Michael Curtiz

Michael Curtiz

  • Highest Rated: 100% The Comancheros (1961)
  • Lowest Rated: 57% Noah's Ark (1928)
  • Birthday: Dec 24, 1886
  • Birthplace: Budapest, Austria-Hungary
  • Michael Curtiz was one of Hollywood's most prolific and colorful directors. Born to a well-to-do Jewish family in Budapest, he ran away from home at age 17 to join a circus, then trained for an acting career at the Royal Academy for Theater and Art. He worked as a leading man at the Hungarian Theatre before directing stage plays and then films. His first cinematic effort was Az Utolsó Bohém (1912), which was also the first feature-length film ever made in Hungary. Curtiz soon moved on to the more progressive Danish film industry, returning to his homeland in 1914 and serving a year in the Austro-Hungarian infantry before resuming his film career. While it may be arguable that Curtiz was Hungary's finest director, he was certainly its busiest, making no fewer than 14 films in 1917, most of which starred his first wife, actress Lucy Dorraine. When the Hungarian film industry was nationalized by the new communist government in 1919, Curtiz packed his bags and headed for Sweden, France, Germany, and Austria. He directed 21 European pictures in a seven-year period, including the epic Sodom and Gomorrah (1923), which was also the film debut of Walter Slezak. In 1926, Curtiz was brought to Hollywood by Warner Bros.; going along for the ride was the director's second wife, actress Lili Damita, who later married Curtiz's frequent star Errol Flynn. (The director's third and final wife was screenwriter Bess Meredyth). Curtiz's first few American films were stylish but only moderately expensive. But not so 1929's Noah's Ark, a super-spectacular production which bombed at the box office but also firmly established Curtiz as a "prestige" director. It also set the standard for an utter lack of concern for the well-being of actors; several extras died during the climactic flood sequence, reportedly because Curtiz, hoping to incur genuine panic in his performers, had failed to inform them that they'd be deluged with tons of water. Most leading actors despised the dictatorial filmmaker, but were willing to work with him time and again due to his uncanny knack for turning out top-notch movies. While his detractors have noted that Curtiz's much-praised visual style was due more to Warner's team of cinematographers and art directors than to the director himself, few can deny that his films were among the best and most profitable that the studio ever turned out. Listing his greatest sound films would require a book, in itself, but a representative cross-section of Curtiz's creative contributions of the 1930s and '40s include: Captain Blood (1935), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Angels With Dirty Faces (1938), Casablanca (1942, and for which he won an Oscar), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), Mildred Pierce (1945), Night and Day (1946), and Life With Father (1947). Even in his professional dotage, he was responsible for one of the biggest box-office successes of the mid-'50s, White Christmas (1954). Curtiz died in 1962, one year after completing his final film, The Comancheros with John Wayne.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Rating

Title

Credit

Box
Office

Year

No Score Yet White Christmas 60th Anniversary Director 2014
No Score Yet The Perfect Specimen Director 2014
No Score Yet Der Junge Medardus Director 2013
No Score Yet Das Spielzeug von Paris Director 2010
No Score Yet Der goldene Schmetterling (The Golden Butterfly) Director 2010
100% The Comancheros Director 1961
No Score Yet Francis of Assisi Director 1961
No Score Yet A Breath of Scandal Director 1960
No Score Yet The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Director 1960
No Score Yet The Hangman Director 1959
No Score Yet The Man in the Net Director 1959
No Score Yet The Proud Rebel Director 1958
100% King Creole Director 1958
No Score Yet The Helen Morgan Story Director 1957
No Score Yet The Best Things in Life Are Free Director 1956
No Score Yet We're No Angels Director 1955
No Score Yet The Egyptian Director 1954
76% White Christmas Director 1954
No Score Yet Trouble Along the Way Director 1953
No Score Yet The Jazz Singer Director 1952
No Score Yet The Story of Will Rogers Director 1952
No Score Yet Jim Thorpe---All American Director 1951
No Score Yet Force Of Arms Director 1951
80% I'll See You In My Dreams Director 1951
100% The Breaking Point Director 1950
80% Young Man With a Horn Director 1950
No Score Yet Bright Leaf Director 1950
No Score Yet It's a Great Feeling Himself 1949
No Score Yet The Lady Takes a Sailor Director 1949
No Score Yet My Dream Is Yours Director Producer 1949
No Score Yet Flamingo Road Director 1949
80% Romance on the High Seas Producer Director 1948
No Score Yet The Unsuspected Producer Director 1947
91% Life With Father Director 1947
No Score Yet Night and Day Director 1946
86% Mildred Pierce Director 1945
No Score Yet Roughly Speaking Director 1945
No Score Yet Janie Director 1944
No Score Yet Passage to Marseille Director 1944
No Score Yet This Is the Army Director 1943
No Score Yet Mission to Moscow Director 1943
98% Casablanca Director 1942
93% Yankee Doodle Dandy Director Actor 1942
No Score Yet Captains of the Clouds Director 1942
No Score Yet Dive Bomber Director 1941
No Score Yet The Sea Wolf Director 1941
100% The Sea Hawk Director 1940
83% Santa Fe Trail Director 1940
No Score Yet Virginia City Director 1940
No Score Yet Four Wives Director 1939
71% The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex Director 1939
100% Dodge City Director 1939
No Score Yet Four's a Crowd Director 1938
100% Four Daughters Director 1938
100% The Adventures of Robin Hood Director 1938
No Score Yet Gold Is Where You Find It Director 1938
100% Angels with Dirty Faces Director 1938
No Score Yet Kid Galahad Director 1937
No Score Yet The Perfect Specimen Director 1937
No Score Yet The Walking Dead Director 1936
71% Charge of the Light Brigade Director 1936
No Score Yet The Cowboy Creed Director 1936
100% Captain Blood Director 1935
No Score Yet Little Big Shot Director 1935
No Score Yet Bright Lights Producer 1935
80% Front Page Woman Director 1935
No Score Yet Black Fury Director 1935
No Score Yet The Case of the Curious Bride Director 1935
No Score Yet British Agent Director 1934
No Score Yet The Key Director 1934
No Score Yet Jimmy the Gent Director 1934
No Score Yet Mandalay Director 1934
83% The Kennel Murder Case Director 1933
80% Female Director 1933
No Score Yet Goodbye Again Director 1933
No Score Yet Man Killer Director 1933
No Score Yet The Keyhole Director 1933
82% The Mystery of the Wax Museum Director 1933
No Score Yet 20,000 Years in Sing Sing Director 1932
No Score Yet Cabin in the Cotton Director 1932
75% Doctor X Director 1932
No Score Yet The Strange Love of Molly Louvain Director 1932
No Score Yet Alias The Doctor Director 1932
No Score Yet The Mad Genius Director 1931
No Score Yet God's Gift to Women Director 1931
No Score Yet A Soldier's Plaything Director 1930
No Score Yet Mammy Director 1930
57% Noah's Ark Director 1928
No Score Yet Fiaker Nr. 13 Director 1926

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