skip navigation
Andre DeToth

Andre DeToth

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (1)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Andre DeToth - NOT AVAILABLE

Find what your looking for faster use the search field below to shop for titles.

SEARCH TCM.COM/SHOP


OR ... Click here to VOTE > for this person to be released on Home Video



Also Known As: Andre Detoth, Endre Toth, Sasvrai Farkasfalvi Tothfalusi Toth Endre Antal Mihaly, Andreas Toth Died: October 27, 2002
Born: May 15, 1913 Cause of Death: aneurysm
Birth Place: Hungary Profession: director, producer, screenwriter, playwright, actor, 2nd unit director, editor, typesetter, journalist, truck driver, painter, sculptor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Born and raised in Hungary, Andre de Toth came to the USA in the 1940s and became established as a workmanlike director whose films, notably his Westerns and films noir, were later hailed for their moody, psychological aspects. A genuinely colorful character, the one-eyed helmer has proven evasive in interviews, particularly in relation to his early life and career and his marriage to screen siren Veronica Lake. The son of a former Hussar turned civil engineer, de Toth disappointed his father by being asked to leave a number of schools and then by deciding not to pursue a military career. Instead, he allegedly showed an early artistic bent, having a one-person art show while in his early teens (he claims to have destroyed the paintings and sculpture). His first play is said to have closed before it opened but led to a meeting with playwright Ferenc Molnar who served as a mentor, introducing de Toth to various high profile individuals and obtaining writing assignments for the youth. After obtaining a law degree, de Toth reportedly entered the Hungarian film industry, working as a camera operator for noted cinematographer Istvan (Stefan) Eiben. During the 1930s, he reportedly lived throughout Europe...

Born and raised in Hungary, Andre de Toth came to the USA in the 1940s and became established as a workmanlike director whose films, notably his Westerns and films noir, were later hailed for their moody, psychological aspects. A genuinely colorful character, the one-eyed helmer has proven evasive in interviews, particularly in relation to his early life and career and his marriage to screen siren Veronica Lake. The son of a former Hussar turned civil engineer, de Toth disappointed his father by being asked to leave a number of schools and then by deciding not to pursue a military career. Instead, he allegedly showed an early artistic bent, having a one-person art show while in his early teens (he claims to have destroyed the paintings and sculpture). His first play is said to have closed before it opened but led to a meeting with playwright Ferenc Molnar who served as a mentor, introducing de Toth to various high profile individuals and obtaining writing assignments for the youth. After obtaining a law degree, de Toth reportedly entered the Hungarian film industry, working as a camera operator for noted cinematographer Istvan (Stefan) Eiben. During the 1930s, he reportedly lived throughout Europe and visited the USA on several occasions. While in London, de Toth worked in several capacities for the Korda brothers before heading to Vienna to work on a script. On one of his trips to Los Angeles, he claims to have done uncredited work on the script for 1937's "The Life of Emile Zola".

Returning to Budapest, de Toth began his directing career in earnest under the name Endre Toth, making five films in less than one year. His first "Toprini nasz/Wedding at Toprin" caught the attention of Harry Cohn at Columbia but it would be several years before de Toth was ready to move permanently to the USA. Although there have been allegations that he made films of the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, it has not been proven. What is known is that de Toth returned to London and worked for the Korda brothers, often as a production assistant and/or second unit director, although he only received onscreen credit for his work on 1942's "The Jungle Book". He finally arrived in Hollywood in 1943 and entered the American film industry as helmer of "Passport to Suez", a well-made piece of propaganda about the Nazis wanting to bomb the Suez Canal. Harry Cohn put the director under contract for one film and the result, "None Shall Escape" (1944), was a taut drama about a Nazi officer made to examine his career. It was "Ramrod" (1947), though, that first brought him widespread attention. A Western drama featuring Veronica Lake, Charles Ruggles and Joel McCrea, it was acclaimed for its spectacular black-and-white photography (by Russell Harlan) and for its strong cast. The film also established what has come to be perceived as the major theme that runs through nearly all of de Toth's work: the vagaries of human relationships.

De Toth scored again with "Pitfall" (1948) which turned on a bored insurance salesman who embarks on an affair that threatens everything he holds important. Again, the director showed a particular affinity with his actors, eliciting fine portrayals from leads Dick Powell, Jane Wyatt and Lizbeth Scott and supporting actor Raymond Burr. De Toth shared a 1950 Oscar nomination with William Bowers for Best Original Motion Picture Story for "The Gunfighter" (1950), a superb character study of a killer trying to live down his past. (De Toth, however, objected to the casting of leading man Gregory Peck claiming the role was created with Gary Cooper in mind.) In 1951, he made the first of six fine Westerns with Randolph Scott, "Man in the Saddle". He finally realized his dream of directing his friend Cooper in "Springfield Rifle" (1952), but contemporary critics were dismissive of the results.

"House of Wax" (1953), on the other hand, was praised by reviewers. The one-eyed de Toth was a curious choice to helm a 3-D film as he could not experience the stereoscopic process, but he persevered and the film was the most successful 3-D movies of its day (It also introduced Vincent Price to the genre with which he would become indelibly linked.) De Toth followed with a series of fast-paced thrillers, the best of which is "Crime Wave" (1954), a hostage drama raised a notch by the acting of Sterling Hayden, Gene Nelson and Phyllis Kirk. "The Indian Fighter" (1955) was the first film produced by Kirk Douglas and offered the star a strong role as an army scout. De Toth brought a steady hand to the proceedings, earning notice for depicting the Native Americans with more depth than contemporary directors.

Turning to social problems, de Toth directed the stark drama about drug addiction "Monkey on My Back" (1957), loosely drawn from the life of boxer Barney Ross. After helming the well-received "Day of the Outlaw" (1959) and the disappointing "Man on a String" (1960), the director decamped to Italy where he oversaw a number of forgettable films. During this European sojourn, de Toth took time to work as an uncredited "consultant" on David Lean's spectacular "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962). The exact nature of his contributions remains murky; de Toth says he "found locations", but conceded he shot some footage, although how much of his work found its way into the final cut is unknown. After a near-fatal 1964 skiing accident, he slowed his output. Reportedly, de Toth worked as a second unit director on one or more of the James Bond films and wrote and produced "Billion Dollar Baby" (1967, directed by Ken Russell) for Bond producer Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli. After replacing Rene Clement on the above-average "Play Dirty" (1968), he more or less retired from active filmmaking. De Toth produced "El Condor" (1970) and then offered uncredited assistance on numerous projects (including staging the flying sequences of 1978's "Superman" and as a script doctor on 1980's "The Lion of the Desert"). With the awarding of the 1995 life achievement prize by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the publication of his memoirs, "Fragments: Portraits From the Inside", de Toth began to receive his due for his economical and entertaining body of work.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  The Mongols (1966) Director
2.
  Gold for the Caesars (1964) Director
3.
  Oro Per I Cesari (1962) Director
4.
  Morgan the Pirate (1961) Supv dir
5.
  Man on a String (1960) Director
6.
  The Two-Headed Spy (1959) Director
7.
  Day of the Outlaw (1959) Director
8.
  Hidden Fear (1957) Director
9.
  Monkey on My Back (1957) Director
10.
  The Indian Fighter (1955) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Forever Hollywood (1999) Himself
3.
 Spontaneous Combustion (1989) Vandermeer
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
As a teenager, had one-person art show; later destroyed his paintings and sculpture
:
Had first play produced at age 18
1931:
Entered Hungarian film industry (date approximate)
:
Worked at Hunnia Studios
:
Apprenticed as cameraman for cinematographer Istvan (Stefan) Eiben
1937:
First film as screenwriter ("from story"), "Falu rossza/Evil Village"
:
During the 1930s, made several visits to Hollywood
1939:
Directed five Hungarian features credited as Endre Toth; the first, "Toprini nasz/Wedding in Toprin"
1939:
Moved to England
:
Worked as 2nd unit director for Alexander Korda on several films; only received credit on "The Jungle Book" (1942); reported to have worked on "Four Feathers" (1939), "The Thief of Bagdad" (1940) and "Sahara" (1943), among others
1942:
Relocated to Los Angeles
1943:
Hollywood directing debut, "Passport to Suez"
1944:
Signed to a one picture contract with Columbia; helmed the war drama "None Shall Escape"
1947:
Joined Enterprise Productions
1947:
Directed first Western, "Ramrod", starring Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake
1948:
Sued by Columbia for nonpayment of part of his salary paid by Warner Bros; amount in question was roughly $1,400; under terms of his contract, de Toth had to pay Columbia a percentage of any salaries he earned on loan-outs
1950:
Shared Oscar nomination with William Bowers for the Best Motion Picture Story for "The Gunfighter"
1951:
First of six films with Randolph Scott, the Western "Man in the Saddle"
1953:
Helmed "House of Wax", a 3-D remake of "Mystery of the Wax Museum"; first horror role for Vincent Price
1957:
Directed the drug addiction drama "Monkey on My Back"
:
Directed episodes of TV series like "Maverick", "77 Sunset Strip" and "The Westerner" in the late 1950s and early 1960s
1962:
Acted as a consultant to David Lean on "Lawrence of Arabia"; reportedly "found locations" and did uncredited 2nd unit work
1964:
Seriously injured in a skiing accident
:
Reportedly shot second unit work on James Bond films
1968:
Executive produced and directed "Play Dirty"; replaced Rene Clement as director
1970:
Produced "El Condor", directed by John Guillermin
1976:
Made film on board minehunter HMS Bronington with HRH Prince Charles of England
1978:
Worked as uncredited director of the flying sequences of "Superman"; some sequences also used in "Superman II"
1980:
Reportedly offered assistance on the feature "The Lion of the Desert"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Hungarian Royal University: - 1934

Notes

"My birthdate changes between 1900 and 1920 according to different publications, but the fact remains I was born. The truth is, I don't remember the event. I was told by a reliable source that it was 1913, May 15, in Hungary." --de Toth

On his uncredited work on "Superman", de Toth told Anthony Slide: "They earned the Oscars and I walked away with the best: happy memories."

De Toth's motto was "Don't be careful, have fun."

"I am interested in the most complex things I know of--people. And they're very intricate in their relationships to each other. ... Real violence has nothing to do with hardware, blowing up buildings. Real violence is from within--the violence of people, the violence of Raymond Burr in 'Pitfall'" --Andre de Toth quoted in Moviemaker, April 1998.

"I'll do something one day I'll be proud of. ... I haven't really lived up to what I would like to do. Not yet." --de Toth in his 80s, quoted in Moviemaker, April 1998.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Veronica Lake. Married on December 17, 1944; separated in 1951; divorced in June 1952.
wife:
Ann Green. Screenwriter.

Family close complete family listing

step-daughter:
Elaine Detlie.
son:
Anthony Michael de Toth III. Born on October 25, 1945.
daughter:
Diana de Toth. Born on October 16, 1948.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Fragments: Portraits From the Inside"
"De Toth on de Toth: Putting the Drama in Front of the Camera: Conversations with Anthony Slide" Faber and Faber

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute