Robert Aldrich - Rotten Tomatoes

Robert Aldrich

Highest Rated:   100% Attack (1956)
Lowest Rated:   11% Four for Texas (1963)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Cranston, Rhode Island, USA
An artistic maverick whose reputation in the United States did not match his prestige in Europe, Robert Aldrich directed some of Hollywood's more intense examinations of violence, morality, and survival during the 1950s and '60s. Scion of a prominent New England family, Aldrich played football and studied economics at the University of Virginia. Rather than enter the family businesses, however, Aldrich preferred movies. Securing a job at RKO through connections, Aldrich headed to Hollywood in 1941. Benefiting from the shortage of manpower (and an old injury) with the advent of WWII, Aldrich was quickly promoted to assistant director and production manager. At RKO and independent Enterprise Studios, and as a free agent, Aldrich spent the next decade working for a number of esteemed directors, including Lewis Milestone, Joseph Losey, Robert Rossen, Abraham Polonsky, and Charlie Chaplin, learning about moviemaking on such films as Force of Evil (1948), Body and Soul (1947), and Limelight (1952). Branching out into TV directing in the early '50s, including the China Smith series starring Dan Duryea, Aldrich got his chance at feature directing with sports programmer The Big Leaguer (1953), starring Edward G. Robinson. Following this inauspicious debut with more TV work, Aldrich shot the low-budget spy thriller World for Ransom (1954) with much of the China Smith crew and star Duryea during the series' break. Aldrich finally broke out of TV and B-movies when Burt Lancaster's company, Hecht-Lancaster, hired the promising director (and erstwhile employee) to helm the Technicolor A-Western Apache (1954). Apache became Aldrich's first hit, and Lancaster and Aldrich re-teamed for the more expansive SuperScope Western Vera Cruz (1954). Despite American critical disdain, Vera Cruz was an even bigger hit, giving Aldrich carte blanche to make his next film as he wished. Asked by producer Victor Saville to adapt one of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer novels, Aldrich transformed Kiss Me Deadly (1955) into a film noir masterpiece of moral relativism and anarchic style. Starring Ralph Meeker as an unabashedly thuggish Hammer, Kiss Me Deadly evoked Cold War paranoia in its story about chasing down the Great Whatsit, while Aldrich's extreme lighting, high- and low-angle shots, moving camera, and creative soundtrack enhanced the chaotic, apocalyptic atmosphere. Though not as popular as Vera Cruz, Kiss Me Deadly was successful enough to enable Aldrich to form his own production company, Associates and Aldrich. Turning to headier source material, Aldrich then adapted Clifford Odets' scathing play The Big Knife. Shot in noir-esque black-and-white, The Big Knife (1955) unstintingly portrayed the Hollywood venality that breaks Jack Palance's reluctant movie star. A critical hit, The Big Knife won the Venice Film Festival's Silver Lion, a then-rare accolade for a filmmaker with less than three years' experience of directing films. Regardless of his exalted status, The Big Knife's financial failure compelled Aldrich to sign a contract with Columbia. Moving away from his controversial screen brutality, Aldrich made the "classy soap opera" Autumn Leaves (1956). Centering on Joan Crawford and Cliff Robertson's troubled May-December romance, Autumn Leaves garnered Aldrich the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Returning to the troubled realm of masculine violence, Aldrich turned out the taut antiwar war film Attack (1956), featuring Palance and Lee Marvin; Attack collected the critics' award at Venice. Aldrich's deal with Columbia fell apart, however, when he was fired during production of The Garment Jungle (1957). Aldrich later summed up the period 1958 to 1962 as "four bad films and the dissolution of a marriage." While not blameless for the films' weaknesses, Aldrich was upset when The Angry Hills (1959) and Ten Seconds to Hell (1959) were reedited by the studio; oddball Western The Last Sunset (1961), starring Kirk Douglas as a disturbed gunfighter,

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet ... All the Marbles
  • Director
1981
53% The Frisco Kid
  • Director
  • Actor
1979
50% The Choirboys
  • Director
1977
88% Twilight's Last Gleaming
  • Director
1977
67% Hustle
  • Director
  • Producer
1975
81% The Longest Yard
  • Director
1974
80% Emperor of the North Pole (Emperor of the North)
  • Director
1973
86% Ulzana's Raid
  • Director
  • Producer
1972
67% The Grissom Gang
  • Director
  • Producer
1971
73% Too Late the Hero
  • Producer
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1970
No Score Yet What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?
  • Producer
1969
75% The Killing of Sister George
  • Director
  • Producer
1968
No Score Yet The Legend of Lylah Clare
  • Producer
  • Director
1968
91% The Dirty Dozen
  • Director
1967
90% The Flight of the Phoenix
  • Director
  • Producer
1965
81% Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte
  • Producer
  • Director
1964
11% Four for Texas
  • Screenwriter
1963
43% Sodom and Gomorrah
  • Director
1963
92% What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
  • Director
  • Producer
1962
No Score Yet The Last Sunset
  • Director
1961
No Score Yet The Angry Hills
  • Director
1959
No Score Yet Ten Seconds to Hell
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1959
No Score Yet The Garment Jungle
  • Director
1957
100% Attack
  • Producer
  • Director
1956
88% Autumn Leaves
  • Director
1956
80% The Big Knife
  • Director
  • Producer
1955
97% Kiss Me Deadly
  • Director
  • Producer
1955
82% Vera Cruz
  • Director
1954
75% Apache
  • Director
1954
No Score Yet World for Ransom
  • Director
  • Producer
1954
No Score Yet Big Leaguer
  • Director
1953
No Score Yet The Big Night
  • Ringside Fight Fan
1951

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