The “Deep Focus Construction” of Selected Characters within Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1923 & 1956) and Elsewhere

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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

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Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Film and Media Studies

The Journal of "Sapientia" Hungarian University of Transylvania

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