Under the dunes: lost film set to be part of the 100-year celebration of The Ten Commandments film.

By Adrian Vincent Rosas

Beneath the sands of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex lie many things.  From geomorphic rock compacted from years of pressure to lost jewelry, the dunes have much to hide.  But not many may be able to imagine what Raiza Giorgi describes as a critical part of Guadalupe’s history: The set of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments.  “It’s the biggest motion picture set ever to be built up to that point, [called] ‘the city of the pharaoh,’” the chief financial officer for the Central Coast Film Society said. “When the film was done, [DeMille] buried the set underneath the dunes and it became a legend until it was unearthed decades later.”  The 1923 film is celebrating its centennial this year, and the Central Coast Film Society and Lost City Celebration are partnering on a three-day event highlighting the role that lost set played in Hollywood history, the film’s impact, and the impact that the small town of Guadalupe had in its production.  “The film was written by Jeanie MacPherson and is in two parts, the Biblical Prologue and then the flashback to modern times (1920s) where the McTavish brothers look to the Old Testament as they grapple with business ethics and fight for the love of the same woman,” Giorgi said.  She noted that the biblical portion of the film was received well by audiences at the time, but the modern portion struggled—something that impacted DeMille when he remade the film in 1956...