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The Life of Moses (1909)

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 ... See full synopsis »


J. Stuart Blackton


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Credited cast:
Pat Hartigan Pat Hartigan ... Moses (as Patrick C. Hartigan)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Julia Arthur
William Humphrey
Charles Kent
Edith Storey


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. The parchment is prepared and is read in Pharaohs court in the presence of Pharaohs 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. The Egyptians ruthlessly proceed to carry out the decree and seize the male children from the arms of the Hebrew mothers. Here we are shown the interior of a Hebrew dwelling. The child Moses is ...

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Release Date:

4 December 1909 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Plagues of Egypt See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


A print of the film was restored (circa 2006) by the Museum of Modern Art and exhibited there (New York City, NY, USA) on Nov. 9th & 12th, 2006. See more »


Version of Moses and Aaron (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

First American Feature?
9 November 2006 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Or first American serial? It was released as five short subjects in successive weeks because it was believed that the American film-goer would not sit still for a fifty-minute movie. In that sense it is an interesting curiosity.

How is it as a movie or series of movies? For 1909, very good indeed. The acting is a bit overwrought, and I have some issues with the costuming, since all the Egyptians wear beards like Hittites However the the story of the life of Moses is a good story and the script and actor do a good job at showing the character of Moses: his flash temper as a young man that he never completely mastered. Patrick Hartigan is also good in the scene where he first sees Zipporah and is caught between great suspicion and love at first sight.

It is also worth discussing some of the special effects: the Angel of Death that appears and disappears, the triptych composition when the Israelites are crossing the Red Sea and the nice double exposure when the Egyptians drown. Yes, they may seem a bit obvious almost a century later..... but they are still startling and for their era, highly innovative.

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