The Cecil B. DeMille Collection

Cecil B. DeMille holds a film camera

Cecil B. DeMille

The Cecil B. DeMille collection includes a vast and varied collection of film material, which includes Mr. DeMille’s personal prints of almost all of the films he directed and produced.   The collection was given to the Academy Film Archive in 2004 by the Cecil B. DeMille Foundation through Mr. DeMille’s granddaughter, Cecilia DeMille Presley.  Mrs. Presley was also instrumental in helping the Archive process Mr. DeMille’s sizable personal film collection by lending her unique insight into her grandfather’s work.

In addition to DeMille’s professionally produced films, the collection is also home to fascinating footage showing DeMille in a more personal light. The collection includes home movies featuring scenes of the director and his children playing in the pool, celebrating birthdays, and fishing; many reels of behind-the-scenes footage of DeMille’s most famous films; and outtakes and test footage for both realized and unrealized projects. Mr. DeMille traveled extensively to research for his films, and some of his test footage captures locales such as Egypt and Mexico as they were in the 1940s and 1950s.

More about DeMille

At a time when most companies were shooting in New York and New Jersey, Mr. DeMille became one of the first filmmakers to mount productions in Hollywood. His first films, many of which survive in the DeMille Collection, showcased the untamed landscape around Los Angeles. DeMille soon emerged as a driving force in early Hollywood, turning his talents to lavish and opulent productions set in distant lands and times. Many of DeMille’s films helped change the rapidly developing art form. His influence over the world of filmmaking is also apparent in many of the nonfiction elements in the collection, including newsreels featuring stories about his travels, his work for the Hollywood community, and the dedication of the site of his first film shoot as a historical landmark.

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