Written by / 12/26/2019 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , ,

CHRISTMAS GLANCE AT THE BIBLICAL SATIRE 'WHOLLY MOSES!'

John Ritter temping Dudley Moore on a WHOLLY MOSES! Lobby Card circa 1980 AD
Similar to the following years' Mel Brooks Old Testament spoof, HISTORY OF THE WORLD, Gary Weis's underrated WHOLLY MOSES! has more likable, involving characters led by Dudley Moore as a regular guy on a modern day Israeli tour bus that breaks down long enough for the alternative Biblical backstory to be revealed...

He and Laraine Newman (the director's SNL alumni) discover a cave with a lost, unknown scroll, and Moore reads about an orphan who, floating downstream, is pushed aside by the legendary basket-floating infant, much like Graham Chapman's title character in this film's muse/inspiration, LIFE OF BRIAN, born in the manger next-door to Christ...
Collage of the cast from the underrated and unfairly maligned WHOLLY MOSES1
This craftier, more resilient child reaches his destiny first, and it's Moses... while the other is raised by a poor family further downstream, and, as an adult, Moore's Herschel chisels pagan idols with his adoptive father, played by the always-energetic James Coco, posing as his son's personal slave.

As the story continues, Herschel's anti-Moses (trying to free his people while being constantly last-minute thwarted by the genuine article, and never receiving credit) is thrust into various Biblical situations...
Laraine Newman, John Ritter, Dudley Moore, Richard Pryor and Dom Deluise in WHOLLY MOSES! Rates: ***
These include Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot's doomed salty wife, David and Goliath, and, as Newman's sheep-herding husband trying his best to work along a mountainous region, the Burning Bush.

Meanwhile, special guests include Richard Pryor as a funky Pharaoh, Paul Sand as a boozing Avenging Angel, and affable man-child actor John Ritter cast-against-type as Satan himself, all making for a watchable, time-passing satire/parody that's a better semi-humorous road movie/adventure than an outright joke-a-minute comedy.
Greenlit for the success of Life of Brian, even the artwork is Monty Pythonesque
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