Celebrity Photo

David O. Selznick

Highest Rated: 100% The Fallen Idol (1949)

Lowest Rated: 0% A Farewell To Arms (1957)

Birthday: May 10, 1902

Birthplace: Not Available

The scion of a film-producing family, David O. Selznick was the forerunner of the modern independent producer, and probably had a keener understanding and appreciation of movies as art than any of his rival film moguls of the mid 20th century. Selznick was the younger son of Lewis Selznick, a film producer in his own right until bankruptcy forced him out of business in 1923; the family's older son, Myron, was a producer who later became one of Hollywood's most respected agents. After his father's bankruptcy, Selznick found some success producing exploitation films on his own, but it was only after coming to Hollywood in 1926 that he really began his filmmaking career. He began as an assistant story editor to L.B. Mayer at MGM, and rose to associate producer, but quickly moved to Paramount Pictures, where he became an associate director. During 1931, Selznick became head of production at RKO, which was then in terrible financial trouble, and managed to turn the studio's fortunes around through an ambitious production schedule that included the classic King Kong. His next stop was MGM, where he remained for three years as a vice-president and producer. In 1936, Selznick formed his own production company. His films were all high quality productions, rivalling the best work of such figures as Samuel Goldwyn as well as MGM; The Prisoner of Zenda, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Intermezzo were all extremely successful, and the latter brought Ingrid Bergman to Hollywood. His major coup, however, was buying up the film rights to Margaret Mitchell's novel Gone With The Wind, which he brought to the screen in 1939 in partnership with MGM. Unfortunately, the business arrangement he was forced to conclude with MGM to obtain the services of Clark Gable as star left the studio with most of the profits of the biggest moneymaker that Hollywood had seen up to that time. It left Selznick with recognition but relatively little financial reward.In 1939, he also signed the English director Alfred Hitchcock to a long-term contract that brought the latter to Hollywood. Their first film together, Rebecca, was a huge hit and made the screen careers of several of its participants. Selznick and Hitchcock didn't especially enjoy working together, however, and the director was only too happy to be loaned out to other studios, such as Universal and RKO over the next four years -- Selznick collected huge fees for the loan of Hitchcock's services (and kept possession of one of the best of those outside pictures, Notorious), which helped finance Selznick's own films during this period. Hitchcock was happy to obtain the freedom to work in his own way outside of Selznick's influence. Selznick's own wartime productions were limited to Since You Went Away, an overlong but extremely popular drama, which costarred Jennifer Jones, a young actress with whom the producer fell passionately in love; she starred in all but two of his subsequent films. Duel In The Sun was Selznick's attempt to replicate the scope of Gone With The Wind in a western setting, with Jones at the center of the film, while Portrait of Jennie was a delicately woven fantasy. By the early 1950', Selznick's filmmaking activities had slowed, and ceased altogether following his disastrous remake of A Farewell To Arms.As a producer, Selznick involved himself in every phase of a movie's production, and it can be said that he had as much to do with the shaping of the films he made as his directors did, with sometimes impressive results. He also understood film as well as the movie business -- Selznick urged RKO to preserve an uncut print of Orson Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons, for example, even though everyone else at his level of production in Hollywood merely looked at the movie as a losing investment. But he also alienated such figures as Alfred Hitchcock, who deliberately made the murderer in his classic Rear Window resemble Selznick.

Highest Rated Movies



0% A Farewell To Arms Producer 1957
42% Indiscretion of an American Wife (Stazione Termini) Producer 1953
100% The Fallen Idol Producer $58.2K 1949
99% The Third Man Producer 1949
83% Portrait of Jennie Producer 1948
80% The Paradine Case Producer Screenwriter 1948
80% Duel in the Sun Producer Screenwriter 1946
84% Spellbound Producer 1945
83% Since You Went Away Producer Screenwriter 1944
100% Rebecca Producer 1940
90% Gone With the Wind Producer 1939
No Score Yet Made for Each Other Producer 1939
100% Intermezzo Producer 1939
No Score Yet The Young in Heart Producer 1938
No Score Yet The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Producer 1938
100% Nothing Sacred Producer 1937
100% The Prisoner of Zenda Producer 1937
100% A Star Is Born Screenwriter Producer 1937
40% The Garden of Allah Producer 1936
88% Little Lord Fauntleroy Producer 1936
No Score Yet Vanessa, Her Love Story Producer 1935
No Score Yet David Copperfield (The Personal History, Adventures, Experience, & Observation of David Copperfield the Younger) Producer 1935
100% A Tale of Two Cities Producer 1935
100% Anna Karenina Producer 1935
No Score Yet Reckless Producer 1935
80% Manhattan Melodrama Producer 1934
63% Viva Villa! Producer 1934
80% Dancing Lady Producer Executive Producer 1933
No Score Yet Meet the Baron Producer 1933
No Score Yet Night Flight Producer Executive Producer 1933
95% Dinner at Eight Producer 1933
No Score Yet Our Betters Producer 1933
No Score Yet No Other Woman Producer Executive Producer 1933
98% King Kong Executive Producer 1933
No Score Yet Topaze Producer 1933
No Score Yet Rockabye Producer 1933
No Score Yet Christopher Strong Producer 1933
No Score Yet The Animal Kingdom (The Woman in His House) Producer 1932
No Score Yet The Half-Naked Truth Executive Producer 1932
No Score Yet Penguin Pool Murder Executive Producer 1932
93% A Farewell to Arms Producer 1932
No Score Yet The Conquerors Producer Executive Producer 1932
No Score Yet Hell's Highway Producer 1932
No Score Yet Thirteen Women Executive Producer Producer 1932
No Score Yet Hold 'em Jail Executive Producer Producer 1932
No Score Yet Bird of Paradise Producer 1932
No Score Yet Is My Face Red Executive Producer 1932
No Score Yet Girl Crazy Executive Producer 1932
100% The Lost Squadron Producer Executive Producer 1932
No Score Yet A Bill of Divorcement Producer 1932
No Score Yet What Price Hollywood? Executive Producer Producer 1932
100% The Most Dangerous Game Executive Producer 1932
No Score Yet State's Attorney Executive Producer 1931
No Score Yet Street of Chance Producer 1930
No Score Yet The Man I Love Producer 1929


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