Frank Borzage - Rotten Tomatoes

Frank Borzage

Highest Rated:   100% Moonrise (1948)
Lowest Rated:   75% Strange Cargo (1940)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Frank Borzage (pronounced "Bor-ZAY-gee") was of Swiss, Italian, and Austrian ancestry, born in Salt Lake City, UT, the fourth of eight children of an Italian-speaking stonemason father and a German-speaking mother. As a boy, he was drawn to acting. At age 20, he'd gone to work for producer/director Thomas Ince. He was supposed to be a general-purpose actor, moving between light leading roles and supporting parts as villains, but in 1914, he achieved stardom in The Wrath of the Gods, a melodrama about an interracial romance between Borzage's character and a woman portrayed by Tsuru Aoki. He starred in several more notable films for Ince, and by 1916, had become an actor/director, beginning with The Pitch O' Chance. In 1920, Borzage released Humoresque (which was remade in 1946), his first major film as a director, based on a novel by Fannie Hurst. Notable as an extraordinarily vivid drama about Jewish life on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the film moved Borzage to the front ranks of Hollywood's newest generation of directors. His other important silent titles included the 1923 drama The 'Nth Commandment and Seventh Heaven (1927), for which he earned the very first Academy Award ever given for Best Director. In the bargain, he helped turn Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell into stars of the first magnitude -- he followed it up a year later with the even better Street Angel, re-teaming Gaynor and Farrell in one of the finest films of the 1920s. Borzage barely skipped a beat with the coming of sound, doing a 1930 adaptation, Liliom (which had been previously shot in Germany by Fritz Lang), and Bad Girl (1931), for which Borzage earned his second Best Director Oscar and which gave both Sally Eilers and James Dunn two of the best roles of their respective careers. The following year, he directed A Farewell to Arms, one of the most acclaimed and successful screen adaptations of a contemporary novel of the period, starring Helen Hayes (who got a Best Actress nomination) and Gary Cooper, which is also notable from a directorial point of view for the dark, expressionist approach that Borzage took to the segments involving the action of the First World War. By the mid-'30s, Frank Borzage was regarded as one of Hollywood's finest screen craftsmen, looked to for his sensitive, delicate touch in handling difficult stories -- perhaps the most representative of his films was Three Comrades, about the friendship between three childhood friends and a girl who dies young. He made important movies for several studios during the early to middle part of the decade, doing A Farewell to Arms at Paramount, Secrets (a remake of his own 1924 film) at United Artists (which marked Mary Pickford's screen farewell), and Living on Velvet at Warner Bros., but by the second half of the '30s Borzage had settled at MGM, then the most prestigious studio in Hollywood. Although his work was best known for its sentimentality and emotional nature, Borzage could and did make movies on serious topical subjects of social significance, most notably Little Man, What Now? (1934), starring Margaret Sullavan and Douglass Montgomery, which told of the plight of the ordinary man in post-World War I Germany. He also directed Joan Crawford in three of her most intriguing movies of the period, Mannequin, The Shining Hour (both 1938), and Strange Cargo (1940). In 1940, Borzage also directed The Mortal Storm, an unusual pre-World War II Hollywood attack on the social order of Nazi Germany, depicting the destruction of an innocent family; it is probably the Borzage movie that plays best to modern audiences. During the first half of the 1940s, Borzage's output became decidedly less interesting. Flight Command (1941) was a routine, albeit very well-cast story of military pilots and their private lives, while The Vanishing Virginian was a gentle, sentimental story of life in a rural, early 20th-century white southern househol

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet The River
  • Director
2013
No Score Yet Murnau, Borzage & Fox
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet Civil War Films of the Silent Era
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Journey Beneath the Desert
  • Director
1961
No Score Yet The Big Fisherman
  • Director
1959
No Score Yet China Doll
  • Director
  • Producer
1958
No Score Yet Jeanne Eagels
  • Director
1957
100% Moonrise
  • Director
1948
No Score Yet Magnificent Doll
  • Director
1946
No Score Yet I've Always Loved You
  • Producer
  • Director
1946
No Score Yet The Spanish Main
  • Director
1945
No Score Yet His Butler's Sister
  • Director
1943
No Score Yet Stage Door Canteen
  • Director
  • Producer
1943
No Score Yet Seven Sweethearts
  • Director
1942
No Score Yet Smilin' Through
  • Director
1941
75% Strange Cargo
  • Director
1940
No Score Yet I Take This Woman
  • Director
1940
100% The Mortal Storm
  • Director
  • Producer
1940
No Score Yet The Shining Hour
  • Director
1938
100% Three Comrades
  • Director
1938
No Score Yet Mannequin
  • Director
1937
No Score Yet Big City
  • Director
1937
No Score Yet History Is Made At Night
  • Director
1937
No Score Yet Desire
  • Director
1936
No Score Yet Stranded
  • Producer
  • Director
1935
No Score Yet Shipmates Forever
  • Director
  • Producer
1935
100% Flirtation Walk
  • Director
1934
No Score Yet Little Man, What Now?
  • Director
1934
No Score Yet No Greater Glory
  • Director
1934
No Score Yet Man's Castle
  • Director
1933
No Score Yet Secrets
  • Director
1933
92% A Farewell to Arms
  • Director
1932
No Score Yet Young America (We Humans)
  • Director
1932
No Score Yet After Tomorrow
  • Director
1932
No Score Yet Bad Girl
  • Director
1931
No Score Yet Doctors' Wives
  • Director
1931
No Score Yet Liliom
  • Director
1930
No Score Yet Song O' My Heart
  • Director
1930
No Score Yet They Had to See Paris
  • Director
1929
No Score Yet Lucky Star
  • Director
1929
No Score Yet Street Angel
  • Director
1928
100% Seventh Heaven (1927)
  • Director
1927
No Score Yet Lazybones
  • Director
  • Producer
1925
No Score Yet Humoresque
  • Director
1920
No Score Yet A Mormon Maid
  • Tom Rigdon
1917
No Score Yet Nugget Jim's Pardner
  • Director
  • Actor
1916
No Score Yet The Pitch o' Chance
  • Director
1915
No Score Yet Tom Mix and Bill Hart
  • Actor
1915
No Score Yet The Typhoon
  • Renard Bernisky
1914

Quotes from Frank Borzage's Characters

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