Cecil B. DeMille – photos and quotes

Cecil B. DeMille

“Give me any two pages of the Bible and I’ll give you a picture.”Cecil B. DeMille


Cecil B DeMille

“They gave me the laugh when I tried to interest them in photodrama. ‘Nothing  doing on that legitimate stuff,’ they told me. ‘the stage is one thing and moving pictures another,’ and they laughed in unison at the insistence of my suggestions….“It was over the cigars at luncheon one day in the hotel Knickerbocker with Jesse Lasky and Sam Goldfish, his brother-in-law, that the idea became a concrete thing. They were willing to take chance on the theory that the public would stand for the ‘moving picture’ would pay for real drama. Our success has been due largely to ignorance. If we had been versed in the ‘movie’ technique of two years ago, I do not believe we could have succeeded. When I came to Los Angeles I knew nothing of the making of films, but I had the big idea. I had seen picture plays that were almost dramas. Once could have made them dramas, but instead of that touch, there was a kick in the face, and it was farce.”Cecil B. DeMille 

Source: K. Owen (1915)

Photo: 1915


ceil B demille directing Squaw Man

“The first Lasky picture which I produced was ‘The Squaw Man’ with Dustin Farnum in the title role. No one but the cameraman had ever had any picture experience, of those who worked on that play in the garage studio. Ignorance is a wonderful thing when properly applied.”Cecil B. DeMille

Source: K. Owen (1915)

Photo: DeMille directing The Squaw Man (1913)


The Rose of the Rancho

“When our company staged ‘Rose of the Rancho,’ Mr. DeMille imported a lot of Mexicans, and, do you know, he saw to it that they had their native food, while we had the things to which we were accustomed. It was like running a commissary department at the same time. Of course we didn’t always keep strictly to our own national dishes. Some of the Americans grew very fond of the Mexican dishes, and in return the Mexicans, probably out of courtesy, would eat some of our food, but I don’t think they cared much for it. Probably it wasn’t seasoned high enough for their taste.” — Winifred Kingston (not pictured)

Photo: The Rose of the Rancho (1914)


Geraldine Farrar Carmen 1915

“Most things can be done and when anyone told me that such and such a thing could not be done, I got someone who could do it. I still follow that same principle.”Cecil B. DeMille

Source: K. Owen (1915)

Photo: On the set of Carmen (1916) with Geraldine Farrar.


Carmen Cecille B DeMille Geraldine Farrar

“In using genuine sets instead of painted scenery; in having our people speak their lines just as on the stage, a necessity to correct expression, we believe, we are actuated by the desire to give the public the best in pictures. Fidelity to minor details may in most instances go over the heads of the average audience, but the cimulative effect will be there. General excellence and realism are appreciated even though the technical procedures may not be understood.” Cecil B. DeMille

Source: K. Owen (1915)

Photo: On the set of Carmen (1916) with Geraldine Farrar.


Alvin Wyckoff cecil b demille joan the woman 1916

“As for realism, it is the most insistent demand of the public. The dramatic license of the stage will not be tolerated. The public will not allow us dramatic license. When a man stabs another with a bayonet, the audience wants to see the bayonet stick the victim, not pass six inches away. They must almost see the blood follow it.”Cecil B. DeMille 

Source: K. Owen (1915)


Cecil B. DeMille 1913“What I like about pictures, when comparing them to stage productions, is their bigness, their scope. For instance, where formerly in writing for the stage, I would be compelled effectively to describe a thing, now I can show the thing itself. This is what is so fascinating; it gives you something to get your teeth into, you don’t have to use words – you can put it before the eye. In ‘The Warrens of Virginia’ you remember the destruction of the supply train and what it meant to the story being able to show the train going to its doom. In the play, you would hear the distant boom of the guns; in the picture, through the cutback you are following the love scene and all the time the men are watching the clock, all the time you are getting the tremendous, enormous drama of the men mining the road – a situation you could not touch on the legitimate stage. That is why I like it – that is why my brother William, the author of the play, is here; and he likes the pictures better than the play – you can link the drama so perfectly. Which reminds me that following the showing in New York of ‘The Rose of the Rancho,’ Mr. Belasco wired me that he liked it better than the play.”Cecil B. DeMille in 1915

Photo: The Little American (1913)


Cecil B. DeMille 1920

“As an art photodrama has advanced wonderfully but the surface has only been scratched.”Cecil B. DeMille

Source: K. Owen (1915)

Photo: 1920

Cecil B. DeMille in 1920. Bizarre Los Angeles

“I also cut my own pictures, of course. I cannot understand a director not cutting his own pictures. To me that is inconceivable. Why, I do 20% of my work in the cutting room. It means so much to be able to choose just where to place your climax and just where to cut it off – in other words, just where to bring down the curtain, where to change the scene. Sometimes in the cutting room, by taking advantage of the chances you see, you are enabled to build on your picture as to make it entirely different from the way it was when taken – and to vastly improve it.”Cecil B. DeMille in 1915

Photo: 1920

Art Prints



Art Prints





Madam Satan Kay Johnson Cecil B. DeMille

Madam Satan (1930). Starring Kay Johnson.


Photography Prints

Cecil B. Demille Cleopatra Claudette Colbert

“I will never let my children go to the movies. With producers and stars getting as much as $200,000 a year and little knowledge of what to do with it, what can be the result except a fantastic life? There is too much inbreeding around here. It would be better if the pictures were produced in eight different towns in the United States. There is perversion among the players, an undercurrent of sex talk everywhere. What sort of a community is this to influence American life?” – Cecil B. DeMille on Hollywood in 1934.

Photo: Cleopatra (1934). With Claudette Colbert



Cecil b demille George Raft

Cecil B. DeMille, George Raft and DeMille’s wife, Constance Adams, poses for a photo at Los Angeles’ newly opened Union Station prior to DeMille‘s departure on a nationwide promotional tour for his film, Union Pacific (1939).


W.C. Fields Cecil B DeMille

DeMille was so well-known for inserting bathtub scenes in his major films that it became kind of an inside joke around Hollywood.

The following is supposed to be a true story:

During World War II, DeMille and W.C. Fields were neighbors. DeMille’s home was located on a ledge near the top of Laughlin Park hill sector. Fields lived in a home further down the hill in Laughlin Park (now known as 2015 DeMille Drive).

Neither one liked each other very much and they rarely spoke. In fact, Fields supposedly despised DeMille.

One night a blackout was called. DeMille noticed that Fields had his lights burning inside his house, so he dressed and personally marched down the hill and rapped loudly on Fields’ door.

Fields, who had been drinking heavily, answered.

“I’m Cecil B. DeMille. There’s a blackout on!”

“A what?”

“Don’t you know we’re having a blackout?”

“A blackout!”

“Yes, Mr. Fields, a blackout. Turn off your lights and fill your bathtub!”

“My God, Cece! Can’t we have a blackout without one of your damn bathtub scenes?”

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