow after them, and, while crossing through the sea, the waters close over them and they are destroyed.
Scene 7
Having escaped the Egyptians, they journey through the Wilderness, where they suffer for bread to eat and complain that they were delivered from one danger to be confronted by a worse. Moses, aggrieved, points to the Pillar of Cloud and reminds them of God’s mercies unto them and tells them to trust in God, but they will not be comforted.
Scene 8
At nightfall Moses enters his tent and prays to God, and, during the night, the Lord sends a shower of manna over the camp of the Israelites that they may have bread to eat.
Scene 9
At sunrise the manna is still falling and covers the ground, from which the children of Israel gather as much as they need. Again they are reminded of God’s goodness, and, led by Moses and Aaron, they reverently pay tribute to God in prayer and Thanksgiving.
Scene 10
They are now journeying through the Wilderness of Sin, where they cannot find water to drink and fear lest they die of thirst.
Scene 11
Again they complain to Moses and Aaron and express their doubt in God. Moses appeals unto heaven and asks for strength to withstand their murmurings.
Scene 12
By God’s command Moses smites the rock and water comes forth and the people are abundantly supplied.
Scene 13
The Israelites are attacked by the Amalekites in the land of Rephldim. Moses gives orders to Joshua, the commander of the army of the Israelites, to go forth and battle with the army of Amalek.
Scene 14
Moses, with Aaron and Hur, goes up to the top of a high prominence, where he can behold the battle, and, when Aaron and Hur hold up the hands of Moses - for he was now old and feeble - Israel conquers, and, when they let down his hands, Amalek conquers.
Scene 15
Moses, being wearied, lets his hands drop and the Jews are driven back.
Scene 16
Aaron and Hur now encourage Moses, but again we see the Jews in fiight.
Scene 17
Moses, still sustained by Aaron and Hur, keeps his hands raised until the setting of the sun, when the army of Israel is victorious and the Amalekites are defeated and completely routed.
Scene 18
Aaron and Hur still holding up the hands of Moses, Joshua and his followers rush upon the scene and declare the defeat of the Amalekites. Moses thanks God for their deliverance.
Scene 19
Moses erects an altar to commemorate Israel’s victory. All the children of Israel praise God and offer sacrifice in gratitude.

This reel is convincing, not only on account of the extreme care in the details involved and the clearness which the facts are portrayed, but it is a beautiful picture-play of an historical drama.
Part 5. The Promised Land.
The fifth and last reel deals with the incidents of the Ten Commandments given to Moses by the Lord on Mount Sinai: the Golden Calf; the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant; Moses taking leave of his people and the grand finale when he views the Promised Land which he is forbidden to enter from the heights of Mount Pisgah and then death.
Scene 1
The children of Israel encamp before Mt. Sinai and God calls to Moses from the Mount and tells him to remind the people of their wonderful deliverance from Egypt and His sheltering care over them in the wilderness and to command them to sanctify themselves unto Him, for He would come unto them the third day that they might behold His exceeding great glory. And the people do as they are instructed and prostrate themselves, and the priests blow their trumpets before the Mount, which is enveloped in thick clouds, and lightning is seen and thunder heard in evidence of the presence of God. Then the Lord calls unto Moses, bidding him come up into the Mount. Moses tells Aaron to keep watch over Israel lest they depart from God while he is absent from among them.
Scene 2
Moses ascends into the Mount, penetrating the thick clouds and lightning to talk with God and to receive the Ten Commandments.
Scene 3
During the absence of Moses forty days on the Mount, the children of Israel come to the conclusion that Moses has deserted them, and they become idolatrous, make a golden calf under the direction of Aaron, place it on a pedestal and worship it.
Scene 4
God commands Moses to hasten down from the Mount and turn aside the Israelites from their idolatry. Moses descends the mountain with the Ten Commandments and beholds the people worshiping the golden calf.
Scene 5
Moses, with the Ten Commandments, now descends Mount Sinai and comes upon the children of Israel worshiping the golden calf, and, in his anger and indignation, he smashes the tables of the Ten Commandments and calls down the judgment of God upon the people. They fall back in awe. Moses then prays to God to temper his judgment with mercy and save his people.
Scene 6
The Lord hears Moses’ prayer for Israel and commands him to again ascend Mount Sinai, and He will restore the tables of the Ten Commandments. Moses prepares two new tables of stone and ascends Mt. Sinai and God rewrites the Ten Commandments in the midst of a heavy cloud which veils His presence.
Scene 7
Moses, descending the mountain with the Commandments the second time, witnesses a different sight from that of his first descent. He finds the children of Israel reverently waiting to receive him and the words of God.
Scene 8
Acording to God’s instructions, Moses prepares to dedicate the tabernacle of Israel to the worship and glory of God. Moses and Aaron, the high priest, and the Levites enter and perform the ceremonies.
Scene 9
Moses, Aaron and the Levites enter the sacred precincts of the tabernacle and consecrate themselves by sacrifice and absolutions, as they have been commanded, to the service of God.
Scene 10
Just outside of the "Holy of Holies" or the inner chamber of the tabernacle, the "Golden Candlestick," "Altar of Incense" and the "Table of the Shew Bread" can be seen. Moses draws aside the curtain and reveals the "Ark of the Covenant," wherein is the scroll of the Jewish laws and whereon, between the wings of the golden angels, rests the glory of God Aaron enters the "Holy of Holies" and is now sanctified to the office of high priest.
Scene 11
Twelve spies are now chosen from among the tribes of Israel, Joshua and Caleb being two of the twelve. Moses directs them to explore the Land of Canaan that he may know what manner of place it is before conducting the people there. The spies depart on their mission.
Scene 12
Ten of the spies on top of a high mountain overlooking the Promised Land seem afraid to proceed further upon their investigation. They decide that their journey has been a useless task and appear discouraged.
Scene 13
Joshua and Caleb, more optimistic than the other ten spies, push forward and enter Canaan, where they discover the richness and abundance of the land. Luxuriant verdure, vegetation and great growth of fruit are seen everywhere. Rippling brooks and winding rivers of clear water meet their gaze. They secure specimens of the products of nature and return to the camp of the Israelites.
Scene 14
Joshua and Caleb return bearing evidences of their search and investigation, filled with enthusiasm and advising Moses to at once take possession of the Promised Land and its fullness. At this point the other ten spies enter. The leader gives a discouraging report, that the vegetation is poor and there is little to hope for in the Land of Canaan but disappointment and wars. Joshua and Caleb contradict them, but the ten prevail and denounce the spies of good report and drive them from the scene. Moses, in grief and doubt, appeals to God for help and guidance.
Scene 15
The children of Israel, fearing to enter the Promised Land, begin their forty years of wandering in the wilderness, which ends at the close of this scene, when Moses is called to the top of Mt. Nebo to commune with God and do as He had foretold him Before doing this, Moses recommends Joshua to his people as their leader, and then he starts up the Mount, while the people reverently kneel and bow their heads.
Scene 16
At the top of Mt. Nebo, below the river Jordan, fringing a beautiful landscape, Moses looks out upon the Promised Land in realization of the fulfillment of all God’s promises and mercies.
Scene 17
The Israelites, under the leadership of Joshua, are Dow moving on to Canaan, the Promised Land.
Scene 18
Moses, with his gaze fixed upon the Land of Canaan, is gathered unto his fathers, sustained in his last moments by the angels of God.
Scene 19
In the Vale of Moab, the place where Moses is supposed to be buried, stand the angels who carried Moses hence, for "no man knoweth his place of burial unto this day."

This is the end of "The Life of Moses" and the wanderings of the children of Israel in the Wildernes. A film of rare beauty, displaying the various branches of vitagraphic art and skill.
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Cast
William Humphrey -
Julia Arthur -
Pat Hartigan - Moses
Edith Storey -
Charles Kent -
Crew
Rollin S. Sturgeon - Writer
Madison C. Peters - Writer
J. Stuart Blackton - Director
Charles Kent - Director