With the advent of the Great Depression in 1929, Hollywood companies cut back on expensive productions and road shows. These practices were revived in the early 1930s, establishing a cross-generic trend toward what Tino Balio calls ''prestige pictures'' (pp. 179-211). However, although many prestige pictures were top-of-the-range costume films of one kind or another (adaptations of classic literature, biopics, swashbucklers, and the like), very few were made and road shown on the scale of the silent superspecial. Fewer still were biblical films and films with ancient-world settings. Cecil B. DeMille (1881-1959), who had produced and directed The Ten Commandments and The King ofKings in the silent era,
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