Empire of Dreams
The Epic Life of Cecil B. DeMille
• Hollywood history: Cecil B. DeMille was among the earliest filmmakers who discovered some of the biggest stars in film, including Gloria Swanson, Claudette Colbert, and later, Charlton Heston. DeMille’s greatest successes came with biblical spectacles, notably The Ten Commandments and King of Kings . When he finally won an Academy Award for best picture with The Greatest Show on Earth, he had been making films for forty years.
• A fully realized portrait : DeMille has often been reduced to a caricature: a hack who made empty epic spectacles, a right-winger and McCarthy supporter during the blacklist, and a tyrannical director who abused his actors. Eyman instead presents a balanced account of a remarkably rich life.
• An authoritative biography : Scott Eyman is the first biographer to have access to DeMille’s letters and other personal papers for publication. Eyman settles for nothing less than the real man, as he did in his biographies of John Ford and Louis B. Mayer. The result is a unique history of Hollywood’s earliest years and the rediscovery of a major filmmaker.