"The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling," said Cecil B. DeMille in a speech a few months before he died. Few men had changed that art as drastically as he. Story and song, play and pageant have always demanded that the audience's imagination fill out the scene; DeMille and his Hollywood disciples left nothing to the imagination. His life was dedicated to manufactured magnificence; the "epic" was his trademark in a world that would never match its image on his movie screens.

But when vigorous old (77) Cecil Blount DeMille died of a heart attack in...

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