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De Mille, Cecil B(lount) (1881-1959).

playwright, movie director. With his brother William, De Mille wrote and produced two plays, The Genius (1906) and The Royal Mounted (1908), and is credited with help on David Belasco's <IR> THE RETURN OF PETER GRIMM </IR> (1911). When he went to Hollywood in 1913, his real career began, and he left a deep impress on movie production and the viewpoints of the industry. He developed the use of crowd scenes and spectacle movies. Time summarizes: "He was the first Hollywoodian to risk a movie on an all-out religious theme (The Ten Commandments, 1923). He was among the first to use effect lighting. He was among the first to use color in a feature. . . . For three decades De Mille's name has been loosely used as shorthand for fustian and splendiferous vulgarity. Because he is an artist in ham, his artistry has sometimes not been widely enough appreciated." Among his major works are <IR> THE SQUAW MAN </IR> (1913 and 1918); The King of Kings (1927); The Sign of the Cross (1931); Reap the Wild Wind (1942); The Unconquered (1947); Samson and Delilah (1949); and The Ten Commandments (1957). He also collaborated with his brother, William Churchill De Mille (1878-1955), on a number of stage productions. William De Mille, who in his later years taught drama at the University of Southern California, was also a playwright and lecturer. His best-known play was Strongheart (1905).

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Publication:Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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