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George Stevens DIRECTOR


George Stevens, an American cinematographer, director, writer, producer, and even actor, is known to have been a brilliant craftsman that helped shaped Hollywood into the great movie capital it is today. His tender touch with actors, as well as his talented gift for film composition, put him at the top during his time of employment. His three Best Director Oscar nominations and two wins, really show the true merit of his work.

George Cooper Stevens was born December 18, 1904, in Oakland, California to stage actors Landers Stevens and Georgie Cooper. Growing up, he was entangled in the dramatic arts, touring around with his parents and his two brothers. As well, at age five he debuted on the stage of his parents’ company, Ye Liberty Playhouse. Later on, he appeared in two movies, “The Tigress” (1915) and “Whispers” (1920). Stevens also became interested in photography. Upon his move to Hollywood at age seventeen, he found a job at the Hal Roach Studios as an assistant cameraman. Often times, he was asked to help film Laurel and Hardy shorts such as his first, “Roughest Africa” (1923), as well as others like “Slipping Wives” (1927) and “Below Zero” (1930). He was also involved in feature films, including the westerners “No Man’s Law” (1925) and “The Devil’s Horse” (1926). The cinematographer’s final short was “Flirting in the Park” (1933), but he went on to shoot three more works after: the documentaries “George Stevens World War II Footage” (1946), “George Stevens: D-Day to Berlin” (1994), and finally, “D-Day: The Color Footage” (1999).

Eventually, Stevens also began writing, beginning with the comedy short “Doctor’s Orders” (1930). He wrote a total of fourteen shorts, the last one being “Grin and Bear It” in 1933. He only helped write two more times after, for the comedy “Nitwits” in 1935 and the biographical historical drama “The Greatest Story Ever Told” in 1965. Additionally, Stevens started to direct pictures, his debut being the comedy short “Ladies Last” (1930). In 1931, he was dismissed from Hal Roach and moved to Universal, then RKO Studios, to direct more comedy shorts, even though he later admitted to have loathed two-reel comedies. Stevens directed a number of shorts like “Call a Cop!” (1931), “Boys Will Be Boys” (1932), and “Strictly Fresh Yeggs” (1934), as well as a handful of films such as “A Divorce Courtship” (1933), “The Cohens and Kellys in Trouble” (1933), and “Ocean Swells” (1934), before being promoted by RKO in 1934 to directing almost strictly full length features.

Following several medium-budget movies, Stevens got his big break with the Katharine Hepburn “A” picture, “Alice Adams” (1935). The director created his first classic the following year, the sixth Astaire-Rogers musical installation, “Swing Time” (1936). His past camera experience lent well to the overall atmosphere of the picture, allowing emotion to be injected into film’s every movement.  He again directed Hepburn in his subsequent feature, “Quality Street” (1937). Producing and directing 1938’s romantic comedy “Vivacious Lady”, Stevens’ career only got better from that point on. His succeeding films included the classic Rudyard Kipling poem based war adventure “Gunga Din” (1939), romantic drama “Penny Serenade” (1941), and comedies, “Woman of the Year” (1942), “The Talk of the Town” (1942), and “The More the Merrier” (1943). All of these, with the exception of “Woman of the Year” (1942), were also produced by Stevens.

Enlisting in the Army Signal Corps from 1944 to 1946, the director was in charge of the combat motion picture unit. He filmed the Normandy landings, as well as the liberations of Paris and the Nazi death camp Dachau, to such great painstaking precision and with such extensive personal emotion that he was awarded the Legion of Merit for his services. Much of the evidence he captured in his pictures was used during the Nuremburg Trials, and some of his footage is saved in the United States National Film Registry. After the war, Stevens produced and directed his very last RKO and semi-comedic effort, “I Remember Mama” (1948), and then relocated to Paramount for one of his most famous, “A Place in the Sun” (1951). It was a contemporary adaptation of Theodore Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy” and won the director his first Oscar win.

During the fifties, Stevens’ movie releases became far less and in between. The decade only saw four additional films: the drama “Something to Live For” (1952), his second Best Director Academy Award winning feature, “Shane” (1953), the three hour epic based off of Edna Ferber’s Texas themed novel, “Giant” (1956), and America’s first picture that dealt with the Holocaust, “The Diary of Anne Frank” (1959). The sixties brought only one unsuccessful movie, “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965), which followed the life of Jesus Christ. His final film, Elizabeth Taylor’s “The Only Game in Town” (1970), also proved to be a critical and box-office failure. Stevens died on March 8, 1975 in Lancaster, California. For his achievements, he was bestowed a Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Oscars, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Directors Guild of America, and a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1999       D-Day: The Color Footage 

1994       George Stevens: D-Day to Berlin

1970       The Only Game in Town 

1965       The Greatest Story Ever Told 

1959       The Diary of Anne Frank 

1956       Giant

1953       Shane

1952       Something to Live For 

1951       A Place in the Sun 

1948       I Remember Mama 

1948       On Our Merry Way   

1946       George Stevens World War II Footage

1945       The Nazi Plan 

1945       Nazi Concentration Camps 

1945       That Justice Be Done 

1943       The More the Merrier 

1942       The Talk of the Town 

1942       Woman of the Year

1941       Penny Serenade 

1940       Vigil in the Night 

1939       Gunga Din 

1938       Vivacious Lady 

1937       A Damsel in Distress 

1937       Quality Street

1936       Swing Time 

1935       Annie Oakley 

1935       Alice Adams 

1935       The Nitwits 

1935       Laddie 

1935       Hunger Pains 

1934       Kentucky Kernels

1934       Bachelor Bait 

1934       Hollywood Party 

1934       Cracked Shots 

1934       The Undie-World 

1934       Bridal Bail 

1934       Ocean Swells

1934       Strictly Fresh Yeggs

1933       Pick Me Up 

1933       Alias the Professor 

1933       The Trail of Vince Barnett 

1933       Hunting Trouble 

1933       Grin and Bear It 

1933       What Fur 

1933       Flirting in the Park  

1933       Quiet Please

1933       Room Mates 

1933       The Cohens and Kellys in Trouble 

1933       Should Crooners Marry 

1933       Rock-a-Bye Cowboy

1933       Family Troubles 

1933       A Divorce Courtship

1932       Hesitating Love 

1932       The Finishing Touch 

1932       Yoo-Hoo  

1932       Boys Will Be Boys

1932       The Finishing Touch

1932       Who, Me? 

1931       The Kick-Off! 

1931       Mama Loves Papa 

1931       Call a Cop! 

1931       Air-Tight 

1931       High Gear 

1931       Blood and Thunder     

1931       The Panic Is On 

1931       Spuk um Mitternacht 

1931       Glückliche Kindheit

1930       Ladies Last 

1930       Bigger and Better 

1930       Doctor's Orders 

1930       The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case 

1930       Hog Wild 

1930       Below Zero 

1930       La vida nocturna

1930       Brats 

1930       Blotto 

1930       The Real McCoy 

1930       The Head Guy 

1930       Night Owls 

1930       Ladrones 

1930       Noche de duendes 

1930       Radiomanía 

1930       Tiembla y Titubea 

1929       Angora Love

1929       The Hoose-Gow 

1929       Bacon Grabbers 

1929       They Go Boom! 

1929       Men O'War 

1929       Double Whoopee 

1929       Hurdy Gurdy  

1929       Unaccustomed As We Are 

1929       Big Business 

1929       That's My Wife  

1929       Wrong Again 

1929       Liberty 

1928       We Faw Down 

1928       Feed 'em and Weep 

1928       Two Tars 

1928       All Parts

1928       Do Gentlemen Snore?

1928       Early to Bed 

1928       Should Married Men Go Home? 

1928       Should Women Drive? 

1928       Their Purple Moment 

1928       Tell It to the Judge 

1928       Blow by Blow 

1928       Came the Dawn 

1928       The Finishing Touch

1928       Dumb Daddies 

1928       Leave 'Em Laughing 

1928       Should Tall Men Marry? 

1928       Pass the Gravy 

1927       The Battle of the Century

1927       Putting Pants on Philip 

1927       Love 'Em and Feed 'Em 

1927       The Second 100 Years 

1927       The Girl from Gay Paree 

1927       Sugar Daddies 

1927       Lightning 

1927       No Man's Law 

1927       The Honorable Mr. Buggs

1927       Slipping Wives 

1927       The Valley of Hell 

1926       The Desert's Toll 

1926       The Devil Horse 

1925       No Man's Law 

1925       Black Cyclone

1925       Looking for Sally

1924       The White Sheep 

1924       Battling Orioles 

1923       Roughest Africa

1920       Whispers

1915       The Tigress

Matinee Classics - Director George Stevens
Matinee Classics - The Greatest Story Ever Told starring Max von Sydow, Dorothy McGuire, Michael Anderson Jr., Carroll Baker, Ina Balin, Victor Buono, Richard Conte, Telly Savalas, Joanna Dunham, Jose Ferrer, Van Heflin, Charlton Heston, Martin Landau, Roddy McDowall, Angela Lansbury, Pat Boone, Janet Margolin, David McCallum, Joseph Schildkraut, Ed Wynn, Claude Rains, Donald Pleasence, Michael Ansara, Robert Blake, John Considine, Richard Conte, Jamie Farr, David Hedison, Russell Johnson, Rober
Matinee Classics - Penny Serenade starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Beulah Bondi, Edgar Buchanan, Ann Doran and Eva Lee Kuney
Matinee Classics - Shane starring Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon De Wilde, Jack Palance, Ben Johnson, Edgar Buchanan, Emile Meyer, Elisha Cook Jr., Douglas Spencer, John Dierkes, Ellen Corby, Paul McVey, John Miller, Edith Evanson, Leonard Strong and Nancy Kulp

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