I've become wary of costumed epics from the late 1940s and 1950s, given how many of them are saddled with weak scripts and performances, not to mention a tendency to value style more than substance. However, while Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah still has those problems (some of the time), I still can't help liking it.
After a really hokey opening monologue, we're taken to the territory of Dan, which is under Philistine control (the film never uses the term Israelites or Hebrews - the oppressed are only referred to as Danites, with no context as to what that means). We don't see the circumstances of Samson's birth, but we instead are introduced to him as an already revered leader of the Danites, albeit one with a reputation for brawling and wenching. To the dismay of his parents, Samson (Victor Mature) is curious about Philistine ways (the movie doesn't explain why, but the original Biblical text indicates that Samson wanted an excuse to infiltrate the Philistines). He even intends to marry a Philistine woman, Semadar (Angela Lansbury). However, Semadar's younger sister Delilah (Hedy Lamarr) also has the hots for Samson, and when Samson chooses Semadar over her, she doesn't take it well. First she conspires with Ahtur (Henry Wilcoxon), a Philistine commander and rival for Semadar's hand, so that he's the one to wed Semadar. A fight breaks out at the wedding feast, and Semadar is killed by a stray Philistine javelin. The Philistines then burn down Delilah's house with her father inside it, causing Delilah to swear revenge on Samson.