Manslaughter (1922, dir. Cecil B. DeMille) (via)
Notable moments in pre-Code Hollywood: The Sign of the Cross (1932), in which Cecil B. DeMille re-created in sadistic detail the excesses of the “Arena Games” in Nero’s Rome.
Highlights include gladiator vs. bear wrestling matches, Amazonian women beheading pygmies, and sexy Christian martyrs getting served up to crocodiles, lions, and gorillas for the entertainment of spectators (many of these scenes were cut by censors after the Production Code went into effect, but have since been restored).
Giant killer squid vs. John Wayne and Ray Milland in Reap the Wild Wind (1942, dir. Cecil B. DeMille)
Jacqueline Logan as Mary Magdalene tries to fight off the temptations of “Lust” (right) & “Greed” (left) and the other Seven Deadly Sins in The King of Kings (1927, dir. Cecile B. DeMille).
We’ve all been there, Mary.
Hedy Lamarr & Victor Mature in Samson & Delilah (1949, dir. Cecil B. DeMille)
In her lively 1967 autobiography, Ecstasy and Me: My Life as a Woman, Hedy Lamarr recalls having cocktails at Romanoff’s with a sleazy talent scout (whom she pseudonymously refers to as Sidney), who tries to seduce her by offering her an audience with Cecil B. DeMille, who was in the process of casting Samson and Delilah.
“C.B.’s a genius at those things,” Sidney says, “By the time he’s through spreading the money and talent around, every man in the world will want to screw the heroine of that particular biblical drama. It’s a natural; a guy with muscles, a broad with virginity.”
“Who plays Samson?” Lamarr asked.
“They’re thinking of Victor Mature. But who cares? It’s only a body to set you off in the ruins. Muscles and tits sugarcoated with religion. It’s for you.”
As repulsed as Lamarr was by Sidney’s vulgar approach to filmmaking, she bit the carrot and met with the director. A few days later, the role was hers.
Later, Lamarr’s agent echoed Sidney’s sentiments, “C.B. is brilliant. When it comes to sex and spectacle, no one can tear down a temple and tear off a piece at one and the same time like he can. When he sells sex, sister, people buy because he wraps it in fancy paper with pink ribbons.”
-Bret Wood, TCM (via)