Author: Robert Hammond

Publisher: New Way Press (August 4, 2012)

ISBN-10: 0615680550

ISBN-13: 978-0615680552


On the first page of C.B. DeMille: The Man Who Invented Hollywood, Robert Hammond claims:"

The following work combines satire, historical fiction, creative nonfiction, apocryphal accounts, allegory, parable, fable, urban legend, mythology, poetic license, scholarly research, fair use, works in the public domain, and the author’s fertile imagination. Although inspired by the real life and work of the visionary director Cecil B. DeMille, certain situations, characterizations, and conversations were created for literary entertainment and educational purposes.

That’s a tall order for a book of 160 pages. In fact, as it’s such a fast read, I’m not sure “book” or “novel” fit the bill—perhaps novela or novelette are closer to describing the story. 

In fact, The man Who Invented Hollywood is a series of fast-cut scenes with minimal description, the characters are only briefly sketched, and the episodes are so hit-and-run that their importance is often only implied. Of course, there’s something to be said for word economy and impressionistic scriptwriting techniques. But a chapter can consist of Cecil B. DeMille entering an office, getting word he has a budget approved for a film—chapter over. Or a chapter begins with DeMille’s wife returning after a separation by walking in the door, sending the children to bed, inviting her husband to follow her to the bedroom—chapter over.

The story is ostensibly that of film director Cecil B. DeMille from the beginning of his career through his death and his first steps into the afterlife. In very few pages, DeMille moves his family to the West Coast, starts a movie, duels with mogul Adolph Zukor, has several affairs, and yells at extras and cameramen through his megaphone. He invented Hollywood? How? As compared to whom?

Cecil B. DeMille: The Man Who Invented Hollywood is an entertaining read that will take less time to read than watching any of the master’s films. However, you may feel you just heard and saw a trailer for an epic. Or perhaps a shortened radio adaptation of a two hour movie. Intriguing, appetite whetting, but only a taste of the full script.


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