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Zoltan Korda

  • Highest Rated: 100% Sahara (1943)
  • Lowest Rated: 57% Jungle Book (1942)
  • Birthday: Jun 3, 1895
  • Birthplace: Not Available
  • The brother of producer/director Alexander Korda, Zoltan Korda achieved recognition in his own right as a director of action films, first in England and later in Hollywood. He was the second of three sons, born Zoltan Kellner in 1895 in Túrkeve, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The death of their father threw the Kellner family into personal and financial chaos, and Zoltan and his younger brother, Vincent (later a top art director), along with their mother, were forced to live in the home of their paternal grandfather, a cruel and ignorant man whose influence prevented either boy from realizing anything like his potential for years after. Meanwhile, older sibling Sandor Kellner, taking a new, less ethnic last name, established himself as a writer and journalist, and finally a filmmaker as Alexander Korda. Zoltan served in the cavalry during the First World War, experience that he put to good use as a filmmaker in the decades that followed. He followed Alexander Korda into the film business, first as a cameraman and later an editor; he directed a pair of movies in Germany at the close of the silent era, and when Alex Korda established London Films in 1932, Zoltan came along. He tried his hand as a director in several genres, including comedy and romantic drama, but it was in adventure films that he distinguished himself, starting with Sanders of the River (1935), a story of intrigue and conflict on the African continent, starring Leslie Banks and Paul Robeson. That movie, which featured some fairly extensive location shooting, became the first in a series of adventure films through which Korda would distinguish himself across the next two decades. But it was also one of his most controversial and frustrating films, owing to the differing views that he and his brother Alex had of colonialism and the British Empire -- Alex Korda loved the empire, and felt the colonial peoples were well served by the British, where as Zoltan held deep sympathy for the colonized people and their desires for independence and self-determination. In the case of Sanders of the River, Alex as producer and head of the studio had the final authority, and he recut the movie and edited it in such a way so that Robeson's character -- a would-be African tribal chief, proud and strong -- was made to seem subservient to Banks' white British colonial official. Even though the film got Zoltan a Best Director nomination at the Venice Film Festival, he was unhappy with the final cut of the movie and Robeson was mortified, so much so that he spent a decade distancing himself from it and never made another movie for Alexander Korda. Zoltan Korda's next notable achievement was as the co-director of Elephant Boy (1937), which garnered him the Best Director award at the Venice Film Festival. That movie also introduced a young Indian actor named Sabu, who was popular enough in his own right to justify a follow-up effort. The Drum (aka Drums, 1938) was set in the contemporary British Raj and, in addition to Sabu, also starred Raymond Massey, Roger Livesey, and Valerie Hobson, and was shot in Technicolor. It was on this picture that Korda's experiences in the cavalry, and his ability to deploy men for maximum effectiveness, came to the fore. And on his next film, The Four Feathers (1939), he was able to put his military experience to even better use. The battle scenes in the films he directed, including The Four Feathers and Drums, as well as parts of The Thief of Bagdad (1940), helped make those movies among the most exciting in history. When Alex Korda transferred his production company to America in 1940, Zoltan (and brother Vincent) came along, and it was there that the middle Korda brother fully came into his own as a filmmaker. He directed Sahara (1943), starring Humphrey Bogart, for Columbia Pictures, which proved to be one of the screen legend's finest films. Zoltan Korda's health, which was never very strong, began to falter in the second half o

Highest Rated Movies








No Score Yet Storm Over the Nile Director Producer 1956
89% Cry, the Beloved Country Producer Director 1952
No Score Yet A Woman's Vengeance Producer Director 1948
No Score Yet The Macomber Affair (The Great White Hunter) Director 1947
No Score Yet Counter-Attack (One Against Seven) Producer Director 1945
100% Sahara Screenwriter Director 1943
57% Jungle Book Director 1942
100% The Thief of Bagdad Director Producer 1940
100% The Four Feathers Director 1939
80% The Drum (Drums) Director 1938
100% Elephant Boy Director 1937
No Score Yet Forever Yours (Forget Me Not) Director 1936
No Score Yet Conquest of Air Director 1936
No Score Yet Sanders of the River Director 1935
No Score Yet If I Were Rich Director 1933
No Score Yet Die elf Teufel Director 1927
No Score Yet Paul Robeson: Portraits of the Artist Director 1925


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