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Michael Curtiz DIRECTOR


Michael Curtiz was born Manó Kertész Kaminer on December 24, 1886 in Budapest, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary). He claims to have run away from home at the age of seventeen to join a circus, but it has been disputed. However, he did train for an acting career once he became an adult, attending the Royal Academy of Theater and Art in Budapest. Curtiz trained at the school and then became a leading man at the National Hungarian Theatre before eventually directing stage plays and films. In 1912 he directed and acted in his first off stage effort, “Today and Tomorrow”. He filmed a couple more films in Hungary, “My Husband’s Getting Married” (1913) and “The Last Bohemian” (1913), but moved on to the Danish film industry to hone his craft. Here he worked as the assistant director for August Blom on Denmark’s first multi-reel feature film, “Atlantis” (1913). As well, he solo directed a number more.

When World War I broke out, the director returned to his home country and served a year in the Austro-Hungarian army. By 1915 he was back to filmmaking with “One Who Is Loved By Two”. In 1916 he worked for the Kinoriport and then became a director for Phönix, where he would stay until the fall of 1918. Meanwhile, he married his first wife, actress Lucy Doraine. During their marriage, many of the director’s pictures featured her. When the new communist government was being implemented in 1919 and Hungarian film production was being controlled, Curtiz left the country and headed towards others like France, Sweden, Germany, and Austria. During the next seven years, the director would film over twenty European pictures, including the Biblical epics “Sodom und Gomorrha” (1923) and “Moon of Israel” (1924). After he released the first film, he and his wife divorced. Two years later, in 1925, he married his second wife, Lili Damita, only to divorce her one year later.

In 1926 Warner Brothers asked the director to come to America, where he adopted his known name Michael Curtiz. His first few films were elegant, but not hugely budgeted. In 1928 he changed his trend and came out with “Noah’s Ark”, an extravagant production that while disappointing at the box office, set Curtiz as a “prestige” director. However, it also paved a pattern for his lack of care for his actors, as multiple extras died while doing the climactic flood scene. However, although many actors from his films loathed him, they could all agree that he was worth the irritation because no matter what, he could produce a truly amazing picture. A year after “Noah’s Ark” (1928) came out he married his third wife, Bess Meredyth, whom he would remain married to for the rest of his life.

In the mid thirties, Curtiz began a string of twelve highly successful Errol Flynn adventure flicks that included “Captain Blood” (1935), “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (1936), “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938), “Dodge City” (1939), “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex” (1939), and “Santa Fe Trail” (1940). Their last film together was “Dive Bomber” (1941), as Flynn could stand to work with the director no longer. Another actor that the director frequented was Claude Rains, who appeared in ten of his features including three sappy female dramas: “Four Daughters” (1938) and its two sequels, “Daughters Courageous” and “Four Wives” (1939). Contrastingly, he seemed to not mind the director’s domineering ways.

During the 1940s although Curtiz’s output slowed, his quality was at its best. The director’s prime pieces include the adventure “The Sea Wolf” (1941), James Cagney musical “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (1942), pro-Soviet propaganda film “Mission to Moscow” (1943), film-noir “Mildred Pierce” (1945), and comedy “Life with Father” (1947). His most famous of the decade, and career, was the now cult classic “Casablanca” (1942). The romantic drama about the reconnection of a man and émigré in uninhabited Africa, won Curtiz his first and only Best Director Academy Award.

In the late 1940s he struck a deal with Warner Brothers in which the studio and his own production studio would split the production costs and profits of his subsequent features. Unfortunately, his films turned out to be merely mediocre, and in the 1950's Curtiz began freelancing. He directed many pictures for Paramount, such as “White Christmas” (1954), a musical starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, “We’re No Angels” (1955), a Humphrey Bogart comedy, and the Elvis Presley vehicle “King Creole” (1958), as well as an assortment of additional pictures for various studios. The filmmaker’s final film, “The Comancheros” (1961), was an action packed western featuring cowboy veteran John Wayne as its lead. Six months after its release, on April 10, 1962, Curtiz died from cancer. He left behind an impressive body of work; a style all his own made its distinction in the great mess of Hollywood, not to be forgotten. For this dedication to the greatness of the art of cinema, the filmmaker has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His motto for success? “The only things you regret are the things you don’t do.”


1961       The Comancheros

1961       Francis of Assisi

1960       The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

1960       A Breath of Scandal

1959       The Man in the Net

1959       The Hangman

1958       King Creole

1958       The Proud Rebel

1957       The Helen Morgan Story

1956       The Best Things in Life Are Free

1956       The Vagabond King

1956       The Scarlet Hour

1955       We're No Angels

1954       White Christmas

1954       The Egyptian

1954       The Boy from Oklahoma

1953       Trouble Along the Way

1952       The Jazz Singer

1952       The Story of Will Rogers

1951       I'll See You in My Dreams

1951       Jim Thorpe -- All-American

1951       Force of Arms

1950       The Breaking Point

1950       Bright Leaf

1950       Young Man with a Horn

1949       The Lady Takes a Sailor

1949       Flamingo Road

1949       My Dream Is Yours

1948       Romance on the High Seas

1947       The Unsuspected

1947       Life with Father

1946       Night and Day

1945       Mildred Pierce

1945       Roughly Speaking

1944       Janie

1944       Roaring Guns

1944       Passage to Marseille

1943       This Is the Army

1943       Mission to Moscow

1942       Casablanca

1942       Yankee Doodle Dandy

1942       Captains of the Clouds

1941       Dive Bomber

1941       The Sea Wolf

1940       Santa Fe Trail

1940       The Sea Hawk

1940       Virginia City

1939       Four Wives

1939       The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

1939       Daughters Courageous

1939       Sons of Liberty 

1939       Dodge City

1939       Blackwell's Island 

1938       Angels with Dirty Faces

1938       Four Daughters

1938       Four's a Crowd

1938       The Adventures of Robin Hood

1938       Gold Is Where You Find It

1937       The Perfect Specimen

1937       Kid Galahad

1937       Mountain Justice

1937       Marked Woman

1937       Stolen Holiday

1937       Black Legion

1936       The Charge of the Light Brigade

1936       Anthony Adverse 

1936       The Walking Dead

1935       Captain Blood

1935       Little Big Shot

1935       Front Page Woman

1935       Go Into Your Dance

1935       The Case of the Curious Bride

1935       Black Fury 

1935       Bright Lights

1934       British Agent

1934       The Key

1934       Jimmy the Gent

1934       Mandalay

1933       From Headquarters 

1933       Female

1933       The Kennel Murder Case

1933       Goodbye Again

1933       The Mayor of Hell 

1933       Private Detective 62

1933       The Keyhole

1933       Mystery of the Wax Museum

1932       20,000 Years in Sing Sing

1932       The Cabin in the Cotton

1932       Doctor X

1932       The Strange Love of Molly Louvain

1932       Alias the Doctor

1932       The Woman from Monte Carlo

1931       The Mad Genius

1931       God's Gift to Women

1931       Dämon des Meeres

1930       A Soldier's Plaything

1930       River's End

1930       Bright Lights

1930       The Matrimonial Bed

1930       Under a Texas Moon

1930       Mammy

1929       Hearts in Exile

1929       The Gamblers

1929       Madonna of Avenue A

1929       Glad Rag Doll

1928       Noah's Ark

1928       Tenderloin

1927       Good Time Charley

1927       The Desired Woman

1927       A Million Bid

1926       The Third Degree

1926       Der goldene Schmetterling 

1926       Fiaker Nr. 13 

1925       Das Spielzeug von Paris 

1924       Moon of Israel 

1924       Harun al Raschid 

1924       Ein Spiel ums Leben

1924       General Babka

1923       Nameless 

1923       Die Lawine 

1923       Der junge Medardus

1923       Drakula halála 

1922       Samson und Delila

1922       Sodom und Gomorrha 

1921       Labyrinth of Horror 

1921       Mrs. Dane's Confession 

1921       Good and Evil 

1921       Mrs. Tutti Frutti 

1920       Die Gottesgeisel 

1920       Der Stern von Damaskus 

1920       Boccaccio 

1919       Die Dame mit dem schwarzen Handschuh

1919       Jön az öcsém 

1919       Liliom 

1918       The Sunflower Woman 

1918       Ninety Nine 

1918       The Ugly Boy 

1918       Alraune 

1918       A skorpió I. 

1918       A víg özvegy 

1918       The Devil 

1918       Júdás 

1918       Lu, the Coquette

1918       Lulu

1918       Magic Waltz 

1917       Tartar Invasion 

1917       Peace's Road 

1917       Earth's Man 

1917       The Charlatan 

1917       Jean the Tenant

1917       Nobody's Son 

1917       Secret of St. Job Forest

1917       The Red Samson 

1917       Az ezredes 

1917       The Last Dawn 

1917       A Penny's History 

1917       The Fishing Bell 

1917       Tavasz a télben 

1917       Master Zoard 

1916       The Black Rainbow 

1916       The Karthauzer

1916       The Strength of the Fatherland 

1916       The Medic 

1916       Mr. Doctor

1916       The Wolf

1916       Seven of Spades 

1915       The Exile 

1915       One Who Is Loved by Two 

1914       The Princess in a Nightrobe 

1914       Golddigger 

1914       The Borrowed Babies 

1914       Prisoner of the Night 

1914       Bánk Bán

1913       Captive Souls

1913       The Last Bohemian 

1913       My Husband's Getting Married 

1913       Atlantis

1912       Today and Tomorrow 

Matinee Classics - The Comancheros starring John Wayne, Stuart Whitman, Ina Balin, Nehemiah Persoff, Lee Marvin, Michael Ansara, Patrick Wayne, Edgar Buchanan, Joan O'Brien, Bruce Cabot and Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams
Matinee Classics - Young Man With a Horn starring Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day, Hoagy Carmichael, Juano Hernandez, Jerome Cowan, Mary Beth Hughes, Nestor Paiva, Orley Lindgren, Walter Reed and Jean Spangler
Matinee Classics - Captain Blood starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Lionel Atwill, Basil Rathbone, Ross Alexander, Guy Kibbee, Henry Stephenson, Robert Barrat, Hobart Cavanaugh, Donald Meek, Jessie Ralph, Forrester Harvey, Frank McGlynn, Holmes Herbert and David Torrance
Matinee Classics - Dodge City starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Ann Sheridan, Bruce Cabot, Frank McHugh, Alan Hale, John Litel, Henry Travers, Henry O'Neill, Victor Jory, William Lundigan, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, Bobs Watson, Gloria Holden and Douglas
Matinee Classics - Mandalay starring Kay Francis, Ricardo Cortez, Warner Oland, Lyle Talbot, Ruth Donnelly, Reginald Owen, David Torrence and Halliwell Hobbes
Matinee Classics - Michael Curtiz
Matinee Classics - Michael Curtiz
Matinee Classics - My Dream Is Yours starring Doris Day, Jack Carson, Lee Bowman, Adolphe Menjou, Eve Arden, S. Z. Sakall, Selena Royle, Edgar Kennedy, Sheldon Leonard and Mel Blanc
Matinee Classics - Noah's Ark starring Dolores Costello, George O'Brien, Noah Beery, Louise Fazenda, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, John Wayne and Andy Devine
Matinee Classics - Proud Rebel starring Alan Ladd, Olivia de Havilland, Dean Jagger, David Ladd, Cecil Kellaway, Harry Dean Stanton, Thomas Pittman and Henry Hull

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