Cecil B DeMille was the personification of American cinema. He helped make Hollywood into a film production center in 1914 and was still making pictures in 1956. Considered by some to be the greatest showman on earth, he showed great invention and imagination – whether in his use of color and lighting, sexual innuendo or social and political commentary. He had a revolutionary approach to research and art design which gave a sense of authenticity to extraordinary plot lines.
Photoplay Productions was given unparalleled access to his archive by the DeMille Estate, and the material provided the basis of this two-part documentary that encapsulates DeMille’s prolific career of 50 years. His directing work, although dominated by The Sign of the Cross, King of Kings, Samson and Delilah and The Ten Commandments, was far wider than the vast but limited domain of the biblical epic.
Kenneth Branagh narrates this fascinating documentary that includes interviews with his granddaughter Cecilia, fellow directors Robert Parrish and Joseph Mankiewicz, and actors Charlton Heston and Angela Lansbury. Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg provide a contemporary commentary by two of Hollywood’s most important directors.