September 5, 1946
Mr. Cecil B. de Mille
Dear Mr. de Mille:
You complained once that I make my books too long for you to read. Well, here is a short one—and if you really like my writing, I hope you will read this yourself, not in synopsis form.
This is my contribution to the cause of freedom—and perhaps it could also be yours. I would like you to consider most earnestly the possibility of making it into a picture.
There are few producers in Hollywood who would have the courage and imagination for this, but I think you would. I see it as a picture on the grand scale, as a dramatic fantasy, on the order of the magnificent spectacles which you made in the silent days. It would be completely different from any picture made now. It would be an artistic and dramatic event of world significance, and I don’t have to point out to you what the political importance of it would be.
Of course, if you are interested, I would have to expand the story into greater detail, and give it a more complex plot; perhaps, add a modern story to it, running parallel, showing our present-day trends and their ultimate counterparts in the story of the future—using the method you used in “The Ten Commandments”. But, first, I would like to know whether such an idea and theme would appeal to you.
You have asked my opinion on what we could do to save America from collectivism. This is my answer. Since we have a tremendous medium such as the screen at our command—we should use it, if we want to serve our cause and our country. We should use it openly, dramatically, full blast. Organizations, speeches or editorials are almost futile, when compared to the power of the screen in presenting ideas and reaching the conscience of people.
This is my way of fighting our battle. I hope it might be yours. I think you and I are destined to make a picture together someday, and I would like it to be “ANTHEM”.
I will be very interested to hear your reaction.
In March 1947, AR received a letter from DeMille’s assistant, expressing DeMille’s praise for Anthem and suggesting she contact his niece Agnes de Mille about producing a ballet based on the story.