The Construction of Samson’s Three Lovers in Cecil B. DeMille’s Technicolor Testament, Samson and Delilah (1949)

Anton Karl Kozlovic

Abstract


Epic showman Cecil B. DeMille cofounded Hollywood and became a master of the American biblical epic who constructed his Judeo-Christian characters with great care; yet, his artistic efforts were frequently ignored, devalued, or dismissed. Thus, he is in need of reputation restoration alongside highlighting the pedagogic value of a pop culture approach to religion studies. Consequently, the critical literature was selectively reviewed and Samson and Delilah (1949) closely examined utilizing humanist film criticism as the guiding analytical lens to explicate the construction of Samson’s three lovers, namely: (1) Delilah (Hedy Lamarr), (2) Semadar (Angela Lansbury) and (3) Miriam (Olive Deering). It was concluded that DeMille was a far defter biblical filmmaker than hitherto appreciated. Further research into DeMille studies, biblical epics and the emerging interdisciplinary field of religion-and-film is highly warranted, warmly recommended and already long overdue.

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