Samson and Delilah (1949) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
66 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
9/10
Lamarr's beauty took audience's breath away...
Nazi_Fighter_David2 January 2000
Warning: Spoilers
Hedy Lamarr took the title role of Delilah and made it her own... She was full and sparkling as the Philistine temptress, the central figure of Samson's last love story, dark and troubled when she took advantage of Samson's confidence to betray him to his enemies, repent and full of love when she sees him blinded and disgraced... Her name has since become synonymous with a voluptuous treacherous woman...

Victor Mature was a mighty, troubled Samson, beset by conflicting emotions, totally dominated by a pagan woman... He teases with her, perhaps showing some smarts here for a change... He falls victim to his enemies through the love of Delilah, a sophisticated beauty with innate elegance, who beguiles him into revealing the secret of his strength... His performance was always up to the standard of Lamarr... Together, they acted with wonderful passion and were as convincing dramatically as long-suffering Hebrews as they were Philistines drunk with victory...

George Sanders, whose dignified presence was a perfect match for the Saran of Gaza, admires Samson for his strength, and envies him for the love of his people... He persuades Delilah to find out what is the source of Samson's strength so they can destroy him...

"Samson and Delilah' is a film of emotion, of love, and action... It is at once a wonderful, and rich historical look at an ancient era, an excuse for beautiful and passionate music, and a thrilling climax hardly rivaled in its size and lavishness... The film is wonderful to look at, and the music is terrific...

Look for Russ Tamblyn playing the little shepherd Saul...
47 out of 57 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Still worth looking at
hepsut215 March 2003
Yeah...so some people may think it's corny and outdated. However, there is something about this movie, in spite of some of the poorer technical gimmicks...yet I still love it. I think that Lamarr does a great job as Delilah and don't understand why some think otherwise.I think she is/was the perfect Delilah..and Mature did a great job as Samson. Sanders was really terrific in his role and Lansbury carried out her part very well also. Call it what you will..but I find it is still worth watching; the color, costumes, Samson knocking down the Temple.. (love that scene!Good special effects for the time.) Whatever it is..I find myself watching it every now and then and still enjoy it as much as when I first saw it..
49 out of 62 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
NOT Another run of DeMille Picture
bkoganbing11 August 2004
By the time the 1940s were rolling around, Cecil B. DeMille was doing a lot less work, but the work was getting more expensive. DeMille took off a couple of years now between films to create the opulent splendor that typifies his work.

Well Samson and Delilah abounds in opulence. The color cinematography is first rate and reason enough to see the film. Of course it has the usual stilted dialog that is common in DeMille's costume work. But one has to remember that DeMille made his show business bones with David Belasco in the Edwardian era. And that's how folks talked in those Belasco plays.

Acting honors in this go to George Sanders as the Saran of Gaza, Philistine ruler and sophisticated cad. This was the height of Sanders career, he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for All About Eve the same year. I think the Saran and Addison DeWitt would have understood each other very well.

Angela Lansbury is the original object of Samson's lust and she does okay, but personally if you had the choice between Jessica Fletcher and Tondelayo, who would you choose? Is that ever a no-brainer.

DeMille got a couple of loan-outs to play the leads. Hedy Lamarr could easily lay claim to be the most beautiful woman in the cinema. She never had much acting skill, but all she has to do is be seductive and that no one could do better.

And Victor Mature away from his home studio of 20th Century Fox where he was languishing, Samson and Delilah provided a whole new vista for him with roles in spectacle pictures where he could truly be that beautiful hunk of man.

Fay Holden is good as Samson's mother. In modern times I can just hear her telling him about settling down with a good Jewish girl.
52 out of 69 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Engrossing, vivid,absorbing and a tribute to the Old Testament
Charlie-12318 June 1999
In 1949, I was 11years old and saw it in NYC when it was first released. My aunt Ethel, may she rest in peace, took me during Christmas vacation. I was mesmerized by it which led me to check out the story in that Chapter of the O.T. called Judges. And I remember being asked by my 6th or 7th grade teacher to do an oral report about the film before the class. I found it a bit awkward to discuss the idea of seduction at that time especially when I heard the pubescent girls giggling. At any rate I did make that report and remember displaying the book I had bought about the film right at the theater. I estimate from age 11 to 14, I saw the film a dozen times and I'm not kidding. In my adulthood, I saw it once on free TV and rented it once for kicks. Quite honestly, I never saw a more beautiful woman than Hedy in that role. And Victor was perfect thanks to his countenance and physique. After seeing it first and then reading the story in the O.T. I came to the conclusion that the film certainly was factual and illuminating. The bible came alive thanks to the genius of Cecil B.DeMille. The special effects were brilliant, way ahead of its time. What I especially loved about this film was the haunting score by Victor Young and I do remember going out to buy it on 78 rpm disks. And I do have the radio program on cassette, "Lux Presents Hollywood-Samson and Delilah starring Mature and Lamarr. That last scene will always stick in my mind as Samson, standing blind between the two main pillars of the Temple of Dagon, the Phillistine God,called on Jehovah to give him the strength to crush his enemies and WHAT A SCENE FOLLOWED. Good heavens, DeMille was indeed a GENIUS! I recommend the film to EVERYONE because of the amazing story, color
41 out of 55 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Hedy Lamarr as Delilah, makes this a truly memorable film.
wndlz26 December 2001
Hedy Lamarr was the most beautiful woman in films. Her ability as an actress was limited, but as a femme fatale, capable of bringing down a mighty warrior, she certainly was convincing to me. The fact that Samson fell for Angela Langsbury, in the first place, was laughable. Victor Mature was a good choice, for the part of Samson. George Sanders gave the best performance; he simply had no peer, when it came to playing sophisticated, world-weary, men of wisdom. Compare this role to his part in Rebecca, All About Eve, and you'll see what I mean. Again, just watching Hedy Lamarr, is like watching a beautiful work of art. Entertaining, old fashion Hollywood stuff. They don't make them like this anymore, and there certainly is no contemporary beauty that comes close to Hedy Lamarr.
33 out of 46 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
This Movie Is About Star POWER!
wndlz17 November 2005
I've seen this movie many times. It is not extraordinary in any technical manner; the magic it weaves, is about the the stars, Hedy Lamarr and Victor Mature. Hedy Lamarr absolutely was a fantastic choice for this role. Imagine Betty Hutton playing Delilah; yes folks, it almost happened, and I am sure the movie would turned out to be absolutely ridiculous. Paramount did not spend big bucks for this movie, this is quite obvious; but with Lamarr as Delilah and Mature's Samson, this became a major example star-power. George Sanders won the acting laurels here. He was the quintessential powerful man; who understood that he could never completely dominate Delilah. Angela Lansbury was O.K., in a minor role. Edith Head effectively designed the costumes for Hedy; sexy, but not overwhelming (think Irene Shariff's over the top designs for Liz Taylor in Cleopatra). Hedy was sultry, sexy in a subtle and an utterly believable way; Mature was strong, the epitome of masculine strength, and totally confident that he could control and have his way with any woman. If Paramount and DeMille had agreed to add at least $1-2,000,000 to the budget; I think the film would have even been a bigger blockbuster than it was. Folks, this films was among the top five moneymakers, after its first release. Only Gone With The Wind, The Best Years of Our Lives, Duel In The Sun, and maybe Snow White. As of 1/51, S&D was in the top money-makers of all time. Pretty good for a half-bakrd effort and investment from Paramount and DeMille. Lamarr+Mature = 9/10, in my book.
21 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
One of the better biblical epics....
tambourine3310 November 2005
I've always loved this film. Granted, somehow it does not generate the 'huge epic' feel of some of the director's other work but it is a great film to sit down and relax in front of. Opulent costume design, good casting and excellent cinematography make this one of the better biblical epics that were being produced at the time.

Victor Mature, a fine physical specimen of the male physique, seems to fit perfectly into the role of the brooding and oft-troubled Samson. Burt Lancaster, I'm told, was the original choice for the part which I think would have been a bad choice. Although Lancaster is a better actor, on purely aesthetic grounds, the Mediterranean featured, tousle-locked Mature fitted better into the location.

George Sanders is superb as the Saran of Gaza. One of the other reviewers on this website said he portrayed a "sophisticated cad" which is the best description I have ever heard of Mr Sanders in this role or any other for that matter.

The absolute star of the show is the movie's other lead actor, Hedy Lamarr. This was undoubtedly the finest hour of an actress who either, curiously passed up or was just overlooked for many other leading parts. Hedy sets the screen on fire as the sensual and wicked Delilah, playing with and dragging every man on screen and in the audience in her wake. Many have questioned her acting ability. Truth is I doubt we shall ever really find out. Poor choice of scripts and directors resulted in her being pushed to the sidelines at MGM and eventually and sadly into complete obscurity.
16 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Lamarr = Beauty
nunval4 April 2001
This film is a must for everyone who loves Technicolor, great actors and great movies. Mature is a wonderful Samson but Hedy Lamarr is the definitive incarnation of beauty. She is also a very good actress and directed by De Mille gets her screen triumph. Watch this over and over again and you'll not be tired.
32 out of 48 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
"What invisable power strikes through his arm?"
Steffi_P29 June 2009
Cecil B. DeMille is best remembered for his biblical epics, even though in a forty-year, eighty-film career he only made four of them. It wasn't just that the bible pictures gave him some of his biggest hits; it was in these features that DeMille seemed most at home, and the one genre in which he had unique ability.

Samson and Delilah brought an end to a long phase of epic-cum-adventure movies from DeMille. This period, beginning with The Plainsman in 1936, had some of the weakest pictures of his career for a number of reasons. For one thing, DeMille was not really very good at individualistic action scenes, and there was too much DeMillean historical grandeur and not enough of the free-spirited feel of the Errol Flynn or Tyrone power swashbucklers he was to some extent an trying to copy. What's more, these were mostly original stories or, at least, ones which were not well known, and DeMille's poor choice of source material and screenwriters meant the new characters and situations tended towards the feeble. DeMille's strength lay in his staging and presentation of a familiar tale, and as such his return to Sunday-school moralising, stuffy and pompous though it may be, is apt and welcome.

You see, DeMille was probably aware on some level that although these fables were well-known in a largely Christian society, to a modern audience they were also historically distant, emotionally neutral and even ridiculous when presented literally. But DeMille never attempted any humanity or realism in his features, instead turning the remote, mythical nature of the stories into a virtue, portraying his subject matter with a kind of dignity and grace. Of course most ancient world epics do this to some extent, but DeMille did it the most effectively because he never demanded that the audience sympathise with the characters, merely that we marvel at their deeds.

Specifically, DeMille composes the picture with overstated gesturing and painterly tableau, like a Gustave Dore print come to life. This is combined with the vivid colours of a bible stories illustration, coded with drab shades for humbleness and virtue, garish ones for extravagance and sin. Throughout, DeMille's flair for dreamlike, rhythmic motion keeps the images flowing, most notably in the establishing tracking shot at the wedding feast - although if you watch closely you'll see one of the two men engaged in a mock swordfight is actually camply slapping his opponent with a feather duster.

And DeMille was perhaps unique in that he even used the imagery to turn God into a character. You can see from one of his much earlier religious pictures, 1929's The Godless Girl, that DeMille associated God with natural beauty, and in Samson and Delilah God makes several key "appearances" as a breathtaking skyscape. This touch would be expanded upon in the 1956 version of Ten Commandments.

It's a pity DeMille didn't associate God with good acting, because even the theatrical presentation on offer here could do with at least some half-decent hamming. The trouble is DeMille chose his actors for their physicality, not for their ability to qualify their job description. In this respect Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr are natural choices. DeMille's business associate Henry Wilcoxon, whom the director unbelievably used to cast in lead roles, is as wooden as ever, and the somewhat hit-and-miss Angela Lansbury, misses this time. The only standout is George Sanders who proves, just as Herbert Marshall did in DeMille's Four Frightened People, that bad dialogue becomes bearable if you underplay it.

Fortunately when it came to crew DeMille always procured the best. Samson and Delilah boasts Oscar-winning costumes and art direction from no less personages than Edith Head and Hans Dreier respectively. The Technicolor cinematography is great, with some remarkably clear night time shots. Some of the effects may be a little dubious; whenever Victor Mature lifts up something heavy it's obvious it's being hoisted from offscreen, and that woolly-rug/lion tamer scene is actually betrayed by bad editing, but overall this is a solid, high-quality production.

Yes, Samson and Delilah is as corny as anything, but it looks great, and above all it entertains. Don't be too harsh on DeMille's staginess or his archaic moralism, for as his willing appearance as himself in Sunset Boulevard proves, he probably didn't have a sense of irony. And his earnestness was probably his greatest asset.
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Pretty Impressive
skallisjr20 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is one to see on a large screen. I first saw it when it came out in a theater,and the climactic scene was extremely impressive to a youngish teenager.

There was a lot of coverage of the film at the time, and Life magazine had a feature on it, including a pictorial of Mr. Demille showing Victor Mature the proper technique to use a jawbone as a weapon.

Possible spoilers follow.

In Demille's autobiography, he indicated how he used a sketch of a muscular hunk and a gorgeous woman to sell his underwriters on financing a Biblical film. He also related how he had his research staff scour historical documents to find a temple design that would collapse if its two main pillars were dislodged. The result is what's seen on the screen, though the collapse was aided by a few concealed charges.

Hedy Lamarr made an excellent Delilah, with the best of motivations for betraying Samson: she was spurned. This was set up before the wedding feast, where she enjoyed being with Samson, even though he wasn't paying attention. (I can't think of many functional and heterosexual males who would be that obtuse.) Although Victor Mature wasn't as beefy as later male stars like Steve Reeves or Arnold Schwarzennegger, this was okay because his strength was miraculous.

Naturally, the finale was spectacular, and that is what people went to theaters to see in a Demille film.
14 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
" For All Your Strength Samson, You're a Fool. You Trusted Delilah "
thinker169110 July 2009
Of all the movies one should have in one's library of Classics, this is one of them. The story is taken directly out of the pages of the Bible and deals with the legendary strong man who was also a Judge of his people. When taken to the big screen, one has to marvel at the beautiful color, historical setting and technical expertise of the time period. The lead of course is played by tall, handsome Victor Mature. His presence adds realism is an honorary tribute to the ancient Danite and makes for a convincing character. The ruler of the Philistines is played by George Sanders who is incredible in his 'King of the Five cities' role. Samson's principle adversary is Henry Wilcoxon, playing the Lord Ahtur, who was originally cast in the title role. The director thought him too old and passed on a great opportunity as I believe Wilcox would have been terrific as Samson. Hedy Lamarr plays the seductive temptress and conniving Courteson, Delilah, while Angela Lansbury plays Semadar, Samson's love interest. Although Cecil B. Demille takes much literary license with the storybook Samson, it's still interesting to watch and with its memorable theme music, hauntingly inspirational. The overall result is a true Classic which no one should miss if given a chance to watch. Despite it's shortcomings, it remains as impressive today as it was in the 1950's. Highly recommended. ****
10 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
The man has the strength of a Devil! No he has the strength of a God!
sol-kay24 February 2008
Biblical epic that became the biggest hit, up until then, in Paramount Pictures history. The story about the Hebrew Hercules Samson, Victor Mature, who redeemed himself from a life of foolhardiness and slavery by taking down the Temple of Dagon, the Philistine Idol God. Samson not only destroyed Dagon's temple he took the lives, together with his own, of 3,000 of his bitter enemies and tormentors in the movies', Samson and Delilah, spectacular and ground shaking final scene.

Never living up to what God wanted from him, to lead his people the ancient Israelites against the hated and occupying Philistines, Samson instead lead a life of womanizing and partying mostly with the Philistines who more then anything else wanted him dead. Because of his super-human strength Samson felt safe from anything that the Philistines could do to him, killing hundreds who tried, in capturing or killing the biblical strongman.

It's when the Philistine temptress the drop-dead gorgeous Delilah, Hedy Lamarr, got to work on the big guy that he left himself open to be captured, by the Philistine army, in revealing the source of his strength; His black curly locks of hair on his head. Blinded, with a red hot iron put to his eyes, Samson was then forced to pull the grind-mill and made to look helpless as he was brutally mocked and tortured by his Philistine captors.

As the days weeks and months went by and his hair, the source of his great strength, grew back Samson with Delilah's, who had since repented what she did to him, help then planned to finish the job that he never really started; annihilate his and his peoples enslavers the hated Philistines. Samson did it by, with Delilah's leading him to them, tearing down the pillars that held up Dagan's temple and thus bringing the entire house down.

The film "Samson and Delilah" still holds up quite well despite it's bargain basement, compared to those now, special effects. Victor Mature as Samson was at his best being able to show off his hunky body without having to wear a suit and tie, as well as pants, like in his previous blockbusters "Kiss of Death" and My Darling Clementine". Heady Lamarr in her first Technicolor movie showed why she was considered to be, just get a load of her violet/lavender eyes, the most beautiful women in the world at that, back in 1950, time.

The movies director Cecil B. DeMille really had very little to go on in making the biblical blockbuster in that it was based on only four chapters, the 13 to 16, of the Book of Judges. It was an obscure 1930 German language novel "the Judge and the Fool" by Vladimir Jabotinsky that filled in all the gaps and made a full length two hour plus film about the subject, Samson & Delilah, possible.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Ahh! The beauty of Mature & Lamar!
dtrent-223 November 2000
She sure WAS a wildcat in this film! Beauty beyond compare! And Mature's 'Samson' was a sure delight (even though he was told to drop 30 lbs. for the role before filming). Biblical stories are always interesting & enjoyable if filmed in this colorful way, as was The 10 Commandments. We don't need that brown, boring type of color for 'realism'. We want beautiful color to show off those gorgeous costumes & scenery! (When it's not fake back-drops!) Anyway, see this film! It's worth whatever the video costs! Or catch it on TV!
20 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Biblical story when Israelites being enslaved by the Philistines, then Samson seeks justice and vengeance
ma-cortes19 July 2015
Spectacular hokey Bible epic produced and directed by the great Cecil B Mille concerning about Samson (Victor Mature won the role over Burt Lancaster) and Delilah (Hedy Lamarr , among most serious candidates for the role were Jean Simmons , Lana Turner and Rita Hayworth) who plans to seduce him into revealing his secret and then to betray him to the Philistine leader, the Saran (George Sanders) , as she robs Samson his incredible strength . The story of Samson from chapters 13-16 of The Book of Judges , but being based on a novel titled "Judge and Fool, aka Samson the Nazarite, Samson & Prelude to Delilah" . As it is the pattern throughout the book of Judges , the Israelites again turned away from God after 40 years of peace brought by Deborah's victory over Canaan and were allowed to be oppressed by the neighboring Midianites , Amalekites and Philistines . According to the biblical account , Samson was given supernatural strength by God in order to combat his enemies Philistines ,and perform heroic feats such as killing a lion , slaying an entire army with only the jawbone of an ass, and destroying a pagan temple . Samson had two vulnerabilities, however : his attraction to untrustworthy women such as Delilah and his hair, without which he was powerless . These vulnerabilities ultimately proved fatal for him. One day the Philistine leaders assembled in a temple for a religious sacrifice to Dagon, one of their most important deities, for having delivered Samson into their hands. They summon Samson so that people can gather on the roof to watch. Once inside the temple, Samson, his hair having grown long again, asks the servant who is leading him to the temple's central pillars if he may lean against them . He pulled the two pillars together , and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people . Thus he killed many more as he died than while he lived .

¨Samson and Dalilah¨ remains an enjoyable and entertaining picture with great camp performances that still looks fine today . This dumb but fun film contains breathtaking outdoors and indoors , a lot of extras and with glorious paper-Maché sets on the temple of Dagon ; in fact , it was far and away the top-grossing film of 1949 . Victor Mature is surprisingly nice as Samson along with a young Angela Lansbury as Semadar and a cynical Saran of Gaza well incarnated by George Sanders . Victor Mature as Sansone or Samson is acceptable though his famous fight against a philistine army is hopelessly phony . For the scene in which Samson kills the lion , Victor Mature refused to wrestle a tame movie lion . The scene shows a stunt man wrestling the tame lion, intercut with closeups of Mature wrestling a lion skin . Hedy Lamarr supplies biggest surprise by playing a tempter and beautiful vixen Delilah . Being a lavish production here appears several actors usual from Hollywoood pictures such as Cecil B DeMille's long-time associated Henry Wilcoxon , Julia Faye , Fay Holden , Moroni Olsen , Mike Mazurski , George Reeves and a sympathetic boy , Russ Tamblyn , as Saul . Spectacular and climactic sequences in the Temple of Dagon , it took two tries to bring it down . During the first time, some of the dynamite charges in the miniature temple failed to go off on schedule , as the temple had to be rebuilt, and the second attempt was more successful. Colorful and luxurious cinematography by usual Hollywood director of photography George Barnes . Victor Young's lush background music, nominated for an Academy Award in the competition for 1950, would become his penultimate best-score recognition .

The motion picture was realized in Cecil B DeMille's ordinary style ; with a $28 million gross domestically , the film was Paramount's biggest hit since DeMille's silent version of Ten commandments (1923). Cecil produced and directed 70 films and was involved in many more . Many of his films were romantic sexual comedies , as he is supposed to have believed that Americans were curious only about money and sex . His best-known were biblical epics that further established him as the symbol of Hollywood such as King of Kings (1927), The ten Commandments (1923) , The Crusades (1935) and , of course , Charlton Heston's Ten commandments (1956).

Other films about this Biblic figure are the followings : ¨Gedeon and Samson¨ (1965) by Francisco Perez Dolz with Anton Geesink and Rosalba Neri ; Samson and Delilah (1984) by Lee Philips with Anthony Hamilton , Belinda Bauer , Max Von Sidow ; Samson and Delilah (1996) by Nicolas Roeg with Eric Thal , Elizabeth Hurley , Dennis Hooper ; Samson et Dalila (2002) with Plácido Domingo and Olga Borodina .
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Why isn't this on DVD?
sammydees22 August 2005
Anyone know why this isn't available on a LEGAL USA "DVD"? All I've found is bootlegs and imports. Surely if Paramount can release "The Ten Commandments" and other DeMille pictures, then why not this wonderful piece of entertainment???

If it is a question of restoration, that is fine, but in this era of every type of film being on DVD, I don't understand why this movie is not among them.

I have the Paramount laserdisc version, but of course, it doesn't compare to a DVD of the same film.

Come on, Paramount, get it out!
19 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Not bad, beautiful Hedy Lamarr and the final scene steal the film
TheLittleSongbird13 April 2010
While having some very major flaws, this is a thoroughly decent biblical epic on the story of Samson and Delilah. It is nicely filmed, with lovely costumes, nice sets and good cinematography and has a rousing score. Also the acing is not bad at all, Victor Mature is a dashing Samson and Hedy Lamarr pretty much steals the film as the beautifully captivating Delilah, it somehow reminded me of Rita Hayworth in Salome. George Sanders proves here he is the epitome of calculation and world-weariness, and while Angela Lansbury is good she has been better. Plus the final scene with the temple coming down is brilliantly staged and serves as the highlight of the film. However, the script is not always that great, neither is the pacing which is quite slow or the direction which is disappointingly stodgy. Overall though, Samson and Delilah isn't bad, it could've been better, but it was decent. 7/10 Bethany Cox
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Very entertaining
hotangen12 January 2013
This is the film DeMille was making when Norma Desmond visited the Paramount sound stage in 'Sunset Blvd'. That little reference was enough to lure me into watching Samson and Delilah.

I've always thought Lamarr was the most beautiful woman in films, (though she looked pretty ordinary in 'Ecstasy', before MGM got its hands on her), but she was wooden, with an annoying accent, which somewhat cancelled out the magnetism of her beauty. But in this film she's animated and alluring and believable as Delilah, the wicked seductress, who late in the film finds her heartless self in love. In love with Victor, who is perfectly cast as the barrel-chested strongman, Samson. Technicolor biblical extravaganzas do not require the acting skills of Mr and Mrs Olivier, and both leads were up to the task of delivering their lines and hitting their marks with precision. Hedy was 35 during production and physically in her prime, wearing gorgeous figure revealing costumes that not one woman in a thousand could wear, and that includes Lana Turner, even more scantily clad in that colossal biblical bore, The Prodigal.

The Victor and the Lion scene looked like the real thing to me. I kept a close eye on that lion and not once did it look like a stuffed rug. My compliments to the stuntman and the well-trained Oscar-worthy lion.

As for the "ridiculous" dialogue, I heard none. DeMille's narrative at the film's beginning states the theme - man's yearning for freedom - something the 1949 audience, 4 years after the end of WW2, responded to. Also, the spiritual message came through without bombast, and when Victor talked to or about his God, he was believable and moving. And I was mesmerized by the seduction scene in the desert tent - walls of colored silks, satins, ala Valentino - and the to/fro conversation as they moved about the tent. Yes, Delilah lured her man with words. I've always wondered about the biblical account where Delilah tried and failed multiple times to get Samson to reveal the secret of his strength. Didn't he know what she was up to? How could he be so dumb? Well, this scene, expertly written, shows us how she did it, and No, it wasn't because Samson was a knucklehead.

The temple destruction scene is powerful because of DeMille's skill in conception and editing, allowing the scene to build slowly, as ever so gradually cracks appear in the columns. What a triumphant, emotionally satisfying ending.

George Sanders, always a treat to watch, is given witty, pithy dialogue by the script writers which, combined with his customary subtlety, showed that he understood Delilah's character. He's an older, wiser man waiting patiently for his Scarlett to grow up and know herself. The writers give Lamarr, too, ample opportunities to show the twists and turns in her character development. All in all, this is a terrific popcorn movie for a rainy Sunday afternoon.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Samson brings down the house!
jamdonahoo22 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I am a huge fan of Hollywood biblical epics. They never fail to bring a smile to my face. This is one of the best of that genre. Ridiculous, preposterous, absurd and highly entertaining. Victor Mature was the perfect Samson, big, strong, brave, and incredibly dumb. When Victor wanted to join an exclusive club in Hollywood he was told by a friend that the club did not admit actors. Mature replied, "I'm no actor and I have fifty films to prove it". The cast is rounded out by a young and fetching Angela Lansbury, an unctuous villain , George Sanders, and a rather motheaten lion. Hedy Lamarr, Delilah, is at her most seductive. She can shave my head anytime she wants to.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
The Hulk of that era
mikenaughton194920 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I have read several reviews here about this C.B. DeMille picture and I concur with many of the assertions. George Saunders was excellent in his portrayal. Interesting that he tended to slump a bit; I noticed this because his physical presence seemed to be potentially equal to Victor Mature's. I enjoyed Victor Mature in this role although his character really did not seem to be that interested in the beauty of Delilah. I think the camera and the audience did notice Hedy Lamar. The rhythm and cadence of her speech seemed to have been dictated noticeably by her Austrian origins. I always found her to be part of each scene; I believed her character. I think if Hedy had been 10 years younger and brought to Hollywood in the silent era she would have been a major star. She knew how to move, and how to hold a position. Her image was sexual. Just watch her in each scene. She is very beautiful. And she is direct. Angela Lansbury looks quite amazing as well. And Angela shows what a fine actress she is and will be for many years. But Hedy is where is the camera is happiest looking.

As I watched this film I thought of how slow the development of man's potential was moving. At the start of the film we hear about the struggle of the Jewish people. And I thought of how life looked the same in 1500 B.C. (10 commandments era) and 1000 B.C.(the time of this film) and even 1000 A.D. (!) No new ideas had helped the ascent of man begin to find its ever-present potential. Without going into all the various ologies, itys and isms I would just say that Samson was his era's version of the Hulk. Stories to be told around campfires to encourage, entertain and inspire.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Old fashion Biblical drama
SnoopyStyle3 June 2014
It's 1000BC. Samson (Victor Mature) is a Danite Hebrew in the village of Zorah under the domineering rule of the Philistines. Samson is in love with Semadar (Angela Lansbury) from a wealthy Philistine family. Her younger sister Delilah (Hedy Lamarr) is infatuated with the brute. He kills a lion with his bare hands while with Delilah but Lord Saran (George Sanders) doesn't believe them. He is awarded a hunter's prize after beating Garmiskar in wrestling, but he takes Semadar's hand in marriage instead. Semadar was originally promised to Ahtur (Henry Wilcoxon) and he's not happy. Ahtur brings his 30 warriors to the wedding. Samson has a riddle and makes a bet for 30 cloaks with Ahtur. The jealous Delilah pushes Ahtur, and he frightens Semadar into betraying Samson. Samson robs passing Philistines to pay the debt, but Delilah's scheming isn't finished. She convinces her father to marry Semadar off to Ahtur while trying to get Samson for herself. It all crumbles as Samson battles Ahtur and his 30 men. Samson escapes but Semadar is killed. He burns everything down and Delilah vows vengeance against Samson.

The Technicolor looks brilliant. There is a nice stunt wrestling a real lion early on. Of course, Victor Mature is wrestling a stuffed lion. He is a big guy and he plays Samson as a self assured brute. The acting is not subtle. Hedy Lamarr is playing the vixen for all her worth. Her acting is extremely broad. This is a grand epic from Cecil B. DeMille. It's all very old fashion in everything from tone to style to acting. I doubt that I should count that against it. It is simply an epic of a compelling biblical story.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Samson & Delilah-Anyone See Similarities Between this & 10 Commandments? ***
edwagreen12 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Cecil B. DeMille had the tendency to use many of his actors over and over again. For example, Olive Deering played on his Lux Radio show. In the opening scene of the film, we see the old man who took a knife to his stomach in the mud pits of "The Ten Commandments," as well as Deering playing another character known as Miriam. Henry Wilcoxon, who was with DeMille from the silent era, was also in both pictures, both he and Ms. Deering had better parts in this film as compared to 'Commandments,' though the Sam & Delilah was not nearly as good as the latter.

Hedi LaMarr was wonderful as the temptress Delilah. Did anyone see that Ms. LaMarr was similar looking to Susan Hayward? There are some scenes there where I thought Hayward was acting.

This biblical drama brings back the idea of hell hath no fury as a woman scorned. Let's not kid ourselves, Mature, as Samson, had to be quite gullible to be taken in by Delilah. It is only after tragedy befalls him that she becomes the sympathetic character when it's obviously too late.

Victor Mature was a perfect Samson with his strength really showing. George Sanders is in rare form as the evil king. I question the casting of Angela Lansbury as Delilah's doomed sister. Lansbury would really prove herself as a quality actress years later, but lacks being provocative here. Also, she wasn't exactly a raving beauty. She does have the bitter quality that would serve her far better in her future work.

Remember the fragrance of myrrh? It's mentioned in both films-10 Commandments and this one. Apparently, DeMille did his homework.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Hedy, Hedy, Hedy!
swillsqueal13 March 2007
Cecil B. DeMille started setting BIBLE stories to film after WWII and this is one of the most intriguing tales from that set of cinematic productions. But, unless you're a kid or with kids or can get yourself into a kid-like mindset (the special effects are great) Hedy Lamarr is the reason to see this film. She was probably the most beautiful Delilah in Hollywood at the time. But, because of the sexist patriarchy which ruled (rules?) Hollywood, her very great intelligence was completely overlooked. Hedy was a math and science genius. She's credited with inventing a torpedo guidance system for the Allies in the early days of WWII, the fundamental scientific merits of which are still being mined today. Do a Google search on her and find out for yourself. In a way like Marilyn Monroe, Hedy was underrated by the philistines who surrounded her, but at least we can still look at her sensual beauty and dream of what could have been.
7 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Just Plain Good
salar_fatty_food2 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this film a few weeks ago, and i fell in love, the acting, the story and the compassion between the two main characters is breathtaking. The only problem i have with the film is Victor Mature, he's not bad as Sampson but, I don't think the great Sampson had eyebrows that high. If Delilah was not in the film i would have immediately left the room, she stole my heart with her "b*****ness" and a tear of joy came down my face when she cut of Sampson's hair and unsaved him. Hedy Lemarr stole the movie. If you love Cecil B. De Mille films go see the movie.If your someone who gets snippy when there's a historical inaccuracy's don't go see it, there that all I have to say.

The movie is good, a little long but, good go see it!!
7 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An epic review with a cast of thousands.
sadie_thompson17 November 2003
First off, Victor Mature plays Samson, just so no one's confused. He and Hedy both have chests and black hair, so I thought I'd clear everything up right off.

This is the story of Samson, a brawny but honorable guy, and the woman he loves. He loves two in the course of the film. The first is Angela Lansbury, who had a very bizarre name that escapes me. Ms. Lansbury, a marvelous actress, is my first bone to pick with Cecil B. DeMille. Who in heck would believe that Angela Lansbury and Hedy Lamarr are related?!? Even more incredulous--Angela Lansbury as Hedy's OLDER SISTER?!? You have to be a movie fan to know that Hedy was several years older than Jessica Fletcher-to-be Angela, but any moron can tell they're from two different countries. Angela's plummy English tones versus Hedy's Germanic mutterings makes for a weird family. Anyway, that's nitpicking.

Early in the film, Samson goes over to see sweetheart What's Her Name, only to have her sister Delilah bounce rocks off his ample chest. She looks like someone who isn't to be trusted, but nevertheless he's consumed by love's fire. (Isn't that soooooo dramatic.) He decides to go fight a lion barehanded, so he can win What's Her Name. The things you had to do back then to get a date. When she is amazed by his lion taming, she decides that she will indeed marry him. Delilah is enraged, but decides to wait for her chance for revenge. It comes at the wedding, where a silly chain of events leaves Samson alone again and Delilah homeless. (One of my favorite moments is in this scene, as Delilah's dad keeps begging people to take her instead of her sister. No one wants her!)

Fast forward an undetermined amount of time to reveal a plot against Samson. He's a huge pain in the neck to the bad guys, and they just can't figure out how he got to be so darned big. (We know it's God's doing, but the bad guys don't believe in God. DeMille hadn't made the more famous "Ten Commandments" yet, so we can understand their ignorance.) Delilah demands an unheard amount of money from several rich merchants, saying that she can find the secret of Samsons's strength. He tricks her a couple of times, but finally she guilts him into telling the truth. When she ruins him, he spends his time wishing he could break her scrawny neck. Frankly, I can sympathize with him. She does have a scrawny neck.

The finale comes when Delilah repents (she asks God to forgive her, indicating that she now believes in him and is truly sorry she annihilated another human being) and aids Samson in his extermination of all the mean people. The temple scene (before it falls down) seems really cruel, with everyone terrorizing Samson and him completely unable to stop them. Good wins out in the end, though, and everyone remembers Samson as a true hero. They don't remember Delilah in a nice way, because she neglected to tell anyone she repented. Thanks to that, she gets a bum rap to this day.

Favorite part--the "jaw bone of an ass" scene, where everyone tries to see how many times they can say "ass" and get away with it.
10 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
What a delightfully bombastic cliché!
jmbelf7 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Sitting at home in the aftermath of the East Coast blizzard of 2010, I flicked on TCM just in time to catch Victor Mature wearing Hedy Lamarr like a cheap suit (or was it the other way around?). I was about to pass on it as stereotypical Mature Bible fare when I remembered just how hot Hedy was. Next thing you know they're tearing around the desert in his horsedrawn ragtop.

Fortunately, this was just before the great bareknuckled fight with the lion (even Leonard Maltin concedes it was "great" although "hopelessly phony"), and who can look away from that? Then I was hooked as I realized what terrific fodder this would have been for Mystery Science Theater 3000. Hunting party pulls up just after Samson does in Big Kitty: "Anyone seen our pet lion? Reward for the Prince's lost pet lion . . . HEYYYYYY!" Or that great headwear: "So you're Samson." "Nice hat, Ahtur. How much beer does it hold?"

What made me totally lose it, though, was the riddle bet. First off: Who cares if Hedy or Angela looks older, WHO CAN BELIEVE VICTOR KICKED HEDY TO THE CURB FOR ANGELA??? Movie sorta loses credibility right there. Then he bets 30 wedding guests they can't solve his riddle, the stake being fancy new cloaks. He wins, what's he going to do with 30 coats, open a menswear store? And if they win, how's he gonna pay up? I was wondering about that (in addition to marveling at the unspeakably poor sportsmanship of the Philistine guests -- "If he wins, kill him!") when Angela cheats and gives away the answer to the riddle. After telling her to go sleep in the gutter, a surly Victor stomps out the door, promising the guests their winnings, and that's the absolute best part: HE GOES AND MUGS 30 PASSERSBY FOR THEIR CLOAKS!!!" I laughed till the tears ran down my cheeks! What, did he have them drycleaned, or just hand them over with smelly pits?!

This is a gem. Think it belongs up there with John Wayne in "The Conqueror."
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed