Probably best remembered for the 1956 biblical epic, The Ten Commandments, and his appearance (as himself) in 1950’s Sunset Blvd., Cecil B. DeMille’s remarkable cinematic career stretches back as far as Charlie Chaplin’s. DeMille’s reputation as a demanding perfectionist was made in the early days of silent cinema, guiding the careers of such stars as Gloria Swanson, Mary Pickford, and Wallace Reid.
This remarkable collection of vintage DeMille classics – some making their DVD debut - includes the very first film "CB" ever made – 1914’s The Squaw Man – and continues to the end of the silent era, just before sound ushered in an entirely new art form – one in which DeMille, once again, thrived.
Bonus Features include rare newsreel footage of DeMille, an interview with Charlton Heston, and the complete 1921 film Miss Lulu Bett – directed by Cecil’s brother, William!
The Squaw Man (1914) – 74 mins. *The Virginian (1914) – 50 mins. Carmen (1915) – 56:30 mins. The Cheat (1915) – 59 mins. Joan the Woman (1916) – 133 mins. *The Romance of the Redwoods (1917) – 90 mins. *The Little American (1917) – 65 mins. Old Wives for New (1918) – 71:30 mins. The Whispering Chorus (1918) – 81 mins. Don’t Change Your Husband (1918) – 79 mins. Male and Female (1919) – 115 mins. Why Change Your Wife? (1920) – 91 mins. The Affairs of Anatol (1921) – 117 mins. Manslaughter (1922) – 100 mins. *The Road to Yesterday (1925) – 107 mins. *The Volga Boatman (1926) – 120 mins.
BONUS FEATURES Miss Lulu Bett (1921) – 71 mins. Newsreels Interviews
* - DVD Premiere
The Squaw Man (1914) – A British captain (Dustin Farnum, recreating his stage role) comes to America and settles out West with an Indian girl (played by a Winnebago Indian woman named Princess Red Wing). DeMille’s first film and one of the first features ever produced. Cecil himself appears as the Faro dealer. 74 mins.
The Virginian (1914) – A cowboy (Dustin Farnum of The Squaw Man) must save his friend from the hangman’s noose by exposing the real bad guy (Billy Elmer of Kitty Foyle) before he can get the girl (Farnum’s future wife, Winifred Kingston). 50 mins.
Carmen (1915) – Based on the same novel that inspired Bizet’s opera, the story concerns a poor cigarette girl (Metropolitan opera star Geraldine Farrar) who falls for a bullfighter (Pedro de Cordoba of The Ghost Breakers), driving her jealous guardian (the doomed Wallace Reid) to murder. 56:30 mins.
The Cheat (1915) – Powerful melodrama about a two-timing wife (Broadway star Fanny Ward in her screen debut) who hooks up with a wealthy – and sadistic – Japanese ivory baron (Sessue Hayakawa of The Bridge on the River Kwai). 59 mins.
Joan the Woman (1916) – A soldier in World War I (Wallace Reid of The Affairs of Anatol) uncovers Joan of Arc’s sword, leading to her appearance (Geraldine Farrar of Carmen) in a vision and the telling of her life story. 133 mins.
The Romance of the Redwoods (1917) – A naive New England girl (the legendary Mary Pickford) moves out West and winds up falling for a stagecoach robber (Elliott Dexter of The Affairs of Anatol). 90 mins.
The Little American (1917) – Once again, the great Mary Pickford stars, this time as a young girl who finds herself pursued by a German-American (Jack Holt of San Francisco) and a French-American (Western star, Raymond Hatton) during World War One, leading to international intrigue. 65 mins.
Old Wives for New (1918) – An unhappy husband (Elliott Dexter of The Romance of the Redwoods) leaves his lazy wife (Sylvia Ashton of Greed) for a younger woman (King Vidor’s wife, Florence) who turns out to be involved in a murder! 71:30 mins.
The Whispering Chorus (1918) – An embezzler (Raymond Hatton of The Little American) assumes the identity of a dead man – but winds up being arrested for having murdered himself! Noah Beery Sr. (The Mark of Zorro) appears as a longshoreman. 81 mins.
Don’t Change Your Husband (1918) – A DeMille comedy with Gloria Swanson as a frustrated housewife who divorces her slob of a husband (Elliott Dexter of Flaming Youth) and marries another (Lew Cody of Dishonored), only to find she’s gone from the frying pan into the fire. 79 mins.
Male and Female (1919) – Turning from comedy to a DeMille drama, Gloria Swanson is a spoiled rich girl who learns about the qualities that really matter when she’s shipwrecked with her resourceful butler (Thomas Meighan of The Miracle Man). 115 mins.
Why Change Your Wife? (1920) – Another comedy in which Gloria Swanson – in a variation of Don’t Change Your Husband – is the wife who is divorced by her frustrated husband (Thomas Meighan again) after he meets the lovely Bebe Daniels (42nd Street). 91 mins.
The Affairs of Anatol (1921) – This time, both husband and wife are two-timing each other in this DeMille comedy that features the ill-fated Wallace Reid (who had little more than a year to live) and, once again, Bebe Daniels. 117 mins.
Manslaughter (1922) – A thrill-seeking society girl (John Gilbert’s wife, Leatrice Joy) causes the death of a motorcycle cop (Jack Mower of Dark Victory) and winds up sent to prison by her prosecutor-fiancé (once again, Thomas Meighan) who later descends into alcoholism. 100 mins.
The Road to Yesterday (1925) – A frustrated wife (Jetta Goudal of The Cardboard Lover) realizes the reason she’s sexually dysfunctional with her husband (Joseph Schildkraut of The Life of Emile Zola) is that in an earlier life, during the reign of Elizabeth I, she was a gypsy who was burned at the stake. Future Hopalong Cassidy William Boyd is a supporting player. 107 mins.
The Volga Boatman (1926) – A Russian Revolution tale concerning a princess (Elinor Fair of The Miracle Man) who is engaged to a prince (Victor Varconi of The King of Kings), but falls in love with a peasant (once again, William Boyd). Boyd’s marriage proposal in the film became his actual proposal to future wife, Fair! 120 mins.
Miss Lulu Bett (1921) – Cecil B. DeMille’s brother, William, directed this powerful drama, based on the Pulitzer-Prize-winning play about a young woman (Lois Wilson of Bright Eyes) who discovers that she’s married to a man (Clarence Burton of The King of Kings) who is already married. 71 mins. (Wm)
Interviews With: Charlton Heston John Hart A.C. Lyles