Date: November 12, 1998
Contact: Margot Gerber
Tel.: 323/466-FILM ext. 115

Acclaimed musicologist Gillian Anderson to conduct a live orchestral World
Premiere performance of the film’s restored original score

Opening Festivities to be webcast by ITV Net!

Sponsored by Paramount Pictures

HOLLYWOOD – “The American Cinematheque is extremely proud to announce the
December 4th Grand Opening of its new home in the historic 1922 Egyptian
Theatre,” Cinematheque president Sigurjon Joni Sighvatsson stated today.
The completion of construction and renovation will be celebrated on December
4, 1998 with an “invitation only” 75th anniversary, vintage premiere of
Cecil B. DeMille’s silent classic, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1923, 134 min.,
Paramount). The film will be presented with the World Premiere of the
restored original orchestral score under the direction of acclaimed
musicologist Gillian Anderson. Following the private opening night event,
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS will screen for the public on Saturday, December 5th
with a 7:00 pm reception prior to the 8:00 pm screening; Sunday, December
6th at 2:00 pm; Monday, December 7th at 8:00 pm; and Tuesday, December 8th
at 8:00 pm. Artifacts from the actual sets of the film were recently
excavated after having been buried in the California desert for nearly 80
years and will be on display during the engagement.
( Opening night festivities will be webcast by ITV Net.
Guests of the opening night invitation only premiere will step back in time
to experience the film touted in the 1923 press as the - “feature of all
features” and a film “fifty years ahead of its time” that “would never
die” – exactly as Sid Grauman’s guests did on December 4, 1923. The theatre
dedication and screening will be followed by a 1920’s gala inspired by the
lavish premieres orchestrated by impresario Sid Grauman. Approaching the
Egyptian, guests will stroll past vintage automobiles and will be introduced
to “silent film stars” and “ancient Egyptians” flanking the red carpet. A
Vintage “Parade of Fashion” hosted by Time After Time Vintage Boutique; a
1920’s dance exhibition; and dancing under the stars to the strains of Art
Deco and His Society Orchestra will highlight this historic evening.
Egyptian or 1920’s inspired attire is preferred. Gala Sponsors include
Absolut, Crystal Geyser, Grolsch, New Zealand Steinlager.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS: Told in two parts, Cecil B. DeMille produced and
directed this epic silent film with Estelle Taylor, Theodore Roberts, Charles de Roche, Richard Dix and Leatrice Joy in 1923. The first part (shot in two-color
Technicolor) relates the biblical tale adapted from the Book of Exodus of
the prophet, Moses leading the Children of Israel from bondage under the
Egyptian Pharoahs into the Promised Land. Things go awry when Moses goes to
Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments from God and the Israelites
renounce their faith to worship the Golden Calf. The second part (shot in
black and white) is a modern-day parable reflecting the efficacy of the Ten
Commandments in peoples' everyday lives. Here, two brothers -- one a saint,
the other a sinner – are in love with the same girl. DeMille remade the
film in 1956 with Charlton Heston.
THE SCORE: Gillian Anderson, specializes in American music and film music
and has conducted throughout the United States and Europe, South America and
Canada. Her performances have been described as "triumphant" (The
Washington Post), "extraordinary" (Edward Rothstein, The New York Times) and
"an enormously involving experience" (Tom Di Nardo, Philadelphia Daily
News). She has participated in the restoration and reconstruction of the
original orchestral scores written to accompany twenty one of the great
silent films and has conducted them in synchronization with their projection
at many important film festivals, universities and performing arts centers
with many symphony orchestras.
THE BUILDING: In the mid-90’s, the most natural setting for the American
Cinematheque’s permanent location became available. The Egyptian Theatre,
built by the legendary Sid Grauman and designed by architects Meyer and
Holler, opened in 1922. It was home to the very first Hollywood movie
premiere and was known as the theater “where the stars see the movies.”
Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Barbara LaMarr, Norma and
Constance Talmadge, Jesse Lasky, Lillian Gish, Fred Niblo and many other
Hollywood pioneers were frequent guests at premieres. Renovated in the late
‘50s, the theatre continued as a first run venue into the ‘90s. While
respecting the historic fabric of the renowned national landmark, the design
concept of the Cinematheque renovation of the Egyptian complex includes a
restaurant, book and magazine sales and patio in the courtyard area off
Hollywood Boulevard which is intended to welcome pedestrians and encourage
audiences to stay after screenings to talk and mingle. The original entrance
portico is restored with the ticket booths and four massive columns as well
as the original Egyptian motif sunburst-ceiling. The design for the main
600-seat auditorium encompasses a state-of-the-art theatre within a historic
shell. A 1922 Wurlitzer theatre organ will be installed by Spring ’99 for
silent film presentations. The project also includes a 75-seat theater,
expanded lobby and Board Room. Hodgetts + Fung are the project architects
and Turner Construction is the contractor.
This stunning architectural landmark brings the legacy of grand movie
palaces into the new millenium, by utilizing state-of-the-art technology at
work within a historic shell. The Egyptian Theatre is rich with
possibilities for a feature article on historic theaters; the restoration of
Los Angeles/Hollywood landmarks; new attractions in Southern California or
the revitalization of the city of Hollywood.
AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE: The Egyptian Theatre is the permanent home of the
critically acclaimed American Cinematheque, a 14-year-old non-profit arts
organization that provides Los Angeles audiences with year-round film series featuring rare and unusual films from
all over the world, plus, an opportunity to meet the filmmakers who created
the work. Film lovers will be treated to nightly film programs that range
from Hollywood classics (including silent films presented with live
accompaniment on our Wurlitzer organ) to new films from all over the
globe -- including American Independent films from emerging directors and
work rendered using state-of-the-art new media. During the day, the venue
will be open to tourists and residents to tour. A film directed by Todd
McCarthy (VISIONS OF LIGHT, HOLLYWOOD MAVERICKS) and produced by Sasha
Alpert, about the history of Hollywood – the place and the movies -- will
screen several times daily at the Egyptian. The Egyptian will be an
ever-evolving monument to cinema, in the city identified worldwide as the
place where movies are made!
TICKETS: Advance tickets to the December 5-8, 1998 performances of THE TEN
COMMANDMENTS are on sale until 5:00 pm on Monday, November 30th. Tickets are
$75 for Dec. 5th screening/reception. Tickets for December 6th, 7th and 8th
are $25 for American Cinematheque Members; $35 for Students/Seniors; and $45
for the general public. To order advance tickets 24 hours/day, please call
323.466.3456, ext. 3. For information call ext. 2. Tickets will be available
at the box office December 5-8, subject to availability.
LOCATION/PARKING/ACCESS: The Egyptian Theatre is located at 6712 Hollywood
Boulevard between McCadden Place and Las Palmas Avenue. Selma Avenue runs
east/west south of the theatre. Parking is available in adjacent lots on Las
Palmas and McCadden, south of Hollywood Boulevard and on Cherokee (1 blk.
East of Las Palmas, just north of Hollywood Boulevard). The Cherokee lot is
free for the first two hours. Due to Metro Rail construction on Hollywood
Boulevard it is advisable to take Selma, Franklin or other alternative
routes. The theatre is handicap accessible.
INTERVIEWS: Musicologist/Conductor Gillian Anderson will be in LA beginning
November 30th and is available for interviews about her exhaustive quest to
restore the original TEN COMMANDMENTS score. The architects and Barbara
, Director of the Cinematheque are also available as well as members of
the Board of Directors.
PRESS SCREENINGS: There will be a press preview screening of THE TEN
COMMANDMENTS at the Egyptian Theatre on Thursday, December 3rd, time at 7:30 pm. To RSVP for
this screening please call 323.466.3456, ext. 114. If this is too late for
your deadline, please note that Paramount Home Video released the film with
a Gaylord Carter organ score. We are planning an early theatrical press
screening of the film without the live orchestra. Call for details.
PRESS CREDENTIALS: Press who wish to cover the Dec. 4th Grand Opening event
can fax requests to Margot Gerber at 323.461.9737. Requests will not be
considered if they do not adhere to the following guidelines: 1) Request
must be written on the letterhead of the media outlet you wish to cover for.
2) The name of the actual photographer/crew members that will attend the
event and as much contact info. 3) The name of the assignment editor, photo
agency contact, etc. (if there is one). 3) A description of your request
(i.e. arrivals, party, etc.) 4) If your outlet is not widely known in Los
Angeles, please give a briefpage 4- Egyptian Theatre description. Include as much contact info. as possible (local phone, fax,
address, e-mail).
AN ACTUAL ASSIGNMENT from a print, electronic or broadcast outlet. (For
example: Photographer Lois Lane from Kryptonite photo agency will shoot for
The Daily Planet newspaper.) Receipt of this fax does NOT mean that you have
been cleared to cover the event. You will receive notification of your
ACCESS the week of November 30th via phone or fax. Tip sheets will be
available after November 30th.
PHOTOS & PRESS KITS: There is extensive information/photos about the
American Cinematheque and the Egyptian Theatre Project on our website which
can be accessed at or Photos of the theatre, the architectural
model and Cinematheque executives available upon request as well as complete
press kits. For further information about the American Cinematheque and the
Egyptian Project please call Margot Gerber at 213.466.3456, ext. 115.

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