Legendary producer-director Cecil B. DeMille was a progenitor of Paramount Pictures, a seminal cofounder of Hollywood, and the master of the American biblical epic; but whose pioneering achievements and filmic practices still remain grossly unappreciated today. One of his aesthetic trade secrets was the “deep focus construction” of his on-screen characters, that is, the engineering of pertinent correspondences between his characterizations and the actors’ idiosyncratic traits and/or previous roles to deepen the naturalistic resonance of authenticity. A brief review of the critical literature and an examination of selected DeMille films, particularly The Ten Commandments (1923 & 1956), was performed to illustrate this casting principle; utilizing humanist film criticism as the guiding analytical lens. It was concluded that DeMille was a far defter biblical filmmaker than hitherto appreciated. Further research into DeMille Studies is highly warranted, warmly recommended and already long overdue
Cecil B. DeMille, casting principle in film, the Golden Age of Hollywood, “deep focus construction” of characters
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