THE MOON OF ISRAEL (1924)
aka Die Sklavenkonigin
Article 5362 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Featuring Maria Corda, Adelqui Migliar, Arlette Marchal
Country: Austria / UK
What it is: Biblical epic
During the time of Moses, the son of the Egyptian pharaoh falls in love with a Hebrew slave girl. Complications arise.
The most recent Michael Curtiz movie before this one that I’d seen is NOAH’S ARK from 1928, and from these two movies, I get the sense that he had a penchant during the twenties of adapting Biblical stories with appended elaborate subplots and climaxes that involved lots of extras getting wet. The title refers to the title of the Hebrew slave girl, and most of the movie is concerned with the meeting between her and the pharaoh’s son, and their subsequent romance. There’s a fair amount of spectacle here; outside of the parting of the Red Sea sequence (which is very well done), there’s a scene where the Hebrew slave girl calls on Jehovah to match the power of the Egyptian gods. There are also plenty of impressive crowd scenes. It’s a decent movie, though it’s perhaps very slow to get going; it’s nearly three-quarters over before Moses really swings into action. However, one circumstance added a rather comic touch to my viewing of the movie. My print has title cards in French, but a quick check of my subtitle options indicated that an English translation existed on the print. The latter helped a lot, but it became obvious early on whoever did the translation was not an accomplished linguist; many of the translations felt like they were done on a “word by word” basis by someone who had no idea of how English sentences are structured, and many of the subtitles were comically incoherent.