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Michael Curtiz Overview:

Legendary director, Michael Curtiz, was born Manó Kertész Kaminer on Dec 24, 1886 in Budapest, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary). Curtiz died at the age of 75 on Apr 10, 1962 in Hollywood, CA and was laid to rest in Forest Lawn (Glendale) Cemetery in Glendale, CA.

MINI BIO:

Despite never mastering the English language, Michael Curtiz became one of the finest and most reliable directors of Hollywood's golden years.  Although something of an autocrat on set, not greatly liked by most actors and technicians, Curtiz extracted performances from his stars that have left some of the most indelible impressions on our minds from the 1930s and 1940s: Flynn and Rathbone duelling it out against vast shadows on the castle walls in The Adventures of Robin Hood; a doomed Spencer Tracy saying goodbye to Bette Davis at the end of 20,000 Years in Sing Sing; Cagney going to the chair a coward in Angels with Dirty Faces; Joan Crawford's great liquid eyes suffering their way to an Oscar in Mildred Pierce; Bogart and Bergman giving each other up in Casablanca (the film for which Curtiz won his only Oscar).

Curtiz was already a veteran of dozens of films in Hungary, Denmark, Germany and Austria before studio boss Jack Warner saw one of his Austrian films and brought him to Hollywood and the Warner Brothers studio. At first, inevitably the darker side of Curtiz's Magyar-Germanic flair was expressed in horror films. But he soon proved adept at all genres popular at the studio and his gift for orchestrating crowd scenes was never put to better use than in his films with Errol Flynn, which began properly with Captain Blood. The action scenes here and in subsequent Flynn-Curtiz films involve hundreds of men fighting on screen at once; no other big-scale action sequences have ever matched them. The contrasting nature of these two men regrettably split the partnership in 1941. Curtiz remained at his peak as a director until the end of the 1940s.

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Film Directors).

HONORS and AWARDS:

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Michael Curtiz was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning one for Best Director for Casablanca in 1943.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1935Best DirectorCaptain Blood (1935)N/ANominated
1938Best DirectorAngels with Dirty Faces (1938)N/ANominated
1942Best DirectorYankee Doodle Dandy (1942)N/ANominated
1943Best DirectorCasablanca (1942)N/AWon
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He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures.

BlogHub Articles:

The Politics of Yankee Doodle Dandy – Exclusive Guest Post by Author Alan K. Rode (: A Life)

By Guest Post on Nov 20, 2017 From Classic Movie Hub Blog

The Politics of Yankee Doodle Dandy The notion for a biographical film about legendary show business powerhouse George M. Cohan had been kicking around Hollywood since the late 1930s. The father of American musical comedy claimed to be born on July 4, 1878 and began treading the boards at age eight ... Read full article


: A Life in Film Book Giveaway (Facebook/Blog Book Giveaway November)

By Annmarie Gatti on Nov 5, 2017 From Classic Movie Hub Blog

“: A Life in Film” Book Giveaway via Facebook and this Blog Okay, now it’s time for the Facebook/Blog version of our of “: A Life in Film” Giveaway Contest! This time we’ll be giving away one copy of the book via Facebook and this blog, courtesy of University Press of Ken... Read full article


: A Life in Film Book Giveaway (via Twitter in Novemer)

By Annmarie Gatti on Oct 29, 2017 From Classic Movie Hub Blog

“: A Life in Film” Book Giveaway via Twitter Time for our next book giveaway! This time, CMH is happy to say that we will be giving away FIVE COPIES of “: A Life in Film” by Alan K. Rode, courtesy of University Press of Kentucky, from Oct 30 through Dec 2. (pl... Read full article


The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938, and William Keighley)

By Andrew Wickliffe on Jul 2, 2017 From The Stop Button

The Adventures of Robin Hood gets by on a lot of charm. Charm and costuming (good and bad). The film opens with title cards setting the scene. Sherwood Forest, evil King’s brother, righteous nobel, beautiful damsel, insidious villain, and Technicolor tights–Claude Rains looking like a Little Lord Fa... Read full article


Angels with Dirty Faces (1938, )

By Andrew Wickliffe on Mar 16, 2015 From The Stop Button

Angels with Dirty Faces runs less than ninety minutes, but doesn’t really fill them. The first fifteen minutes of the film are flashbacks, tracking James Cagney’s character from troubled boyhood to juvenile detention to prison. Once the present action starts, Cagney immediately reunites ... Read full article


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(1945)
Mon. 29 Jan. 04:30 PM EST

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Michael Curtiz on the
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Michael Curtiz Facts
After Nunnally Johnson bowed out, 20th Century Fox started negotiations with Curtiz to direct the Elvis Presley film Flaming Star (1960), but the job was later taken by Don Siegel. Curtiz had previously directed Presley in King Creole (1958) and was originally set to direct him again in G.I. Blues (1960).

His adopted son, John Meredyth Lucas, said he spoke 5 languages, all of them badly. His thick Hungarian accent often made it difficult for cast and crew to understand him when he spoke English. During the filming of Casablanca (1942), for instance, he asked a set dresser for a "poodle", and when the dresser brought him a small poodle dog, Curtiz exploded at the man--he had meant that he wanted a "poodle" of water. On the set of The Cabin in the Cotton (1932), Curtiz made a speech to the actors on how he wanted them to act like "woodpeckers" when the script described them as "peckerwoods". A number of Curtiz' other misstatements were mistakenly attributed to producer Samuel Goldwyn, who was also famous for verbal slips.

Was assigned to direct Adventures of Don Juan (1948), in 1947, however Errol Flynn had a falling-out with him.

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