BABYLON: Big Screen Misrepresentation of History
By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher
The movie BABYLON contends it’s an accurate representation of the latter years of silent movies, but actually, just like other misconceptions of Hollywood, life was different than the small section of the movie industry that BABYLON obsesses over.
My father started starring in movies in 1926, and my mother starred in the first full-length talking picture. So, having grown up in the industry and having seen other misrepresentations such as the book HOLLYWOOD BABYLON, I’ve heard all my life the other side of the story.
There were many good people in Hollywood, including the beginning years of the silent movies in the 1890s when there were several passion plays made in the United States, in Germany and in France. Most of the movies up until the mid 1910s were morality stories, like THE PERILS OF PAULINE and Dudley Do-Right. “The Man Who Invented Hollywood” Col. William N. Selig focused on positive feature films with strong morals values consistent with his Roman Catholic faith.
As in any society, there are people who get involved in a debased, downward culture, which I did after my mother died when I was still young, from which Jesus Christ saved me, but there were more people who wanted to make movies that were wholesome and entertaining, like Cecil B. DeMille, whose father was a pastor and read to him from the New Testament, the Old Testament and great histories every day, with a half hour devoted to each area.
In fact, one of my favorite Jesus movies is Cecil B. DeMille’s 1927 silent movie, KING OF KINGS. Cecil was so concerned that his lead actor, H.B. Warner, would exemplify Christ-like virtue that he had guards around Warner and started each day of filming with a representative of a major Christian denomination praying over the production. DeMille was heartbroken at the end of the production when he found out is star decided to have an affair with the scriptwoman.
Like any society, there were people in Hollywood involved in illicit behavior as well as a lot of people who wanted to honor the Good, the True and the Beautiful, including Walt Disney, who was named after his father’s best friend, who was the preacher of the family’s congregational church when he grew up.
The problem with the movie BABYLON, like the book HOLLYWOOD BABYLON, is not just that both misrepresent Hollywood, but they defame the memory of many of the great stars of yesteryear, whom you can read about in several of our articles at www.movieguide.org.
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