Rouben Mamoulian Overview:

Director, Rouben Mamoulian, was born on Oct 8, 1897 in Tiflis, Russian Empire [now Tbilisi]. His best known films include The Mark of Zorro, Blood and Sand, Silk Stockings, Queen Christina and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Mamoulian died at the age of 90 on Dec 4, 1987 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles and was laid to rest in Forest Lawn (Glendale) Cemetery in Glendale, CA.


The innovative Rouben Mamoulian was fond of orchestrating effects likely to make 'knowing' audiences burst into applause. 'My aim,' he once said, 'was always rhythm and poetic stylization.'  Any number of five-minute sequences from Mamoulian films could be (and hopefully are) shown to film students as living examples of the largely lost art of cinema. These would certainly include the entire opening sequence of Applause (sights and sounds of the city apparently organized to the beat of a metronome), City Streets (the camera discreetly observing Gary Cooper and Sylvia Sidney), Becky Sharp (the remarkably intelligent use of color), The Mark of Zorro (the duel between Tyrone Power and Basil Rathbone in a confined space), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (the transformation scene), and Love Me Tonight (the big, densely populated musical set-pieces).

One of Mamoulian's most enjoyable films is his last, Silk Stockings, a musical remake of Ninotchka, which Mamoulian packs with color and humor, and in which he brings winning performances by each of his stars.

Mamoulian had come to America at the age of 25, still very much a director of traditional Russian theater. His experience in opera led him to the stage version of Porgy and Bess, and the formulation of the Mamoulian style, which held early sound audiences in thrall.  Mamoulian was certainly among the liberators of the cinema -- blending sound, visuals and camera movement with montage effects to capture the atmosphere of his setting and create the rhythm of his film, a world beyond the reach of most of his contemporaries.

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



He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures. In addition, Mamoulian was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame .

BlogHub Articles:

City Streets (1931, )

on Apr 29, 2020 From The Stop Button

The first third of City Streets is this awesome bit of experimenting from director Mamoulian as he tries to figure out how to make a sound picture. Lots of great shots and camera setups, usually with too dawdling cuts. William Shea holds everything just a few seconds too long. But the montage imager... Read full article

Becky Sharp (, 1935)

By Judy on Jan 22, 2015 From Movie Classics

This is my contribution to the Miriam Hopkins Blogathon, which is running from January 22 to 25. Please do visit and read the other postings! ?I’ll admit I expected a lot from Becky Sharp.?It has a great star, Miriam Hopkins, in a powerful role giving her plenty of scope, and a great director ... Read full article


By Will McKinley on Jul 26, 2012 From Cinematically Insane

’s RINGS ON HER FINGERS (1942) ?has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the year for me, classic-film-wise. I reviewed the new DVD from the Twentieth Century Fox Cinema Archives Collection for Cinema Sentries this week, and I’m still thinking about how much I enjoy... Read full article

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Rouben Mamoulian on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame

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Rouben Mamoulian Facts
Innovative director who was both partial to expressionism and realism in his films. He found new and interesting ways of moving the camera, not only with a dolly but also using simple pans that were not "functional" at the time - such as "space pans" - and seldom used, an industry "no, no". In the contemporary film world these kinds of pans are not only accepted but the norm.

Armenian like the genius Sergei Parajanov -- both were born in the same city - Tiflis.

Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945". Pages 710-714. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.

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Theater Hall of Fame

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