More Background...

"The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille" began as a filmmaking enterprise: "Let's dig up a 1923 film set and make a movie about it."

It seemed like a good idea to a handful of young filmmakers in 1983. They never could have guessed their dream would take nearly 30 years to be realized. But in 2012, with funding from an independent "angel," an archaeological excavation of the site finally took place. What that excavation found is at the exciting climax of "The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille."

Because the filmmakers began their work in the 1980's, they were able to capture interviews with many of the people - actors, writers, chariot drivers and extras - who worked with DeMille in 1923. They also filmed interviews with people who worked on the second version of The Ten Commandments (the 1956 version with Charlton Heston).

The two versions of The Ten Commandments were like bookends on the remarkable career of Cecil B. DeMille. The documentary tells the story of these two films, interwoven with the story of the archaeological excavation of the site, as well as the incredible obstacles the project faced.

"The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille" is now showing at film festivals.


"… What an extraordinary story. I thought I knew all there was to
know about Peter Brosnan's discovery of the Ten Commandments
set in the California desert, but I was wrong. While documenting
his obsessive, thirty-year odyssey he also traces Cecil B. DeMille's
fascinating saga. The result is a rare combination of film and cultural history."
--- Leonard Maltin

"… a journey as epic as DeMille's "Ten Commandments"

"… the stuff of Hollywood legends… "
--- The Washington Times

"… Part detective story, part 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark', and part 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington'… "
--- Santa Barbara International Film Festival review

"… an astonishing story - but then I can't understand people devoting their lives to something like a film, can you?!"
--- Kevin Brownlow

"… absolutely captivating... one can't be making this stuff up!"
--- --- James D'Arc, Curator, BYU Motion Picture Archive Series

"… surprisingly dramatic..."
--- Santa Barbara Independent

"… a film buff's delight, bringing old Hollywood's past to life and recounting a kind of obsession that Herzog might admire..."
--- Glasgow International Film Festival

Was "The Ten Commandments" the "Titanic" of the silent era?

"Ten Commandments" Stats

Height of the set - 120 feet
Width of the set - 720 feet
Statuary in the set - 1,000,000 pounds
Number of construction workers employed - 1,500
Lumber in the set - 500,000 feet
Amount of nails - 25,000 pounds
Amount of reinforcing cables - 75 miles

Number of actors on the site - 3,500
Number of cooks - 125
Number of sandwiches per day - 7,500
Number of oranges per day - 2,500
Number of apples per day - 2,500
Number of chariots built for the film - 300
Number of animals on the site - 5,000
Number of pounds of hay per day - 20,000
Number of pounds of manure per day - Plenty

* "The Ten Commandments" is available on home video. Click HERE for Paramount's website.

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