In his recent biography of Cecil B. DeMille, Empire of Dreams, Scott Eyman points out: "[...] DeMille's images became part of cinema's DNA, and, as already noted, many of his plots had a strange way of turning up in later years as well. As the film historian Robert Birchard pointed out, The Little American is clearly a forerunner to aspects of Rex Ingrams The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse; characterizing a relationship at a dinner table is most famously done by Orson Welles in Citizen Kane, but DeMille did it first in Something To Think About; in The Ten Commandments, a dying Nita Naldi pulls a curtain off its rings, which Hitchcock—a great DeMille admirer—lifted for Janet Leigh's death throes in Psycho."
During the Q&A at an event at the Museum of the Moving Image, the critic Dave Kehr (whose new book When Movies Mattered is a complete must-own), riffing on what I call the Ecclesiastes theory of the arts (e.g., the notion that there really IS nothing new under the sun), described the galvanic effect of watching the Blu-ray of the 1923 DeMille Ten Commandments (available, at the moment, only, alas, in the super-duper deluxe gift edition that Kehr considers in his DVD review column in the New York Times Arts & Leisure section today, which I'd link to except I think that pay firewall's gone up already) and seeing the curtain-ring effect executed nearly four decades before Hitchcock recalled it, lifted it, and, let's face it, immortalized it in a way that its original did not. Dave admiringly enthused that Hitchcock was a real "magpie" with a near-photographic memory. Here is the sequence of shots from the '23 film; the murderer is Rod La Rocque.
And Psycho, 1960:
Hitchcock, writing in 1965 for the Encyclopedia Britannica: "Given the skill that permits a man to direct, skills shared in varying degrees, perhaps the most significant and individually important thing about a director is his style. This style is evidenced by both his choice of subject and his manner of directing it. Important directors are known for their style. The record speaks of Ernst Lubitsch as having a style characterized by cinematic wit, of the pictorial quip. Charlie Chaplin is spoken of as having a style, and it is interesting to notice that it was his incursion into dramatic direction in A Woman of Paris that seemed to crystallize this style. [...] On the whole, style was slower to manifest itself in U.S. pictures, always excepting the extravaganzas of C.B. DeMille and the works of Griffith and Ince."