Meet Moses' forgotten brother
Today's retro-review: 1980's Wholly Moses, starring Dudley Moore and Laraine Newman. This is a movie that cleared belonged in my "Blasphemy of the 80s" review, but woe unto me, I forgot it was an 80s flick.
The plot: Two tourists in Israel discover an ancient scroll about the life of Herschel, a man who overhears God talking to his brother Moses and believes it's his mission to free his people from slavery in Egypt. Along the way, alternative versions of the stories of Lot, Jesus and David & Goliath are explained.
Sound familiar?: Yeah, very much like Monty Python's Life of Brian or Mel Brooks' History of the World Part 1.
Maybe you remember: The late John Ritter as the devil and the late John Houseman as the head angel. I doubt either of them listed their performances here high on their resumes, but they should have.
Surely you can't forget: Richard Pryor as the Pharaoh, with a lisp for some reason. As if Pryor as Pharaoh wasn't over-the-top enough.
One nasty review: "It feels like a series of 'guest star' cameo appearances on a TV show we wouldn't want to see in the first place." (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
Why we love it anyway: I'm a firm believer that Dudley Moore is one of the most underrated actors of his generation. He left us five years ago with far too few films to relish -- this is one to appreciate again. If you think of it, the movie is full of actors who left us too early. Plus, you just can't get quality comedies about religions anymore today. They ought to make this one part of a box set.
Top 5 Dudley Moore movies:
5. Crazy People (1990): "Who here wants to be a fire truck?"
4. Wholly Moses (1980): "What's that? My Arabic is a little rusty."
3. 10 (1979): "I'll have another double Don. Double Don, God, that's going to be difficult to say by the shank of the evening. Better make that one a single."
2. Bedazzled (1967): "Well, I suppose Lust and Gluttony really have to be rather near the bathroom."
1. Arthur (1981): "You're a hooker? Jesus, I forgot! I just thought I was doing GREAT with you!"