Classic Movie Legend Tribute: Michael Curtiz

Happy Birthday to Classic Movie Legend, Michael Curtiz, born December 24, 1886!

Some directors are remembered for a specific reason. Hitchcock will be forever known as the master of suspense, Cuckor earned the moniker of “womans director,” and Ed Wood has a special place in history as the worst director, well, ever. With these directors, you remember them because you remember their niche.  Other directors, however, are just as prolific — yet lack a definable niche to which they perfectly fit.  Michael Curtiz is one of these directors.

As much as I love the man, Curtiz is often left out of conversations revolving around great directors. Think about that for a second; the man who directed movies such Casablanca, Mildred Pierce, and The Adventures of Robin Hood isn’t placed on the same pop-culture pedestal as his peers.  Why is that, you ask? Well, it’s simple. Rather than being a master of a single genre, Curtiz was a jack of all trades. He had both an uncanny understanding of filmic language as well as the ability to foster an audiences’ need to suspend belief. Simply put, he understood the role of movies as a much needed escape from the daily trials of the reality and used his craft accordingly. Each film he directed was dictated by the needs of that particular genre in conjunction with that particular script. Each film was a bubble of his own creation, completely separate from his other films in style, tone and finesse. And it is for this reason, he can sometimes be “forgotten.” We do not remember the director, instead, we remember the films. So, let’s celebrate this jack of all genres by remembering the films we forgot he directed.


Michael Curtiz get gangster in Angels with Dirty Face (1938, Michael Curtiz director)


Michael Curtiz gets romantic with Casablanca (1942, Michael Curtiz, Director)


Michael Curtiz gets the Holiday Cheer with White Christmas (1954, Michael Curtiz director)


Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

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