TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (9)
|Also Known As:||Died:||April 11, 1962|
|Born:||December 24, 1888||Cause of Death:||cancer|
|Birth Place:||Budapest, HU||Profession:||Director ...|
RATE AND COMMENT
Made first stage appearance in an opera starring his mother
Ran away to join a traveling circus at age 17, performing with them as strongman, acrobat, juggler and mime
After completing studies, joined the Hungarian National Theatre, eventually working as actor and director
Reputedly was a member of the Hungarian fencing team at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games
Film directing debut (although no director credited), "Today and Tomorrow"; also played a leading role; film announced as 'The First Hungarian Dramatic Art Film'
Worked at Nordisk Studios in Denmark learning filmmaking techniques; assisted both Victor Sjostrom and Mauritz Stiller
Returned to Hungary
Directed at least 37 films, many of which--following the Scandinavian example--showed a preference for outdoor locations
Drafted into Austo-Hungarian artillery, but through use of connections obtained transfer to the film unit and then was discharged
Worked as managing director of Hungarian Phoenix Studios; helmed several films which starred first wife Lucy Doraine
Fled Hungary when Bela Kun's Communist regime nationalized film industry
Helmed at least 21 films for Sascha Films of Vienna, credited as Michael Kertesz
Directed the acclaimed "Sodom and Gomorrah", featuring Walter Slezak
Brought to Hollywood by Jack Warner who had been impressed by Curtiz's camera work for "Moon of Israel" (1924), produced by Alexander Korda; directed first US film, "The Third Degree"; first of eight collaborations with Warner Bros. star Dolores Costello
Scored substantial box-office success with "Noah's Ark"; Erich Wolfgang Kornholder provided the first of his six scores for the director
Directed Hollywood's first all-color horror film, "Doctor X"
Helmed the well-regarded, all-color horror flick "The Mystery of the Wax Museum"
First film with James Cagney, "Jimmy the Gent"
Initial collaboration with screenwriter Julius Epstein, "Little Big Shot"
Directed first film with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, "Captain Blood"
Reteamed Flynn and de Havilland in "The Charge of the Light Brigade"; climactic charge was then one of the most dangerous scenes ever filmed with one man dying, several more badly injured, and so many horses killed that the SPCA raised a public protest
First of 10 films with Claude Rains, "Stolen Holiday"
Directed "Kid Galahad", featuring a bravura performance by Edward G. Robinson as a ruthless (but ultimately soft-hearted) boxing manager
Reunited with Cagney for "Angels With Dirty Faces"
Helmed perhaps the finest swashbuckler, "The Adventures of Robin Hood", starring Flynn and de Havilland; Korngold earned his second Oscar for the film's score
First of five films with John Garfield, "Four Daughters"; Garfield's feature debut
Phillip G Epstein teamed with brother Julius on screenplay for "Daughters Courageous"
Directed the Academy Award-winning two-reel short "Sons of Liberty", a Warner Historical Featurette
Helmed "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex", with Bette Davis and Errol Flynn
12th and last film with Flynn, "Dive Bomber"; director and star were barely speaking, and Flynn refused to work with Curtiz afterwards
Reteamed with Robinson for "The Sea Wolf", adapted from the Jack London novel
Fourth and last film with Cagney, "Yankee Doodle Dandy", superb biopic of George M Cohan which earned Cagney the Best Actor Oscar; scripted (with others) by the Epstein brothers
Last film with Costello, "This Is the Army"
Earned Best Director Academy Award for the classic Oscar-winning Best Picture "Casablanca"; the Epstein twins and Howard Koch picked up Best Adapted Screenplay statue as well
"Passage to Marseilles" reunited him with four from the "Casablanca" cast (Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Rains)
Directed "Mildred Pierce", starring Joan Crawford who won a Best Actress Oscar
Formed Michael Curtiz Productions, an in-house company headquartered at Warner Bros.
Last film with Rains, "The Unsuspected"; initial movie made under the Michael Curtiz Productions banner
First of four films with Doris Day, "Romance on the High Seas"; marked Day's film debut
Final film from Michael Curtiz Productions, "Flamingo Road"; sold company to Warners, tired of exercising a nominal independence that gave final say to the studio
Fifth and final film with Garfield, "The Breaking Point", a remake of "To Have and Have Not" that was more faithful to the Hemingway novel
Fourth and last film with Day, "I'll See You in My Dreams", the formulaic musical biopic of Gus Kahn (played by Danny Thomas)
After almost 28 years, ended exclusive affiliation with Warner Bros.; asked to accept a 50 percent cut in pay, refused and quit studio; also embroiled at this time in a paternity suit with a young actress which ultimately went expensively against him
Enjoyed biggest commercial success of career, "White Christmas", for Paramount
Ninth and last film with de Havilland, "Proud Rebel"
Helmed "A Breath of Scandal", adapted from fellow Hungarian Ferenc Molnar's play "Olympia"
Directed last film, "The Comancheros", starring John Wayne
Honored posthumously with a career retrospective at New York's Museum of Modern Art entitled "Michael Curtiz: From Hungary to Hollywood"
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