Thursday, January 21, 2016

Watch This: Fascinating Footage of Cecil B. DeMille Directing 1934's CLEOPATRA


Pardon the poor video quality, this footage is worth it. It's very rare to see footage of any Golden Age director actually going about the work of directing. The featurette is certainly staged, and stagey, but we get a sense of what Cecil B. DeMille was like as a director and also of his priorities for shooting scenes. DeMille is often considered a schlock master and a camp figure, and it's hard to deny some of the truth in that assessment, but he was a master of spectacle and of the technical aspects of filmmaking.

It's fun to watch DeMille shout instructions at extras "I need those slaves to come in much, much faster!" and, later, to give some poor prop man hell for shoddy swords and shields in a brilliant bit of publicity hokum.

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