SAMSON & DELILAH: 70th Anniversary Screening

Rating: G
Length: 131 mins
Cast: Hedy Lamarr, Victor Mature, George Sanders
Session Times (click preferred session time to book):
Sun 25th Aug:
Mon 26th Aug:
Thu 29th Aug:

DeMille cast HEDY LAMARR (who was of Jewish descent, as was DeMille himself on his mother’s side) as Delilah after screening the film THE STRANGE WOMAN. DeMille first wanted Lamarr to play Esther in a biblical film he was planning to make in 1939, but the film was never realized. However, he was content with Lamarr’s performance as Delilah, describing it as “more than skin-deep.” He also described her as “a gazelle–incapable of a clumsy or wrong move”, and she would flirtatiously refer to herself as “Delilah” and DeMille as her “Samson.”

BURT LANCASTER was the original choice to play Samson, but he declined due to a bad back. Body builder STEVE REEVES was also considered and DeMille lobbied long and hard to get the studio to pick up Reeves, but both DeMille and the studio wanted Reeves to tone down his physique, which Reeves, still young and new to the industry, ultimately refused to do. DeMille finally decided to cast VICTOR MATURE as Samson after admiring his performance in the film KISS OF DEATH.
The most spectacular special effect in the film is the toppling of the temple of Dagon, the god of the Philistines. It is the penultimate scene in the film, cost $150,000, and took a year to shoot. The bottom portion of the temple was constructed full-scale. A separate 37-foot high model with a 17-foot high Dagon statue was built for the photographic effects. The model was destroyed three times in order to shoot it through different camera angles. Footage of the full-scale set was merged with footage of the scale model using a “motion repeater system” fabricated by Paramount , which enabled the exact repetition of camera moves.

SAMSON AND DELILAH was enormously successful at the box office, making it the top money maker for 1950 even though it was released in December 1949. At the time of its release, it was the third highest-grossing film ever, behind GONE WITH THE WIND and THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES.

With the expected DeMille touches, this remains a tremendously entertaining film.

Official Trailer