"There were three producers back in those days. Cooper De Ville, some guy whose name I can't remember, and me!"—"Sepulveda Boulevard", Tiny Toon Adventures
Cecil Blount DeMille (Aug 12, 1881 - Jan 21, 1959) was an American film maker whose name has become synonymous with the extravagant Hollywood Spectacle.
His best known production, the 1956 version of The Ten Commandments, best illustrates the film qualities DeMille is famous for. Massive sets, extras by the thousands and scenes guaranteed to leave audiences' jaws on the floor. To this day, Moses' parting of the Red Sea remains an incredible piece of cinematography.
The cartoon image of a movie director (guy in a beret, sunglasses and riding boots, carrying a cigar or riding crop in one hand and a megaphone in the other, e.g. the director in the 2007 Ballet Shoes) was originally a reference to DeMille's odd taste in work clothes. The monocle also sometimes depicted was an affectation of both Fritz Lang (who also smoked with a cigarette-holder) and Erich Von Stroheim, but not de Mille.
DeMille had a particular taste for costume design, and was called upon to design the U.S. Air Force Academy's cadet uniforms. The design is still used.
Today his name is invoked whenever anyone refers to a motion picture whose production values go way over the top.
He also had a raging foot fetish.
Partial list of films directed by DeMille:
- The Squaw Man (1914, 1918 and 1931)
- The Ten Commandments (1923 and 1956)
- The Sign of the Cross (1932)
- The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)