Cecil B DeMille

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domino harvey
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Cecil B DeMille

#1 Post by domino harvey » Sat May 24, 2014 4:00 pm

CECIL B DEMILLE
(August 12 1881 - January 21 1959)


Image

"The public is always right."



FILMOGRAPHY

SILENT
The Squaw Man (1914) R1 Alpha / Warner Archives MOD
Brewster's Millions (1914) LOST
The Master Mind (1914)
The Only Son (1914)
The Man on the Box (1914)
The Call of the North (1914)
The Virginian (1914) R1 Passport
What's His Name (1914)
The Man from Home (1914)
Rose of the Rancho (1914)
The Ghost Breaker (1914)
The Girl of the Golden West (1915)
After Five (1915)
The Warrens of Virginia (1915)
The Unafraid (1915)
The Captive (1915)
The Wild Goose Chase (1915) LOST
The Arab (1915)
Chimmie Fadden (1915) LOST
Kindling (1915)
Carmen (1915) R1 VAI / R1 Image
Chimmie Fadden Out West (1915)
The Cheat (1915) R1 Kino
Temptation (1915) LOST
The Golden Chance (1915) R1 Image
The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1916)
The Heart of Nora Flynn (1916)
Maria Rosa (1916)
The Dream Girl (1916) LOST
Joan the Woman (1917) R1 Image
Lost and Won (1917)
A Romance of the Redwoods (1917) R1 Alpha / R1 Passport
The Little American (1917) R1 Jef Films
The Woman God Forgot (1917)
Nan of Music Mountain (1917)
The Devil-Stone (1917)
The Whispering Chorus (1918) R1 Image
Old Wives for New (1918) R1 Image
We Can't Have Everything (1918) LOST
Till I Come Back to You (1918)
The Squaw Man (1918)
Don't Change Your Husband (1919) R1 Image
For Better, for Worse (1919)
Male and Female (1919) R1 Image
Why Change Your Wife? (1920) R1 Image
Something to Think About (1920)
Forbidden Fruit (1921)
The Affairs of Anatol (1921) R1 Image
Fool's Paradise (1921)
Saturday Night (1922)
Manslaughter (1922) R1 Kino
Adam's Rib (1923) R1 Grapevine DVD-R
The Ten Commandments (1923) R1 Paramount
Triumph (1924)
Feet of Clay (1924) LOST
The Golden Bed (1925)
The Road to Yesterday (1925) R1 Alpha
The Volga Boatman (1926) R1 Kino VHS/LD
The King of Kings (1927) R1 Criterion
Walking Back (1928) R1 Grapevine DVD-R
The Godless Girl (1929) R1 Image

SOUND
Dynamite (1929) R1 Warner Archives MOD
Madam Satan (1930) R1 Warner Archives MOD
The Squaw Man (1931) R1 Warner Archives MOD
The Sign of the Cross (1932) R1 Universal
This Day and Age (1933) R1 Universal Vault MOD
Four Frightened People (1934) R1 Universal
Cleopatra (1934) R1 Universal / RB MoC
The Crusades (1935) R1 Universal
The Plainsman (1936) R1 Universal
The Buccaneer (1938) R1 Olive
Union Pacific (1939) R1 Universal
North West Mounted Police (1940) R2 Odeon (UK)
Reap the Wild Wind (1942) R1 Universal
The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944) R2 Universal (Spain)
Unconquered (1947) R1 Universal
California's Golden Beginning (1948, short subject)
Samson and Delilah (1949) R1/A Paramount
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) R1 Paramount
The Ten Commandments (1956) R1/A Paramount


FORUM DISCUSSION
Cecil B DeMille Collection
114 / BD 34 Cleopatra
Hollywood (Kevin Brownlow)
266 King of Kings
1920s List Discussion and Suggestions
Passport Video
Pre 1920s List Discussion/Suggestions
the Western List Discussion and Suggestions

(Compiled by domino harvey, Jonathan S, kingofthejungle, Rev.Powell)

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domino harvey
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Re: Cecil B DeMille

#2 Post by domino harvey » Sat May 24, 2014 4:25 pm

If anyone can help me with home video releases for some of the missing silents, please PM me or post 'em in this thread and I'll adjust the first post

Rev.Powell
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Re: Cecil B DeMille

#3 Post by Rev.Powell » Sat May 24, 2014 5:36 pm

Dunno about the silents but there's a UK region 2 release of North West Mounted Police. Looks pretty nice.

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domino harvey
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Re: Cecil B DeMille

#4 Post by domino harvey » Sat May 24, 2014 5:40 pm

Cool, added it in-- thanks!

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kingofthejungle
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Re: Cecil B DeMille

#5 Post by kingofthejungle » Sat May 24, 2014 7:31 pm

There's an R1 DVD of Carmen available from VAI, and a DVD-R of Adam's Rib from Grapevine.

Glad to see a DeMille thread, I've been exploring his filmography lately, and there's really a lot there to appreciate. Sign of the Cross is one of the most jaw-dropping Pre-Code films I've seen. Where else in cinema do piety and perversion so comfortably intermingle?

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domino harvey
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Re: Cecil B DeMille

#6 Post by domino harvey » Sat May 24, 2014 7:36 pm

Yeah, I picked up several DeMille titles last summer after rewatching Brownlow's Hollywood and was surprised there wasn't already a thread for him despite some existent discussion elsewheres. Looks like as good an excuse as any to finally dig in with a couple as I take a breather from the current lists projects. And thanks for the info!

Jonathan S
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Re: Cecil B DeMille

#7 Post by Jonathan S » Sun May 25, 2014 4:23 am

The Virginian (1914) - Passport (Cecil B DeMille Classics Collection)
Carmen (1915) - also Image (coupled with The Cheat)
A Romance of the Redwoods (1917) - also Passport set
The Little American (1917) - Jef Films
Why Change Your Wife? (1920) - Image
The Affairs of Anatol (1921) - Image
The Volga Boatman (1926) - Kino VHS/LD (multi-tinted)
Walking Back (1928) - Grapevine DVD-R

The now deleted Passport set includes many of the other later silents, but - as noted in some Amazon reviews and discussed on Nitrateville - it's obvious these were mostly ripped from David Shepard's Image and Kino editions. From the one or two I sampled, the Passport versions removed the tints and added vastly inferior music scores. Even in the case of The Volga Boatman (denied an official DVD release), my multi-tinted Kino VHS was superior in every way to the Passport knock-off.

The Passport transfers not from those sources are quite poor - probably from VHS and/or 8/16mm dupes - as noted in the reviews on Silent Era, such as this one, though I don't know is the Jef issue is any better.

Highly noteworthy is Kevin Brownlow's two-hour documentary, Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic, televised here in the UK at least, though I'm not aware of any home video release.

The same is true for the edition of The Godless Girl produced by Kevin Brownlow's Photoplay Productions. This has a superb orchestral score by Carl Davis not found on the Treasures from the American Archives Vol.3/Image release noted above.

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domino harvey
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Re: Cecil B DeMille

#8 Post by domino harvey » Sun May 25, 2014 7:38 am

Lots of good info, thanks for sharing. Will definitely check out that Brownlow doc, as it's available via back channels

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domino harvey
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Re: Cecil B DeMille

#9 Post by domino harvey » Sun May 25, 2014 7:44 pm

Watched my first two DeMille silents today thanks to Kino's Manslaughter/the Cheat double feature. An interesting pairing given that both films concern stentorian rebuffs against the foolishness of wealthy young women. Manslaughter takes it to an absurd degree, paralleling its central figure's legal trouble with the maid she presses charges against for stealing a ring to pay for her sick child's treatment. The film sees the rich woman's actions here as wrong, yet that's bizarre since she clearly broke the law and the film goes to great lengths to make its bribed policeman into a hero after he dies whilst in the process of upholding the law by rectifying his earlier mistake. The movie's highly moralistic, but in a strange way, as the solution to everyone's problems is seemingly to hit rock bottom and then get pulled up off the floor by someone who's already hit rock bottom before you. I didn't find the film particularly interesting from a filmmaking standpoint, I must be honest, but I've certainly seen worse contemporary silent films. The Cheat isn't much better, but it benefits from a shorter running time and a more perverse treatment of its lurid subject matter, wherein a rich woman yet again gets herself into trouble by accidentally signing away her body to a lecherous Asian dandy who, in the film's most striking scene, literally brands her as his (the audience sees this coming a mile away, but it's still pretty insane). I did chuckle at the quote I chose to represent DeMille in this thread, as the film ends with a seeming endorsement of mob rule!

So, not an auspicious start, but I still have more DeMille silents to try on.

Jonathan S
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Re: Cecil B DeMille

#10 Post by Jonathan S » Mon May 26, 2014 2:43 am

For me, DeMille's most interesting silent is The Whispering Chorus. It's a must-see for anyone wanting to study proto-noirs.

I do think his films (more than most) need to be considered in the context of their precise date. Like Griffith, he was an innovative and imaginative film-maker in the 'teens, but was overtaken by others and seemed content to repeat his successes more or less. I do find The Cheat remarkably compelling for a 1915 feature. But it's hard to separate in my mind all those racy (for their time) marital pictures, with their endless bathroom scenes, of the late 'teens and early 'twenties. I prefer The Godless Girl to his other 1920s movies, though the Carl Davis score helped a lot.

Dynamite (1929) demonstrates a far greater interest in the aesthetic potentials of sound than most early talkies from Hollywood, but he did not continue with those experiments.

The patriarchal tone of his films is often jaw-dropping, even by the standards of his time, and in various ways they tend to adopt a highly moralistic, Christian/right-wing viewpoint which sometimes flirts with fascism. But that is often their chief interest, especially when he salaciously revels in presenting the behaviour he purports to condemn!

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manicsounds
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Re: Cecil B DeMille

#11 Post by manicsounds » Fri Oct 17, 2014 7:57 pm


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domino harvey
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Re: Cecil B DeMille

#12 Post by domino harvey » Sat Jan 23, 2021 9:50 am

The forthcoming UHD release of the Ten Commandments has an ominous sounding addendum
As part of the restoration done in 2010, the film was scanned in 6K and those files were the basis for this brand new Dolby Vision version, which shows off the full beauty of the original VistaVision negative. The VistaVision format used special cameras to feed 35mm film into the camera horizontally in order to capture a wider image spread over two 35mm film frames, giving VistaVision twice the resolution of regular 35mm film. In addition, Paramount spent well over 150 hours doing new color work and clean-up on the scan. The move to Dolby Vision created the opportunity to further improve the look of the film: blacks are enhanced and improvements were made to smooth out special effects mattes to create the most vibrant and pristine image possible.

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Ribs
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Re: Cecil B DeMille

#13 Post by Ribs » Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:07 am

My assumption with a statement like that is that they've went ahead and done work to make greenscreen/CSO/whatever effect is used a tad more convincing, which is frustrating but I can see why they may have the impulse. Though this is also pointedly using the same previously extant restoration but with a new HDR grade so I am not sure I'm actually expecting it to be different as I don't really see why they would invest in doing new work for no real reason.

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EddieLarkin
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Re: Cecil B DeMille

#14 Post by EddieLarkin » Sat Jan 23, 2021 1:51 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 9:50 am
The forthcoming UHD release of the Ten Commandments has an ominous sounding addendum
As part of the restoration done in 2010, the film was scanned in 6K and those files were the basis for this brand new Dolby Vision version, which shows off the full beauty of the original VistaVision negative. The VistaVision format used special cameras to feed 35mm film into the camera horizontally in order to capture a wider image spread over two 35mm film frames, giving VistaVision twice the resolution of regular 35mm film. In addition, Paramount spent well over 150 hours doing new color work and clean-up on the scan. The move to Dolby Vision created the opportunity to further improve the look of the film: blacks are enhanced and improvements were made to smooth out special effects mattes to create the most vibrant and pristine image possible.
We understandably bristle at the mention of "smoothing" but I think they might be referring to something else here. They specifically state these improvements come from the use of Dolby Vision (HDR), which cannot be used to smooth or noise reduce an image, or any of the other shitty "improvements" we've learned to hate over the last decade or so.

But a fairly unacknowledged benefit of HDR is its ability to help CGI blend far better than it does in SDR. CGI elements often "stand out" to us but the superior dynamic range and deeper shadows of HDR help mask this effect, especially in older CGI. It may be the case that Paramount discovered their Dolby Vision grading has helped mask the matte effects of The Ten Commandments in the same way.

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david hare
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Re: Cecil B DeMille

#15 Post by david hare » Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:09 pm

I would have preferred them to leave well alone and simply transfer Ron Smith’s original 6K master as is, with the lightest possible layering of HDR/DV. But I think the Red Seas parting sequence of all of them is the one that has always looked the “worst”. Some work around the edges might have improved that, but for those of us (actually all of us) who have only seen the original 35mm reduction prints and penultimately Ron Smith’s superb master for the Blu should be happy with the new UHD.

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