Samson and Delilah is a 1949 film made by Paramount Pictures (and one of few pre-1950 films by the studio to remain under its ownership), produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr as the title characters. Angela Lansbury, George Sanders and Henry Wilcoxon are also featured. The story of Samson and Delilah is adapted from the Biblical Book of Judges. Wildly successful at the box-office, DeMille’s Biblical epic is known for the beauty of its leading lady and the spectacular toppling of the temple of Dagon.
Actors: Olive Deering, Julia Faye, Russ Tamblyn, Henry Wilcoxon, William Farnum, Fay Holden, Angela Lansbury, Victor Mature, George Sanders, Hedy Lamarr
Samson, a Hebrew placed under Nazirite vows from birth by his mother, is engaged to a Philistine woman named Semadar. At their engagement, Samson loses a bet with his wedding guests (owing by a large part to Semadar) and attacks thirty Philistines to strip them of their cloaks to pay his betting debt. When his deeds become known, Semadar is killed during their wedding feast; Samson becomes a hunted man and in his fury he begins fighting the Philistines. The Saran of Gaza (Sanders) imposes heavy taxes on the Dannites, with the purpose of having Samson betrayed by his own people. Saran’s plan works, and frustrated Dannites hand over Samson to the Philistines,
much to the joy of Delilah, Semadar’s sister. Samson is taken by the high general Ahtur (Wilcoxon) and a regiment of Philistine troops. En route back to Gaza, Ahtur decides to taunt Samson. Samson rips apart his chains and ropes and begins to combat the Philistines, toppling Ahtur’s war chariot and using the jawbone of an ass to club the Philistine soldiers to death. News of the defeat of Ahtur at the hands of Samson reaches Saran. Saran ponders how to defeat Samson. Delilah comes up with the idea of seducing Samson, thus having him reveal the secret of his strength and then deliver him for punishment. Her plan works; she cuts his hair, which he feels gives him his strength. In order to fully neutralize him, Samson is blinded by his captors, put to slave work and is eventually brought to the temple of Dagon for the entertainment of the Philistines and of Saran.
However, in the meantime Delilah has unknowingly fallen in love with Samson, and his blinding and torture make her feel deep remorse over her betrayal. She attends the public torture wielding a whip, in order to help him flee, but Samson instead asks to be brought to the temple’s main support pillars. Once he stands between them, he tells Delilah to run, but she remains, unseen by him, as he pushes the pillars apart. The pillars give way and the temple collapses, burying Samson, Delilah, and all the Philistines inside alive. In the end the temple lies in rubble, and Saul and Miriam, his two closest Hebrew friends, are left to mourn Samson’s passing