‘Samson and Delilah'
The long-awaited DVD release of “Samson and Delilah” cloaks Cecil B. DeMille's gloriously gaudy biblical saga in a high-tech restoration every bit as gorgeous as the film's Oscar-honored costumes.
From the overture spotlighting Victor Young's bravado score and DeMille's sonorous opening voice-over about “human dignity perishing on the altar of idolatry,” it's immediately apparent that “Samson and Delilah” is another of the pioneering filmmaker's lavish epics.
The tumultuous romantic drama is loosely based on Judges 13-16 and stars beefy Victor Mature as Samson, a Jew of the tribe of Dan who has turned away from his pious upbringing and taken to carousing with the Philistines, the pagan conquerors who have enslaved the Israelites. His mother (Fay Holden) urges him to wed nice Jewish girl Miriam (Olive Deering), but Samson only has eyes for golden-haired Philistine warrior-maiden Semadar (Angela Lansbury).
Semadar's younger sister Delilah (the sexy Hedy Lamarr) is secretly in love with Samson and offers to aid him in the big lion hunt. When the strongman slays the beast with his bare hands, the ruling Saran of Gaza (George Sanders), lets Samson name his prize, and he chooses Semadar, infuriating Delilah. The cunning temptress' revenge schemes lead to the death of her sister, the impoverishing taxation of the Jews and Samson's capture and subsequent defeat of 1,000 Philistine soldiers. Finally, Delilah seduces Samson into revealing the secret to his God-given super-strength — his long hair — and ultimately dooms them both in the destruction of the pagan temple of Dagon.
“Samson and Delilah” won two Oscars, for best art direction and for best costumes for Hollywood legend Edith Head's sumptuous and revealing get-ups.
— Brandy McDonnell