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THE LOST CITY OF CECIL B. DeMILLE – An Adventure

 

 

Review by John Delia

It makes you wonder some times what happens to the sets that were built after making a film. Some of the western sets actually turned into towns or attractions, while others are torn down and the materials used to build a setting for another. But, this documentary The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille shows where the famous producer buried some of his famous set for “The Ten Commandments”. It was DeMille’s final masterpiece and this film tells all as to why he would trash something so magnificent.

The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille from Cinedigm

DeMille’s had a number of blockbusters as producer and director starting with the silent movie The Ten Commandments (1923) and then Adam’s Rib (1923) and a couple years later The King of Kings (1927) among and many others. When the talkies came into being, DeMille was ready for the new age bringing Cleopatra starring Claudette Colbert as the sultry Queen of Egypt (1934) and The Buccaneer with Fredric March as the swarthy swashbuckler Jean Lafitte (1938), Sampson and Delilah with Hedy Lamarr and Victor Mature as the beauty and the strongman (1949) and three years later The Greatest Show on Earth with James Stewart and Charlton Heston under the big top Circus tent (1952). But this story honors his greatest achievement and not the remake of The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner as Moses and Rameses with Anne Baxter playing Nefretiri (1956).

The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille from Cinedigm

The documentary plays out like a behind the scenes and actually the audience being the proverbial “fly on the wall” as filmmakers provide an adventure to uncover the set that brought the 1 million dollar The Ten Commandments (1923) to the screen. It was a shot in the dark by Peter Brosnan and co-discoverer Richard Eberhardt. Included in the show is DeMille’s inspirations in an energized biography. With the use of old photos, treasured film clips, press, video, interviews with his daughter, grandchildren, actors and crew and other means the two researchers/documenters provide the biographical adventure of a lifetime.

The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille from Cinedigm

While I give high marks on the biography and look back at the historical tribute of how the film was made, the findings at the site are not as dramatic an expectation and a bit of a letdown. That said however, the imagination and adventure involved does entertain and is worth the watch.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A nice look back at one of America’s greatest show makers. (3 out of 5 Stars)

Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Cecil B. DeMille, Agnes DeMille, Charlton Heston, Cecilia DeMille Presley
Directed and Written by: Peter Brosnan
Genre: Documentary, Adventure, Biography
MPAA Rating: No Rated, no offensive material
Running Time: 1 hr. 26 min.
Video Release Date: April 10, 2020
Distributed by: Random Media
Released on: Blu-ray, DVD at Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Amazon.

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