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CECIL B. DEMILLE: His Epics and Mine

Discussion in 'The Small Screen' started by RonPrice, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. RonPrice

    RonPrice Mr Ron Price

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    Part 1:

    The legendary Cecil B. DeMille(1881-1959), affectionately known to colleagues as “C.B.”, was a cofounder of Hollywood and a progenitor of Paramount studio. He helped turn an obscure Californian orange grove into a fully-fledged movie colony that became the synonym for filmmaking worldwide, and made DeMille as recognised as his famous actors. There is not one DeMille but many DeMille personas who did numerous jobs and played multiple roles.

    I joined the Baha’i Faith the year he died and got into a new religious epic hardly known in the world then or now. As a seminal film pioneer, innovative producer-director, and self-confessed pop culture professional, DeMille instituted the “Age of Hollywood.” He helped develop the classical narrative style, and became the man most identified with the biblical epic due to his indelible classics: The Ten Commandments (1923), The King of Kings (1927), Samson and Delilah (1949) and The Ten Commandments (1956). I had a job arranging a theatre marquee back then and cannot recall ever seeing these epics. But I must have, surely?

    Part 2:

    DeMille’s views about religion and American society, transmitted through this innovative media modality, significantly shaped the culture of his country in ways that would be churlish to deny and unsafe to ignore. He was an architect of modern consumption who had considerable influence on the craft of motion-picture making and on the popular culture of the United States at large.-Ron Price with thanks to Anton Karl Kozlovic, “Judas Iscariot: The Archetypal Betrayer and DeMille’s Cine-Biblical Salvation within The King of Kings (1927),” in The European Journal of American Studies, 2008, Volume 2.

    Despite public cynicism about religious filmmakers
    more concerned with selling seats than saving souls,
    DeMille was a genuinely and deeply religious man
    from a profoundly religious family. As he proudly
    claimed near the end of his life: “my ministry was
    making religious movies and getting more people
    to read the Bible than anyone else ever has done.”
    He achieved that consciousness-raising goal having
    become “the Sunday school school teacher for the
    American nation” and the rest of the Western world
    before he died in 1959 at the very start of my own epic,
    my involvement with a new, magnificent, wondrous epic.

    Ron Price
    29 August 2010

     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014
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