DeMille told his cinematic tales with painterly, extravagant images. The best of these images are showcased here, in Cecil B.
This lavish volume opens the King Tutand ;s tomb of cinematic treasures that is the Cecil B. DeMille Archives, presenting storyboard art, concept paintings, and an array of photographic imagery.
Cecil B DeMille The Invention of the Hollywood Epic
Historian Mark A. Vieira writes an illuminating text to accompany these scenes. Cecilia de Mille Presley relates her grandfatherand ;s thoughts on his various films, and recalls her visits to his sets, including the Egyptian expedition to film The Ten Commandments. Like the directorand ;s works, Cecil B.
DeMille: The Art of the Hollywood Epic is a panorama of magnificenceand ;celebrating a legendary filmmaker and the remarkable history of Hollywood. Cecilia de Mille Presley , vice-chairman for the National Film Preservation Foundation, has been a leading activist for the preservation of our cinematic history for many years.
Presley lives near Los Angeles. Mark A.
Cecil B. De Mille Biography
His wife, Constance, nine years his elder, retired from conjugal duties after giving birth to a daughter named Cecilia. The couple also adopted three children, including the illegitimate son of Cecil's brother William. Meanwhile, Constance's vigorous and highly sexed mate, who remained lovingly devoted to her until his death at 77 in , maintained what Mr. Eyman calls a "harem," built around a nucleus of three key DeMille employees: screenwriter Jeanie Macpherson, actress Julia Faye and executive assistant Gladys Rosson.
Presumably, these women were augmented by others who frequented the getaway DeMille built called Paradise, where weekend guests would be invited to partake in exotic pleasures they were forbidden from disclosing at the risk of never being invited back. Eventually some talked, of course. Charles Bickford, an actor in DeMille's drama "Dynamite," recalled being met by DeMille's chauffer with three women waiting for him in the back seat—a blonde, a brunette and a redhead, each wearing a ribbon with the gold letters "C. Until the end, DeMille's "harem" remained fiercely loyal and, one infers, in love with him.
The feeling seems to have been mutual; as another female admirer insisted, "DeMille got women," in both senses of the term.
Other than as an autocratic figure on movie sets who may or may not have had a direct phone line to the Almighty, DeMille came to be seen as Hollywood's ultimate right-wing fanatic, thanks especially to the moment in when he tried to institute a loyalty oath for members of the Directors Guild of America and attempted to oust Joseph L. Mankiewicz, the guild's president, for opposing the move.
But DeMille's politics were more complicated than the caricature suggested. In , for instance, motivated mostly by his desire to vanquish Prohibition, DeMille had voted for Franklin Roosevelt. Well before DeMille and Hollywood clashed in the s over his anticommunist fervor, a wedge had been driven between him and the industry over his resistance to union coercion. In the s, the American Federation of Radio Artists assessed each of its members one dollar to fight a California ballot amendment that would have made the radio business an open shop.
DeMille, who had a lucrative job hosting the "Lux Radio Theater," vehemently opposed paying the "political tribute," and he was forced off the show in The matter went to court and, amazingly, he lost the case—and was effectively barred from radio or television for life. But DeMille's lawsuit led directly to a clause in the Taft-Hartley Act outlawing mandatory political assessments. Eyman writes, "was that DeMille became a heroic figure to the right, and a figure of anathema to the left.
"The Art of the Hollywood Epic" - The spectacles of Cecil B. DeMille - Pictures - CBS News
What makes Mr. Eyman's life of a man often portrayed as an S.
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He kept needy people on his payroll, quietly lent or gave money and, after sound came in, made a point of employing former silent-film actors fallen on hard times. Warner to the studio to act in a movie for the last time. Here, for once, we have a sense of DeMille as an entirely actualized man. He was well into his 30s before he shot any film, but he rarely wasted a moment thereafter, even if he approached death regretting that he hadn't made even more than his 70 movies.
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He was a far from great director artistically; his ideas were simplistic, his casting erratic, his ear for dialogue far worse. And yet, thanks to the sympathetic but honest manner with which Mr. Eyman assesses the work and especially the man, we are now able to see Cecil B.
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DeMille with the remarkable clarity of a meticulously restored print. All Rights Reserved. Dow Jones, a News Corp company. News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services. Dow Jones. News Corp.