Jean Negulesco


Director
Jean Negulesco

About

Birth Place
Romania
Born
February 26, 1900
Died
July 18, 1993
Cause of Death
Heart Failure

Biography

Former painter turned Hollywood director who moved to the US in 1927 and began his film career as a sketch artist for title designs and montage sequences. Negulesco later worked as an assistant producer, second unit director and co-screenwriter before making his first directorial effort, "Singapore Woman," in 1941. Negulesco did some of his finest directing for Warner Bros. in the 1940s,...

Bibliography

"Things I Did...and Things I Think I Did"
Jean Negulesco (1985)

Biography

Former painter turned Hollywood director who moved to the US in 1927 and began his film career as a sketch artist for title designs and montage sequences. Negulesco later worked as an assistant producer, second unit director and co-screenwriter before making his first directorial effort, "Singapore Woman," in 1941. Negulesco did some of his finest directing for Warner Bros. in the 1940s, showing a flair for polished melodrama and film noir. The complexly plotted "The Mask of Dimitrios" (1944) was an admirable showcase for a debuting Zachary Scott and the Warner Bros. stock company, while "Three Strangers" (1946) brought together the formidable trio of Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet and Geraldine Fitzgerald in an unusual tale of cross and double-cross. Negulesco's talents for showcasing his female stars was confirmed with the touching Ida Lupino vehicle, "Deep Valley" (1947) and the admirably adult "Johnny Belinda" (1948) in which Jane Wyman gave a memorable Oscar-winning performance as a deaf-mute rape victim.

Negulesco moved to 20th Century-Fox later in 1948, and his first film there, "Road House," was consistent with his earlier work. A standardly plotted noir, it nonetheless brought together the formidable starring quartet of Lupino, Richard Widmark, Cornel Wilde and Celeste Holm and came to an explosive finale. Negulesco also did quite well with the restrained wartime women prisoner saga "Three Came Home" (1950), spotlighting Claudette Colbert and Sessue Hayakawa, and with the unjustly neglected "Take Care of My Little Girl" (1951). As his tenure at Fox progressed, Negulesco continued to deliver glossy star vehicles featuring handsome visuals, but the plotting was more often routine and the cumulative narrative drive less gripping.

Negulesco continued to show a tendency toward all-star films about groups of three or four people, but the emphasis shifted from displaying group interactions to telling their separate stories. The entertaining if insubstantial comedy "How to Marry a Millionaire" (1953), with Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall and Marilyn Monroe, was typical in this respect, and the historical recreation "Titanic" (1953), proved to be one of his better films from this period. One of Negulesco's best-remembered films, "Three Coins in the Fountain" (1954), extremely popular in its day and critically fairly well received, continued in this vein as three women found romance in an Italy so handsomely photographed that the film's travelogue style took precedence over its dramatic thrust. "Women's World" (1954) came back to the states as three wives jockeyed to get their husbands an important promotion; the surface glamour was there, but little else of note remained. "Daddy Long Legs" (1955) was an overlong but nonetheless warmly appealing for the acting of Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron, if not their dancing. "Boy on a Dolphin" (1957), meanwhile, only revamped Negulesco's tourist guide sheen and "The Best of Everything" (1959) brought together yet another trio of upwardly mobile working women in an undistinguished if watchable manner.

Negulesco made a handful of films during the 60s of little note and later dabbled in art collecting and real estate. If in retrospect his career seems to have been swamped by increasingly vapid, star-heavy glamourfests, he nevertheless helmed a number of very fine films and proved himself a reliable and talented purveyor of smooth entertainment.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Invincible Six (1970)
Director
Hello--Goodbye (1970)
Director
The Pleasure Seekers (1964)
Director
Jessica (1962)
Director
The World of Suzie Wong (1961)
Addl Director
The Best of Everything (1959)
Director
Count Your Blessings (1959)
Director
The Gift of Love (1958)
Director
A Certain Smile (1958)
Director
Boy on a Dolphin (1957)
Director
The Rains of Ranchipur (1955)
Director
Daddy Long Legs (1955)
Director
Woman's World (1954)
Director
Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
Director
River of No Return (1954)
Director of retakes
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Director
Titanic (1953)
Director
Scandal at Scourie (1953)
Director
O. Henry's Full House (1952)
Director of "The Last Leaf"
Phone Call from a Stranger (1952)
Director
Lure of the Wilderness (1952)
Director
Lydia Bailey (1952)
Director
Take Care of My Little Girl (1951)
Director
Three Came Home (1950)
Director
The Mudlark (1950)
Director
Under My Skin (1950)
Director
The Forbidden Street (1949)
Director
Road House (1948)
Director
Johnny Belinda (1948)
Director
Humoresque (1947)
Director
Deep Valley (1947)
Director
Three Strangers (1946)
Director
Nobody Lives Forever (1946)
Director
The Mask of Dimitrios (1944)
Director
The Conspirators (1944)
Director
Paris Calling (1942)
Road seq Director by
Singapore Woman (1941)
Director
City for Conquest (1940)
Fill-In Director
Crash Donovan (1936)
Co-Director
Kiss and Make-Up (1934)
Associate Director

Cast (Feature Film)

L' Autre (1991)
Interpreter
Un Officier de Police sans Importance (1973)
Dov
The Big Show (1957)

Writer (Feature Film)

Road House (1948)
Contract Writer
Rio (1939)
Original Story
The Beloved Brat (1938)
Original Story
Swiss Miss (1938)
Original Story
Expensive Husbands (1937)
Screenwriter
Fight for Your Lady (1937)
Story

Producer (Feature Film)

Jessica (1962)
Producer
A Farewell to Arms (1932)
Assistant to Benjamin Glazer

Art Department (Feature Film)

Daddy Long Legs (1955)
Portrait painter

Production Companies (Feature Film)

Jessica (1962)
Company

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)
Other

Director (Short)

Six Hits and a Miss (1945)
Director
Roaring Guns (1944)
Director
Cavalcade of Dance (1943)
Director
The United States Army Band (1943)
Director
Three Cheers for the Girls (1943)
Director
The United States Service Bands (1943)
Director
Ozzie Nelson and His Orchestra (1943) (1943)
Director
The Voice That Thrilled the World (1943)
Director
Hit Parade of the Gay Nineties (1943)
Director
The United States Navy Band (1943)
Director
The United States Army Air Force Band (1942)
Director
Calling All Girls (1942)
Director (Uncredited)
The United States Marine Band (1942)
Director
Borrah Minevitch and His Harmonica School (1942)
Director
Those Good Old Days (1941)
Director
Spanish Fiesta (1941)
Director
The Gay Parisian (1941)
Director
Hal Kemp and His Orchestra (1941)
Director
Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestrae (1941)
Director
Skinnay Ennis and His Orchestra (1941)
Director
The Flag of Humanity (1940)
Director
Henry Busse and His Orchestra (1940)
Director
Cliff Edwards and His Buckaroos (1940)
Director
Alice in Movieland (1940)
Director

Writer (Short)

The Flag of Humanity (1940)
Writer

Music (Short)

Three Cheers for the Girls (1943)
Music

Life Events

1912

Ran away from home at age 12 and made his way to Paris; supported himself by washing dishes (date approximate)

1915

Returned to Romania with the outbreak of WWI (date approximate)

1927

Came to the United States

1937

Began working as a feature film writer when he co-wrote the original story for "Fight for Your Lady" and the screenplay for "Expensive Husbands"

1941

Made directorial debut for Warners with "Singapore Woman"

1944

Achieved critical success with his second film, "The Mask of Dimitrios"

1948

Last film for Warner Brothers, "Johnny Belinda"

1948

Joined 20th Century-Fox; first film there, "Road House"

1959

Last film for 20th Century-Fox for five years, "The Best of Everything"

1961

Went to Europe to film the US-French-Italian co-production, "Jessica"

1970

Made last films, "Hello-Goodbye" and "The Invincible Six"

Videos

Movie Clip

Nobody Lives Forever (1946) - Mountains Of The Moon We've just left John Garfield as WWII vet and accomplished con artist Nick on a train, having reclaimed his nest-egg in New York, headed west to see what his old mentor Pop (Walter Brennan) is up to, which is more of a street hustle, Wallace Scott his mark, Jean Negulesco directing, from a W.R. Burnett novel, in Nobody Lives Forever, 1946.
Titanic (1953) - When I Was One And Twenty Day two of the voyage, Thelma Ritter as the "Molly Brown" character placing a bet, Robert Wagner as "Giff" approaching Barbara Stanwyck as "Mrs. Sturgess," fortuitously reading from A.E. Houseman's A Shropshire Lad, about her daughter, her husband (Clifton Webb) non-plussed, in Titanic, 1953.
Titanic (1953) - Open, All Navigational Details Just rough Arctic ice to begin, and a buoyant iceberg, before the credits and a quick tour of the interior of the ship, in the Barbara Stanwyck-Clifton Webb-Robert Wagner version of Titanic, 1953, from 20th Century Fox.
Phone Call From A Stranger (1952) - You're All Married Binky (top-billed Shelley Winters), nervous about the weather before her first airplane flight, makes a second approach to Gary Merrill, whom we know is leaving his wife and traveling under an assumed name, when they’re joined by Keenan Wynn and Michael Rennie, with extensive exposition, in Jean Negulesco’s Phone Call From A Stranger, 1952, produced and written by Nunnally Johnson from an I.A.R. Wylie novelette.
Phone Call From A Stranger (1952) - He's Had A Great Deal To Drink In his flashback to events pre-dating the airline flight by about seven years, Michael Rennie as Dr. Fortness (Michael Rennie) shouldn’t be driving, his wife (Beatrice Straight) and colleague Dr. Brooks (Hugh Beaumont) trying to intervene, in Phone Call From A Stranger, 1952.
Phone Call From A Stranger (1952) - Even Though You're Still In Love With Her? Gary Merrill as lawyer Trask visits Bette Davis (Mrs. Merrill, at the time) as Marie, last of the next-of-kin of his fellow travelers who didn’t survive the airline crash, surprised she isn’t the swimsuit ingenue from the photograph her boorish husband showed, in Phone Call From A Stranger, 1952, from an I.A.R. Wylie story.
Mask Of Dimitrios, The (1944) - Who Paid For The Bullet? Still at the opening party in Istanbul, Turkish cop Haki (Kurt Katch) button-holing vacationing novelist Leyden (Peter Lorre),) then offering him a glimpse at the intriguing title character (Zachary Scott, not seen), in The Mask Of Dimitrios, 1944, from an Eric Ambler novel.
Mask Of Dimitrios, The (1944) - What Is Your Game? First part of a big showpiece for Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, as curious Dutch novelist Leyden and thus far ill-defined Peters, the second confronting the first in his Sofia hotel room, asking why he's interested in the title character, in The Mask Of Dimitrios, 1944.
Mask Of Dimitrios, The (1944) - It Costs Money To Love With help from local Marukakis (Eduardo Cianelli), Dutch writer Leyden (Peter Lorre) has come to Sofia, meeting the cagey Irana (Faye Emerson), who reveals some of her experience with the title character (Zachary Scott), in The Mask Of Dimitrios, 1944, from an Eric Ambler novel.
Three Strangers (1946) - It Has Always Been Man's Nature Instant spellcasting, a prologue and foggy London, from the original screenplay by John Huston and Howard Koch, Jean Negulesco directing, finding Geraldine Fitzgerald in furs and Sydney Greenstreet in pursuit, opening Three Strangers, 1946, also starring Peter Lorre.
Three Strangers (1946) - At Least Ten Years Of Fainting The last bit of Crystal (Geraldine Fitzgerald) having it out with her husband (Alan Napier, whom she claimed was overseas) then she’s transported via Kwan Yin’s statue to join her new co-conspirator West (Peter Lorre), whose mysterious friend Icy (Joan Lorring) arrives, John Huston and Howard Koch’s script twisting, in Three Strangers, 1946.
Three Strangers (1946) - She's A Very Ancient Personage Geraldine Fitzgerald still hasn’t exchanged names with equally unacquainted Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, having lured them up to her plush first floor London apartment, beginning to explain what she has in mind, from an original script by John Huston and Howard Koch, in Three Strangers, 1946.

Trailer

Deep Valley - (Original Trailer) A farmer's daughter (Ida Lupino) helps an escaped convict (Dane Clark) through the Dark Valley (1947).
Daddy Long Legs - (Original Trailer) A tycoon (Fred Astaire) anonymously sponsors a college education for a French girl (Leslie Caron) in the musical Daddy Long Legs (1955).
How to Marry a Millionaire - (Original Trailer) Three models pool their resources to rent a posh penthouse in hopes of snaring rich husbands in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) starring Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe & Betty Grable.
Boy on a Dolphin - (Original Trailer) A Greek diver finds a rare statue plunging her into intrigue in Boy on a Dolphin (1957) starring Sophia Loren and Alan Ladd.
Beloved Brat, The - (Original Trailer) A compassionate teacher (Dolores Costello) tries to reach a spoiled tomboy (Bonita Granville) in The Beloved Brat (1938).
O. Henry's Full House - (Original Trailer) Five stories reveal O. Henry's gift for the surprise ending with the help of five directors and a host of stars in O. Henry's Full House (1952).
Singapore Woman - (Original Trailer) A woman who believes she's cursed, takes refuge on a rubber plantation in Singapore Woman (1941) starring Brenda Marshall.
Johnny Belinda - (Original Trailer) Jane Wyman won a Best Actress Award portraying a deaf-mute girl who learns to communicate with the help of a small town doctor (Lew Ayres) in Johnny Belinda (1948), directed by Jean Negulesco.
Count Your Blessings - (Original Trailer) After a wartime separation, an Englishwoman discovers her French husband is a womanizer in Count Your Blessings (1959) starring Deborah Kerr.
Three Coins in the Fountain - (Original Trailer) Three American rommates working in Italy wish for the man of their dreams after throwing Three Coins in the Fountain (1954).
Gift of Love, The - (Original Trailer) A dying woman (Lauren Bacall) arranges an adoption to leave her husband with some consolation in The Gift of Love (1958).
Scandal at Scourie - (Original Trailer) Controversy erupts in a small Canadian town when a Protestant couple tries to adopt a Catholic child. Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon's last co-starring movie.

Hosted Intro

Bibliography

"Things I Did...and Things I Think I Did"
Jean Negulesco (1985)