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Frank Borzage

Frank Borzage

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Also Known As: Died: June 19, 1962
Born: April 23, 1894 Cause of Death: cancer
Birth Place: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA Profession: director, screenwriter, actor, miner

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Borzage switched from acting to directing in 1916, bringing to the screen a dedication to romanticism that became his trademark. Although undoubtedly sentimental--and criticized by some for it--his films, from "Humoresque" (1920) through "Moonrise" (1948), were not only undeniably popular but, at their best, were also the moving, highly artful and visually enthralling work of an instantly recognizable filmmaker, a genuine auteur. Borzage was a pioneer in the use of techniques, such as soft focus, that have become standards of romantic filmmaking. He was the first ever recipient of a best director Oscar, for "Seventh Heaven" (1927); he won the award again for "Bad Girl" (1931). A sensitive explorer of the pains and joys of love, and a true believer in its enduring power, Borzage made films in a surprisingly wide range of genres, from the romantic comedy to the war film. In addition to the aforementioned, he left his indelibe stamp on such distinguished films as "Lazybones" (1925), "Lucky Star" (1929), "A Farewell to Arms" (1932), "Little Man, What Now?" (1934), "Desire" (1936), "History Is Made at Night" (1937), "Three Comrades" (1938), "The Mortal Storm" (1940), and "I've Always Loved You" (1946). ...

Borzage switched from acting to directing in 1916, bringing to the screen a dedication to romanticism that became his trademark. Although undoubtedly sentimental--and criticized by some for it--his films, from "Humoresque" (1920) through "Moonrise" (1948), were not only undeniably popular but, at their best, were also the moving, highly artful and visually enthralling work of an instantly recognizable filmmaker, a genuine auteur.

Borzage was a pioneer in the use of techniques, such as soft focus, that have become standards of romantic filmmaking. He was the first ever recipient of a best director Oscar, for "Seventh Heaven" (1927); he won the award again for "Bad Girl" (1931). A sensitive explorer of the pains and joys of love, and a true believer in its enduring power, Borzage made films in a surprisingly wide range of genres, from the romantic comedy to the war film. In addition to the aforementioned, he left his indelibe stamp on such distinguished films as "Lazybones" (1925), "Lucky Star" (1929), "A Farewell to Arms" (1932), "Little Man, What Now?" (1934), "Desire" (1936), "History Is Made at Night" (1937), "Three Comrades" (1938), "The Mortal Storm" (1940), and "I've Always Loved You" (1946).

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
  The Big Fisherman (1959) Director
3.
  China Doll (1958) Director
4.
  Moonrise (1948) Director
5.
  That's My Man (1947) Director
6.
  Magnificent Doll (1946) Director
7.
  I've Always Loved You (1946) Director
8.
  The Spanish Main (1945) Director
9.
  Till We Meet Again (1944) Director
10.
  Stage Door Canteen (1943) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Jeanne Eagels (1957) Director
2.
 Hair Trigger Casey (1922) Immediate Lee
3.
 The Curse of Iku (1918) Allan Carroll/Allan Carroll III
4.
5.
 A Mormon Maid (1917) Tom Rigdon
6.
 Wee Lady Betty (1917) Roger O'Reilly
7.
 Fear Not (1917) Franklin Shirley
8.
 A School for Husbands (1917) Hugh Aslam
9.
 Immediate Lee (1916) Immediate Lee
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1906:
At age 13, worked in a silver mine to pay for a correspondence course on acting (date approximate)
1906:
Joined a traveling troupe of actors as a prop man; eventually began acting with the company and was made a leading man before age 20
1912:
Joined Thomas Ince's film company as an actor
1912:
Short film acting debut in "When Lee Surrenders"
1913:
Medium-length film acting debut in "The Ambassador's Envoy"
1914:
Feature film acting debut in "The Battle of Gettysburg"
1915:
Film directorial debut, "The Pitch o' Chance"
1916:
Directed 15 films, nearly all distributed by American Mutual Company
1918:
Helmed nine films, most produced by Allan Dwan
1920:
Breakthrough feature as director, "Humoresque", scripted by Frances Marion; film no longer extant
1924:
Made silent version of "Secrets", starring Norma Talmadge
:
Directed seven films for Fox
1925:
Early surving feature, "Lazybones", scripted by Frances Marion
1927:
Helmed "Seventh Heaven"; won first of two Best Director Academy Awards; also first award presented in this category; paired Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell on screen
1928:
Reteamed Gaynor and Farrell in "Street Angel"
1929:
Third pairing of Gaynor and Farrell, "Lucky Star"
1929:
Made first talking picture, "They Had to See Paris"
1930:
Was director of "Liliom"
1932:
Helmed the adaptation of "A Farewell to Arms", starring Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes
1932:
Won second Oscar for directing "Bad Girl"
1933:
Guided Mary Pickford in her final screen appearance in remake of "Secrets"
:
Worked as a director for hire at various studios
1934:
First film with Margaret Sullavan, "Little Man, Now What?"
1936:
Directed Marlene Dietrich in "Desire"
:
Under contract with MGM, made 11 motion pictures
1938:
Helmed "Three Comrades", starring Margaret Sullavan
1938:
Made two films starring Joan Crawford, "Mannequin" and "The Shining Hour"
1940:
Last film with Sullavan, "The Mortal Storm", third in unofficial trilogy of films set in Germany
1940:
Third feature with Joan Crawford, "Strange Cargo"
1942:
Left MGM and worked freelance until after WWII
1946:
Steered David Niven and Ginger Rogers in the biopic of Dolly Madison, "The Magnificent Doll"
1946:
Signed six-film contract with Republic Pictures
1946:
Directed Republic's first Technicolor feature "I've Always Loved You"
1949:
Helmed "Moonrise"; last film for nearly a decade
1958:
Returned to feature directing with "China Doll"
1959:
Last film, "The Big Fisherman", a three-hour biblical epic based on Lloyd C Douglas' novel
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Rena Rogers. Actor. Divorced in 1945.
wife:
Edna Marie Stillwell. Married in 1945; divorced in 1949.
wife:
Juanita Borzage.

Family close complete family listing

brother:
Daniel Borzage. Actor. Born in 1885; died in June 1975.
brother:
Lew Borzage. Assistant director. Born on January 30, 1898; died in December 1974.

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