Since the silent film days of D.W. Griffith, a handful of visionary directors have transcended the unheralded world behind the camera, and through the power of their personality and their body of work, have risen to full-fledged superstardom, often surpassing the stars who appeared in their films. The work of JOHN FORD, VINCENT MINNELLI, JOHN HUSTON, FRANK CAPRA, DAVID LEAN, MACK SENNETT, WILLIAM WYLER, and DAVID O. SELZNICK will certainly outlast many of the popular stars of the 30s, 40s and 50s. Three additional "auteurs" are represented here with a handful of their most memorable productions.
Cecil B. DeMille (1881-1959) bridges the silent era and the sound era of film history. His name is synonymous with the "epic" and if the film was bigger than all other films, chances are it was directed by DeMille. Cecil Blount DeMille was a showman and a crowd pleaser. Beginning with THE SQUAW MAN, in 1913, DeMille produced many of the great box office successes of the first half of the 20th century including, THE TEN COMMNDMENTS (1923), THE KING OF KINGS (1929), THE SIGN OF THE CROSS (1933), CLEOPATRA (1935), THE CRUSADES (1937), THE BUCCANEER (1939) and his 1956 remake of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. Although he was presented with honorary Oscars, his only official BEST PICTURE nod came in 1952 for his circus extravaganza, THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH. Time magazine described the film as "a mammoth merger of two masters of malarkey for the masses: P.T. Barnum and Cecil B. DeMille."
|Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) has been associated with the world of suspense and intrigue from his earliest British imports (THE LODGER, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, THE THIRTY NINE STEPS) to his first AMERICAN FILMS (REBECCA, SUSPICION, SHADOW OF A DOUBT, SABOTEUR). By the mid 1950s, his immense popularity, personality and years of being billed as the "Master of Suspense" had made him as big a box office draw as any star. In the 1960s, after a string of major hits including STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, VERTIGO, REAR WINDOW, and NORTH BY NORTHWEST, the studios were able to sell his films (PSYCHO, THE BIRDS, TORN CURTAIN) on the strength of his name alone.|
Steven Spielberg (1946 - ) represents the new breed of total filmmakers, such as Scorsese, Lucas and Coppola. These are creative and technically educated directors who invest a strong knowledge of film history in their work and have produced techniques and worlds unimaginable just 30 years ago. Spielberg made his mark with DUEL, a television film from 1971, and since that time, has generated a series of "event" films including JAWS (1975), CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977), RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981), E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982), THE COLOR PURPLE (1985), JURASSIC PARK (1993), and his Oscar winning SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993) and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998).