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Abstract

In his paper, "The Old Story Teller as a John the Baptist-figure in DeMille's Samson and Delilah," Anton Karl Kozlovic argues that DeMille is a pop culture professional, an unsung auteur, and the father of the US-American biblical epic whose production and direction of Samson and Delilah (1949) is a masterful exercise in sacred subtext construction. In the public's eyes, Samson is a saintly hero, but scripturally speaking, he is notoriously bad as the last of the twelve judges overseeing the downward spiral of Israel's religio-political disintegration. DeMille, as Hollywood’s leading cinematic lay preacher, enhanced deliberately the sanctity of his film by engineering many sacred subtexts into it to create "thick" religion. In particular, he designed the old Story Teller as a John the Baptist-figure to point the way to his construction of Samson as a Christ-figure. Kozlovic identifies elements of this Baptist sacred subtext and concludes that DeMille's skilfulness at engineering sacred subtexts made him the undisputed doyen of US-American biblical cinema and ensured his phenomenal box-office success.

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