Silent Feature: Forbidden Fruit


Studio: A Paramount-Artcraft Picture
Released: February 13, 1921

Featured Cast: Agnes Ayres, Theodore Roberts

Producer-director: Cecil B. DeMille
Screenwriter: Jeanie Macpherson
Art director: Wilfred Buckland
Cinematographers: Alvin Wyckoff, Karl Struss
Costumes: Natacha Rambova, Mitchell Leisen, Clare West
Editor: Anne Bauchens


An unhappy woman finds escape in the Cinderella story.

Production Quotes

“Barely six years ago, I made fourteen pictures in a single year. Today, working just as hard or harder, I find that I can only turn out three pictures in the same length of time. But the three pictures that I make today draw more patronage than the entire fourteen of six years ago.”

– Cecil B. DeMille in Motion Picture News, December 1920


“Forbidden Fruit is melodrama, and in less artistic hands could have been made a painful joke. But DeMille has interpolated, as a sort of pictorial obligato, the story of Cinderella in a fashion probably never attained before. The photography here and all through the picture is flawless, the lightings exquisite.”

– The Weekly Variety, January 28, 1921

Letters From Regional Theater Owners

“A great picture. Just grand.”

– D.R. Thombuy, Paramount Theatre, Nebraska City, Nebraska, Exhibitors Herald, Vol. XIII, No. 1 (July 2, 1921)

Artist Comment

“Agnes Ayres came to me when I was making Forbidden Fruit. I had started the picture with a good actress, but she was miscast. Agnes had personality and great beauty, but a lot of terrible mannerisms. Of course, coming into my picture on the heels of a woman who had been a complete failure, Agnes realized just what she had to combat, but knowing it made her terribly nervous.”

– Cecil B. DeMille, from an unsourced 1932 interview


Forbidden Fruit cost $339,752.00 and grossed $848,121.87.
(These figures have not been adjusted for inflation nor do they include the considerable profits realized from reissues, television syndication, and home entertainment formats.)