*Starred Review* DeMille wasn’t the sole originator of the huger-than-huge Hollywood movie, but he was one of its most successful purveyors. And unlike some silent-film auteurs, DeMille made the change to talkies seamlessly in a career that spanned more than 50 years of stage and screen hits across genres. Aided by access to DeMille family papers unavailable to previous biographers, Eyman, a seasoned biographer of Hollywood heavyweights, undertakes an exhaustive and evenhanded look at DeMille and his oeuvre. Whereas Sidney Lumet thought “DeMille vulgarized everything D. W. Griffith did,” Eyman finds that “DeMille was always a populist filmmaker, like Frank Capra,” albeit one who “took serious . . . successful flyers at Art.” And such flyers he took: his The Ten Commandments (1923 and 1956) and The King of Kings (1927) are gaudy touchstones of epic filmmaking grandeur and glorifications of conventional Christian values, but he also directed The Volga Boatman (1928), “a surprisingly sympathetic account of the Russian Revolution.” In his career, DeMille directed a veritable who’s who of Hollywood stars and also found time to appear in films as an actor, his best-known role perhaps being as himself in Billy Wilder’s 1950 masterpiece, Sunset Boulevard. Eyman’s sprawling biography fully gives the master his due. --Mike Tribby
About the Author
Scott Eyman has written eleven books, including biographies of Hollywood legends such as John Ford, Ernst Lubitsch, Cecil B. DeMille, and Louis B. Mayer. He also collaborated with Robert Wagner on two books. He has written for The New York Times
, The Washington Post
, and The Wall Street Journal
, and he is the literary critic for The Palm Beach Post
. He lives with his wife, Lynn, in West Palm Beach.