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The Cecil B. Demille Classics Collection


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Editorial Reviews

Probably best remembered for the 1956 biblical epic, The Ten Commandments, and his appearance (as himself) in 1950’s Sunset Blvd., Cecil B. DeMille’s remarkable cinematic career stretches back as far as Charlie Chaplin’s. DeMille’s reputation as a demanding perfectionist was made in the early days of silent cinema, guiding the careers of such stars as Gloria Swanson, Mary Pickford, and Wallace Reid.

This remarkable collection of vintage DeMille classics – some making their DVD debut - includes the very first film "CB" ever made – 1914’s The Squaw Man – and continues to the end of the silent era, just before sound ushered in an entirely new art form – one in which DeMille, once again, thrived.

Bonus Features include rare newsreel footage of DeMille, an interview with Charlton Heston, and the complete 1921 film Miss Lulu Bett – directed by Cecil’s brother, William!

The Squaw Man (1914) – 74 mins. *The Virginian (1914) – 50 mins. Carmen (1915) – 56:30 mins. The Cheat (1915) – 59 mins. Joan the Woman (1916) – 133 mins. *The Romance of the Redwoods (1917) – 90 mins. *The Little American (1917) – 65 mins. Old Wives for New (1918) – 71:30 mins. The Whispering Chorus (1918) – 81 mins. Don’t Change Your Husband (1918) – 79 mins. Male and Female (1919) – 115 mins. Why Change Your Wife? (1920) – 91 mins. The Affairs of Anatol (1921) – 117 mins. Manslaughter (1922) – 100 mins. *The Road to Yesterday (1925) – 107 mins. *The Volga Boatman (1926) – 120 mins.

BONUS FEATURES Miss Lulu Bett (1921) – 71 mins. Newsreels Interviews

* - DVD Premiere

Disc One

The Squaw Man (1914) – A British captain (Dustin Farnum, recreating his stage role) comes to America and settles out West with an Indian girl (played by a Winnebago Indian woman named Princess Red Wing). DeMille’s first film and one of the first features ever produced. Cecil himself appears as the Faro dealer. 74 mins.

The Virginian (1914) – A cowboy (Dustin Farnum of The Squaw Man) must save his friend from the hangman’s noose by exposing the real bad guy (Billy Elmer of Kitty Foyle) before he can get the girl (Farnum’s future wife, Winifred Kingston). 50 mins.

Carmen (1915) – Based on the same novel that inspired Bizet’s opera, the story concerns a poor cigarette girl (Metropolitan opera star Geraldine Farrar) who falls for a bullfighter (Pedro de Cordoba of The Ghost Breakers), driving her jealous guardian (the doomed Wallace Reid) to murder. 56:30 mins.

The Cheat (1915) – Powerful melodrama about a two-timing wife (Broadway star Fanny Ward in her screen debut) who hooks up with a wealthy – and sadistic – Japanese ivory baron (Sessue Hayakawa of The Bridge on the River Kwai). 59 mins.

Disc Two

Joan the Woman (1916) – A soldier in World War I (Wallace Reid of The Affairs of Anatol) uncovers Joan of Arc’s sword, leading to her appearance (Geraldine Farrar of Carmen) in a vision and the telling of her life story. 133 mins.

The Romance of the Redwoods (1917) – A naive New England girl (the legendary Mary Pickford) moves out West and winds up falling for a stagecoach robber (Elliott Dexter of The Affairs of Anatol). 90 mins.

The Little American (1917) – Once again, the great Mary Pickford stars, this time as a young girl who finds herself pursued by a German-American (Jack Holt of San Francisco) and a French-American (Western star, Raymond Hatton) during World War One, leading to international intrigue. 65 mins.

Disc Three

Old Wives for New (1918) – An unhappy husband (Elliott Dexter of The Romance of the Redwoods) leaves his lazy wife (Sylvia Ashton of Greed) for a younger woman (King Vidor’s wife, Florence) who turns out to be involved in a murder! 71:30 mins.

The Whispering Chorus (1918) – An embezzler (Raymond Hatton of The Little American) assumes the identity of a dead man – but winds up being arrested for having murdered himself! Noah Beery Sr. (The Mark of Zorro) appears as a longshoreman. 81 mins.

Don’t Change Your Husband (1918) – A DeMille comedy with Gloria Swanson as a frustrated housewife who divorces her slob of a husband (Elliott Dexter of Flaming Youth) and marries another (Lew Cody of Dishonored), only to find she’s gone from the frying pan into the fire. 79 mins.

Male and Female (1919) – Turning from comedy to a DeMille drama, Gloria Swanson is a spoiled rich girl who learns about the qualities that really matter when she’s shipwrecked with her resourceful butler (Thomas Meighan of The Miracle Man). 115 mins.

Disc Four

Why Change Your Wife? (1920) – Another comedy in which Gloria Swanson – in a variation of Don’t Change Your Husband – is the wife who is divorced by her frustrated husband (Thomas Meighan again) after he meets the lovely Bebe Daniels (42nd Street). 91 mins.

The Affairs of Anatol (1921) – This time, both husband and wife are two-timing each other in this DeMille comedy that features the ill-fated Wallace Reid (who had little more than a year to live) and, once again, Bebe Daniels. 117 mins.

Manslaughter (1922) – A thrill-seeking society girl (John Gilbert’s wife, Leatrice Joy) causes the death of a motorcycle cop (Jack Mower of Dark Victory) and winds up sent to prison by her prosecutor-fiancé (once again, Thomas Meighan) who later descends into alcoholism. 100 mins.

Disc Five

The Road to Yesterday (1925) – A frustrated wife (Jetta Goudal of The Cardboard Lover) realizes the reason she’s sexually dysfunctional with her husband (Joseph Schildkraut of The Life of Emile Zola) is that in an earlier life, during the reign of Elizabeth I, she was a gypsy who was burned at the stake. Future Hopalong Cassidy William Boyd is a supporting player. 107 mins.

The Volga Boatman (1926) – A Russian Revolution tale concerning a princess (Elinor Fair of The Miracle Man) who is engaged to a prince (Victor Varconi of The King of Kings), but falls in love with a peasant (once again, William Boyd). Boyd’s marriage proposal in the film became his actual proposal to future wife, Fair! 120 mins.

BONUS FEATURES

Miss Lulu Bett (1921) – Cecil B. DeMille’s brother, William, directed this powerful drama, based on the Pulitzer-Prize-winning play about a young woman (Lois Wilson of Bright Eyes) who discovers that she’s married to a man (Clarence Burton of The King of Kings) who is already married. 71 mins. (Wm)

DeMille Newsreels

Interviews With: Charlton Heston John Hart A.C. Lyles


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Dustin Farnum, Monroe Salisbury, Fannie Ward, Sessue Hayakawa, Jack Dean
  • Directors: Cecil B. DeMille, Joseph Levering, Oscar Apfel, William C. de Mille
  • Writers: Cecil B. DeMille, Alice Duer Miller, Arthur Schnitzler, Beulah Marie Dix
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Passport
  • DVD Release Date: June 12, 2007
  • Run Time: 1622 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000O76Q0C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,394 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Cecil B. Demille Classics Collection" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Thus although Demille's film is moral it does not moralize.
Mr Peter G George
That being said, folks who are buying big TVs and watching Blu-Ray may end up with a bad taste in their mouth.
Alex B. Parrish
This SILENT film is presented with its original COLOR TINTING!
Michael Anthony Brenton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mr Peter G George on March 17, 2001
Format: DVD
The Affairs of Anatol, although concerned with adultery, is really quite a moral film. Anatol de Witt Spencer has the best of intentions with regard to the three women, other than his wife, who he is involved with. His affairs, at least in terms of what is seen, don't amount to more than a lustful look and a kiss. Nevertheless the film depicts a world which Hollywood would soon be unable to show. Later censorship would not allow a character called Satan Synne who is obviously a prostitute and it certainly would not allow us to see her invite Anatol into her bedroom.
The episode concerning Satan Synne is the best of the film. This is partly because she is played by Bebe Daniels. Anyone who has seen 42nd Street will recognise Daniels as the star who sprains her ankle. She was an important silent actress and her beauty allows her to convincingly portray a temptress known as `The wickedest woman in New York.' Satan Synne is a wonderful character and fascinating not because of her supposed wickedness, but because Demille shows her in such a sympathetic light. Thus although Demille's film is moral it does not moralize. It does not condemn the world it shows.
The film, as a whole, is entertaining and very interesting, but it does not quite attain greatness. Anatol comes across as just a little too naïve to be completely believable, while his wife, played by Gloria Swanson, lacks understanding and is seen to be simply spiteful. The viewer is left wondering what her problem is, and thus at times her actions lack motivation and justification. This means that she is a less sympathetic character than she ought to be.
The Affairs of Anatol is a good film, but one of the main reasons to see it is that the print presented on the DVD is quite superb.
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68 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 22, 2007
Format: DVD
There's nothing illegal about this offering, since all of the films are in the public domain, but it is VERY sleazy. The publishers have effectively stolen the hard work and expenses of the man who brought these films to video -- David Shepherd, who releases his films through Image Entertainment. Supporting this kind of PD "bootleg" will severely diminish the chances of other rare films being restored for DVD.

Waldo
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jack on November 19, 2007
Format: DVD
The good news is that sixteen early Cecil B. DeMille features have been made available in a DVD boxed set, many of them for the first and only time, at a reasonable price, and at least one of them (The Volga Boatman) is worth the price of the entire package. But there's plenty of bad news. Image quality varies tremendously, from unacceptable (The Road to Yesterday) to excellent (The Volga Boatman), most of them falling in the middle ground a lot of viewers have long been trained to describe as "acceptable" or "better than nothing". The canned musical scores run the gamut from inappropriate (Rimsky-Korsakov for Joan the Woman!) to miscued (Romance of the Redwoods). Color tinting and toning, which enhanced the films at the time of their original release, and which still adds to their visual impact today, if properly utilized, is totally absent. Bottom line: serious film enthusiasts should seek better copies elsewhere; Image Entertainment has already released several of them in far superior, but more expensive, versions. But since most of them have not yet made available by more reputable sources, these will have to do until something better hopefully comes along. On the other hand, if you want to save money, and only plan to give the films a single viewing, this provides a fast and cheap fix, an easy way to get them under your belt. However, it is not, repeat NOT, a good way to introduce silent filmmaking to an uneducated viewer, and most certainly an inadequate and unworthy representation of a legendary filmmaker.
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69 of 87 people found the following review helpful By K. Lundy on April 18, 2007
Format: DVD
The versions of deMille's silent films that appear on this product are those preserved and prepared for video by Film Preservation Associates and they are used here WITHOUT permission or blessing of Film Preservation Associates. Please don't reward those who steal the work of others.
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46 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Darren M. Nemeth on April 25, 2007
Format: DVD
This type of bargin bin video is the kind that has given Silent Film a bad name.

This DVD set poorly presents another video company's video releases, too.

Some of the movies are even sourced from old VHS tapes.

Absolute junk.

This boxed set will turn off any first time viewer of silent films.

I recommend to just stay away from this.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robert M. Fells on November 14, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
THE AFFAIRS OF ANATOL is one of the great but elusive silents from the early 1920s that turn up only as tantalizing photos in film books. So it is a real joy to discover a tinted and toned print on DVD with a serviceable new music score. The film also provides an opportunity to view the sophisticated work of Cecil B. DeMille when he was still very much of a creative film-maker and before he settled into the "cotton candy" purveyor of comic book-type films of the sound era.
Perhaps the spendid visual quality of some recent DVD silent film releases has spoiled me, but as all silent film buffs know, the flesh tones in silents are crucial. When the actors all look as though their make-up is white flour, you know you're watching a print a few generations removed from a good original. Since the liner notes claim that ANATOL was taken from a 35 mm. original - hence the elaborate stenciling, tinting and toning - I was shocked at the rather muddy pictorial quality and dead white faces of the actors. It's still a wonderful film but the disapponting visual quality will limit its appeal to established silent film buffs. It's tough sledding for others.
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