Thursday, August 4, 2011


This full length period lavender gown was worn by Nina Foch in the Cecil B. DeMille 1956 epic, The Ten Commandments in which she played Bithia, Pharaoh's sister who found the baby Moses in the bullrushes, adopted him as her son, and joined him and the Hebrews in their Exodus from Egypt.

The costume was worn by Nina Foch in the scene where Charlton Heston as Moses approaches Bithia and confronts her with the Hebrew cloth that Moses was found in an a child.

The costume can be seen in the video below and comes in at 6:20, sorry I could not find an English version on youtube:

The gown is also worn in the next scene where Moses visits his real mother. The costume is worn under a robe for that scene.

Slightly altered from its original use, the clasp to the front was changed for use in another production. Not worked it out yet.

I was lucky enough to also come across the bracelet that is worn by Foch in the scene with the costume and managed to get them back together again. Below is the bracelet.

Costumes for the film were designed by an array of talent available to Paramount at the time including Arnold Friberg, Edith Head, Dorothy Jeakins, John Jensen and Ralph Jester. Added to this are at least 20 more talents that were not credited to the final work. With an epic such as this, the task of costuming not only stars such as Nina Foch, Anne Baxter, Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner but thousands of extras with filming in the US as well as in Egypt.

Below is a copy of the original sketch of the Nina Foch gown from the film.

Here also is photo of Nina Foch on the set in costume.

Dutch born Nina Foch has appeared in many memorable films of the 40’s and 50s including Marie Antoinette in Scaramouche (1952), Executive Suite (1954), starring William Holden, Spartacus (1960) opposite Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier and An American In Paris with Gene Kelly in 1951.

Nina Foch spent the last 40 years of her life not only performing however teaching acting and directing at major teaching institutions. Foch was a forty-year member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Foch was married three times, one time to James Lipton host of Inside the Actors Studio.

Foch died in December 2008, of complications from a blood disorder.


  1. I hate to admit it but I had no idea that Nina Foch was Dutch. Every so often TCM airs "My Name is Julia Ross" (1945) in which she stars. Worth watching.

    Are you planning to have the original clasp copied or keep it as is? Do you know what the other film was that it appeared in?

  2. Julia Ross is a great film! No plans to replace the brooch as yet. I am always reluctant to change costumes. Would love to find out what it was used again in. I do know that many of the costumes were used from Commandments in "The Egyptian". if I ever work it out I will post! Thanks again!

  3. I'm so tickled that you have highlighted Nina Foch! She's one of my favorites and is so rarely covered in any serious way. This past spring, I had the pleasure of wearing my own copy of the supported-by-gravity gown that puzzles Gene Kelly in An American in Paris. Nina's performance in that movie is full of genuine feeling and subtly moving. Thanks again; it's a joy to see the costumes you have. As a costumer of VERY minor proportions, I get a genuine thrill out of seeing the details you offer. Please do keep 'em coming!

  4. Hi Kay! Thanks for the nice words! I have always loved Ms Foch and her films so it was a pleasure doing an article on her!

    How wonderful that you are a costumer. I am going to have a look at your own blog right after this!

    You may be interested to know that the costume Foch wore that you recreated was sold last year at one of the auction houses!

    Thanks again for the nice words!

    My Best

    1. I popped a picture of the recreation dress on my FB page for movie star makeover...I think you can see it there. Who knows what the internet gods will allow today?
      I'm eager to catch up on your past posts, so thanks for doing so many of the stars I love so much! (Norma S. springs to mind!)) For more Norma info, check out my blog post on Canadian pals loved it!

  5. I'd love to have seen that costume to see the construction friend and I did quite a bit "by guess and by golly", but I did learn just how it stays up...and it's not by modesty! LOL! Which auction house sold it? I'd love to see the "innards". Warmly, Kay's a link to an image of the recreated dress..!/pages/Movie-Star-Makeover/234452713263729
    It's on my FB site and that's open to the public. Enjoy!

  6. Hi Kay! Sorry for the delay in getting back to you on this. Your costume looks great! Very nicely done! I expect you had a lot of fun recreating that one!

    Kay I may have been thinking of the wrong dress from the film that was sold at is the link the Nina Foch dress that sold last year at one of the auctions...

    Enjoy and thanks again!

  7. Oh, right, that's the one from the big final sequence...spectcular, too!!! I love it as well. Mine was from the early sequence, where Kelly asked her how the dress stays up and she says "modesty"...
    Don't you just LOVE her?
    Thanks, Kay