George Stevens

George Stevens

Highest Rated: 100% I Remember Mama (1948)

Lowest Rated: 38% The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

Birthday: Dec 18, 1904

Birthplace: Oakland, California, USA

American producer/director/cinematographer George Stevens made his professional acting debut at age five in the company of his actor parents. Developing an interest in photography as a hobby, Stevens became an assistant movie cameraman at the age of 17. From 1927 through 1930, he was principal cameraman at Hal Roach Studios, shooting such classic two-reelers as Laurel and Hardy's Two Tars (1928) and Below Zero (1930), as well as a handful of feature films, including the 1927 Western No Man's Law. Stevens was elevated to director in 1930 for Roach's Boy Friends series. Dismissed from Roach during an economy drive in 1931, Stevens moved to Universal and then to RKO to direct comedy shorts (he later professed to hate two-reel comedies, though he enjoyed the company of the comedians with whom he worked, especially Laurel and Hardy). RKO promoted Stevens to features in 1934; after several medium-budget projects, he was assigned the "A" feature Alice Adams (1935) over the protests of the film's star, Katharine Hepburn. When Alice Adams proved successful, Hepburn's attitude toward Stevens did a "180," and she insisted that he direct her starring vehicle Quality Street (1936). Another Stevens triumph from this period was the Astaire/Rogers confection Swing Time (1936), in which the director's father Landers Stevens played an important supporting role. Producing as well as directing from 1938's Vivacious Lady onward, Stevens turned out a string of critical and financial successes: Gunga Din (1939) for RKO, Woman of the Year (1942) for MGM, and Penny Serenade (1941), Talk of the Town (1942) and The More the Merrier (1943), all for Columbia. Stevens' directorial style displayed the same acute sense of visual dynamics that had distinguished his earlier work as a cameraman; the director refined and improved upon that style through sweat and persistence. Once he reached the "A" list, Stevens became one of the most meticulous and painstaking directors in the business, commencing production only after extensive research, filming take after take until perfection was achieved, and then spending as much as a full year editing the finished product. During World War II, Stevens was made an officer in the Signal Corps, filming vivid color footage of such historical milestones as the D-Day maneuvers and the liberation of the death camps; much of this footage was incorporated into the 1984 documentary George Stevens: A Filmaker's Journey, assembled by George Stevens Jr. After the war, Stevens produced and directed his final RKO assignment, I Remember Mama (1948), then moved to Paramount for what many consider his crowning achievement -- 1951's A Place in the Sun, a brilliant filmization of the Theodore Dreiser novel An American Tragedy. While much of the film's content is dated, Stevens succeeded in transferring a bulky and verbose novel to the screen in purely visual terms; he also thrilled the bobbysoxer fans of Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor by shooting their love scenes in huge, provocatively lit closeups. A Place in the Sun won Stevens his first Oscar for best directing in 1951. Fifteen years later, he threatened legal action against NBC should the network edit out any portion of Place in the Sun for telecasting purposes, and he was backed up in his suit by the California Legislature. The more time and effort Stevens expended on his individual projects, the fewer he produced. His output between 1953 and 1959 consisted of Shane (1953); Giant (1956), in which he put the awkward Cinemascope screen to superb artistic use, winning his second Oscar in the process; and The Diary of Anne Frank (1959). From 1960 through 1965, Stevens labored on a mammoth filmization of the life of Christ, The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). The film was a failure for several reasons, not least of which was Stevens' curious insistence upon using big-name stars in every role (this is the movie in which John Wayne, as the centurion at the Crucifixion, proclaims "Tre

Highest Rated Movies



92% Herblock: The Black & the White Producer 2013
No Score Yet George Stevens: D-Day to Berlin Director Actor 2003
No Score Yet George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey Himself 1984
No Score Yet The Only Game In Town Director 1970
38% The Greatest Story Ever Told Screenwriter 1965
78% The Diary of Anne Frank Director Producer 1959
95% Giant Producer Director 1956
97% Shane Director Producer 1953
77% A Place in the Sun Producer Director 1951
100% I Remember Mama Director Executive Producer 1948
No Score Yet On Our Merry Way Director 1948
94% The More the Merrier Director Producer 1943
92% Woman of the Year Director 1942
93% The Talk of the Town Producer Director 1942
94% Penny Serenade Producer Director 1941
No Score Yet Vigil in the Night Director Producer 1940
92% Gunga Din Director Producer 1939
100% Vivacious Lady Director Producer 1938
71% A Damsel in Distress Director 1937
67% Quality Street Director 1937
100% Swing Time Director 1936
No Score Yet Annie Oakley Director 1935
No Score Yet The Nitwits Director 1935
94% Alice Adams Director 1935
No Score Yet Laddie Director 1935
No Score Yet Kentucky Kernels Director 1934
No Score Yet Hollywood Party Director 1934
No Score Yet Bachelor Bait Director 1934
No Score Yet The Cohens and Kellys in Trouble Director 1933


No quotes approved yet.