George Stevens


Director
George Stevens

About

Birth Place
Oakland, California, USA
Born
December 18, 1904
Died
March 08, 1975

Biography

Leading Hollywood craftsman, responsible for some fine films of the 1930s and 40s, but whose later output tended toward the over-ambitious and excessive. The son of performers, Stevens entered films at age 17 as a cameraman and later worked for the Hal Roach company, where he directed his first shorts. He joined RKO in 1934 and proceeded to churn out a series of crafty comedies and light...

Photos & Videos

Penny Serenade - Movie Posters
A Damsel in Distress - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
I Remember Mama - Movie Poster

Family & Companions

Joan Stevens
Wife
Divorced.

Bibliography

"George Stevens: An American Romantic"
Donald Richie, Garland Publishing (1971)

Notes

Awarded a citation from General Eisenhower for filming such important war events as D-Day and the freeing of inmates at Dachau (1945)

Biography

Leading Hollywood craftsman, responsible for some fine films of the 1930s and 40s, but whose later output tended toward the over-ambitious and excessive.

The son of performers, Stevens entered films at age 17 as a cameraman and later worked for the Hal Roach company, where he directed his first shorts. He joined RKO in 1934 and proceeded to churn out a series of crafty comedies and light musicals, scoring his first major success with "Alice Adams" (1935), which was followed by the Astaire-Rogers classic "Swing Time" (1936), the action-packed "Gunga Din" and the brilliantly realized debut pairing of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, "Woman of the Year" (1941).

After heading the Army Signal Corps Special Motion Picture Unit during WWII, Stevens re-entered civilian life in 1945 and hit his peak with "I Remember Mama" (1948) and "A Place in the Sun" (1951). His subsequent work, including "Shane" (1953) and "Giant" (1956), strove for epic status but came off as overblown and excessive. Stevens's final effort, "The Only Game in Town" (1970), was a refreshing, if flawed, return to his earlier, more modest, style.

Son George Stevens, Jr., is a producer who made a well-received documentary on his father, "George Stevens, Filmmaker" (1984), served as chief of the United States Information Service's motion picture division from 1962-67 and was named the first head of the American Film Institute in 1977.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Only Game in Town (1970)
Director
The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
Director
The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
Director
Giant (1956)
Director
The Eddie Cantor Story (1954)
Director
Shane (1953)
Director
Something to Live For (1952)
Director
A Place in the Sun (1951)
Director
On Our Merry Way (1948)
Director
I Remember Mama (1948)
Director
The Nazi Plan (1945)
Director
The More the Merrier (1943)
Director
The Talk of the Town (1942)
Director
Woman of the Year (1942)
Director
Penny Serenade (1941)
Director
Vigil in the Night (1940)
Director
Gunga Din (1939)
Director
Vivacious Lady (1938)
Director
A Damsel in Distress (1937)
Director
Quality Street (1937)
Director
Swing Time (1936)
Director
Annie Oakley (1935)
Director
Alice Adams (1935)
Director
Laddie (1935)
Director
The Nitwits (1935)
Director
Hunger Pains (1935)
Director
Hollywood Party (1934)
Director
Bachelor Bait (1934)
Director
Kentucky Kernels (1934)
Director
Ocean Swells (1934)
Director
The Cohens and Kellys in Trouble (1933)
Director

Cinematography (Feature Film)

The Syndicate (1968)
Director of Photography
No Man's Law (1927)
Director of Photography
The Girl From Gay Paree (1927)
Director of Photography
The Valley of Hell (1927)
Director of Photography
Lightning (1927)
Director of Photography
The Devil Horse (1926)
Director of Photography
The Desert's Toll (1926)
Director of Photography
Black Cyclone (1925)
Director of Photography
The Battling Orioles (1924)
Director of Photography
The White Sheep (1924)
Director of Photography

Writer (Feature Film)

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
Screenwriter

Producer (Feature Film)

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
Producer
The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
Producer
Giant (1956)
Producer
Shane (1953)
Producer
Something to Live For (1952)
Producer
A Place in the Sun (1951)
Producer
I Remember Mama (1948)
Executive Producer
The More the Merrier (1943)
Producer
The Talk of the Town (1942)
Producer
Penny Serenade (1941)
Producer
Vigil in the Night (1940)
Producer
Gunga Din (1939)
Producer
Vivacious Lady (1938)
Producer

Visual Effects (Feature Film)

The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
Modelmaker

Production Companies (Feature Film)

The Only Game in Town (1970)
Company
I Remember Mama (1948)
Company
Penny Serenade (1941)
Company

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988)
Other
James Dean, the First American Teenager (1975)
Other

Director (Short)

That Justice Be Done (1945)
Director
High Gear (1931)
Director
Mama Loves Papa (1931)
Director
Blood and Thunder (1931)
Director
Call a Cop! (1931)
Director
The Kick-Off! (1931)
Director
Air Tight (1931)
Director
Ladies Last (1930)
Director

Assistant Direction (Short)

Hollywood Party (1937)
Assistant Director

Cinematography (Short)

The Panic Is On (1931)
Cinematographer
Let's Do Things (1931)
Cinematographer
Ladrones ("Night Owls", Spanish) (1930)
Cinematographer
Below Zero (1930)
Cinematographer
La Vida Nocturna (1930)
Cinematographer
The Real McCoy (1930)
Cinematographer
The Head Guy (1930)
Cinematographer
Noche De Duendes ("Laurel & Hardy Murder Case" & "Berth Marks", Spanish) (1930)
Cinematographer
Tiembla Y Titubea ("Below Zero", Spanish) (1930)
Cinematographer
Doctor's Orders (1930)
Cinematographer
Bigger and Better (1930)
Cinematographer
Bacon Grabbers (1929)
Cinematographer
Big Business (1929)
Cinematographer
Angora Love (1929)
Cinematographer
The Finishing Touch (1928)
Cinematographer
Putting Pants on Phillip (1927)
Cinematographer
The Second 100 Years (1927)
Cinematographer

Writer (Short)

Doctor's Orders (1930)
Writer

Film Production - Main (Short)

The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case (1930)
Photography
Night Owls (1930)
Photography
Liberty (1929)
Photography
Double Whoopee (1929)
Photography
Men O' War (1929)
Photography

Life Events

1909

First appearance on stage at Alcazar Theater in San Francisco in "Sappho"

1920

Became actor and stage manager for father's theatrical company

1921

Moved to Hollywood; began working as assistant and second cameraman

1924

First film as cameraman, "The White Sheep"

1927

Joined Hal Roach as cameraman and scriptwriter for Laurel and Hardy, Our Gang, and Harry Langdon comedy shorts

1930

First film as director, "Ladies Past"

1932

Directed shorts for Universal and RKO

1933

Directed first feature film, "The Cohens and the Kellys in Trouble"

1938

Producing debut, "Vivacious Lady"

1943

Joined US Army Signal Corps and became head of Special Motion Pictures Unit

1945

Formed Liberty Films with William Wyler, Frank Capra and Samuel J. Briskin

Photo Collections

Penny Serenade - Movie Posters
Here are two different styles of the American one-sheet movie poster for Penny Serenade (1941), starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
A Damsel in Distress - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken during production of RKO's A Damsel in Distress (1937), directed by George Stevens and starring Fred Astaire, Joan Fontaine, and George Burns & Gracie Allen.
I Remember Mama - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for I Remember Mama (1948), starring Irene Dunne. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Giant - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken during production and post-production of Giant (1956). Look for director George Stevens, source novel author Edna Ferber, and stars James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, and Rock Hudson.
A Place in the Sun - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from A Place in the Sun (1951), directed by George Stevens. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Gunga Din - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of RKO's Gunga Din (1939), directed by George Stevens and starring Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Victor McLaglen.
Alice Adams - Title Lobby Card
Here is the Title Lobby Card from Alice Adams (1935), starring Katharine Hepburn. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Quality Street - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-release American movie posters from Quality Street (1937), starring Katharine Hepburn and Franchot Tone.
Swing Time - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of RKO's Swing Time (1936), directed by George Stevens and starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Woman of the Year - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Woman of the Year (1942). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Giant - Movie Poster
Here is the American One-Sheet Movie Poster for Giant (1956), directed by George Stevens. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Gunga Din - Movie Posters
Following are several movie posters from Gunga Din (1939), starring Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Examples are from American, French and Belgian releases.

Videos

Movie Clip

Gunga Din (1939) - Children Are Looking Bonnie! Cutter (Cary Grant) and MacChesney (Victor McLaglen) enter a seemingly abandoned Indian village, where comrade Ballantine (Douglas Fairbanks) discovers mysterious Chota (Abner Biberman), early in George Stevens' Gunga Din, 1939.
Gunga Din (1939) - Very Regimental! Famous scene in which Cutter (Cary Grant) supports Sam Jaffe (title character), the humble native water carrier, in his regular-army fantasy, in George Stevens' Gunga Din, based on the Rudyard Kipling poem.
Gunga Din (1939) - We Were Swindled First appearance by India corps sergeants MacChesney (Victor McLaglen), Ballantine (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) and Cutter (Cary Grant), summoned to commander Weed (Montagu Love), in George Stevens' Gunga Din, 1939.
Greatest Story Ever Told, The (1965) -- Your Brother Will Rise Again Jesus (Max Von Sydow) has traveled to Bethany, where Martha (Ina Balin) can't see why he didn't prevent her brother Lazarus' death, Magdalene (Joanna Dunham) among observers as director George Stevens frames the renowned miracle, in The Greatest Story Ever Told, 1965.
Woman Of The Year (1942) - Should We Abolish Baseball? Opening scene, sports writer Sam (Spencer Tracy) joins pals (Roscoe Karns, William Tannen) and barkeep (William Bendix), as they hear high-brow columnist Tess (Katharine Hepburn) on the radio, in Woman Of The Year, 1942, original screenplay by Michael Kanin and Ring Lardner Jr.
Diary Of Anne Frank, The (1959) - Have You Seen My Shoes? Life in the attic apartment, Anne (Millie Perkins) first writing and narrating, then taunting Peter (Richard Beymer), his mother (Shelley Winters) and her father (Joseph Schildkraut) supporting, in George Stevens' The Diary Of Anne Frank, 1959.
Diary Of Anne Frank, The (1959) - I'm Living A Great Adventure In Amsterdam just after the war, Joseph Schildkraut as Otto Frank has just been identified, greeted by Miep (Dody Heath) and Kraler (Douglas Spencer), whom we surmise helped him and his family hide from the Nazis, leading to the introduction of the diary and the title character (Millie Perkins), early in George Stevens' The Diary Of Anne Frank, 1959.
Diary Of Anne Frank, The (1959) - Bring Only What You Can Carry Delivered by the hosts (Douglas Spencer, Dody Heath) and introduced to the hidden family (including Joseph Schildkraut, Shelley Winters, Millie Perkins as the title character and Lou Jacobi as Van Daan), dentist Dussell (Ed Wynn) brings harrowing news of Amsterdam, in George Stevens’ The Diary Of Anne Frank, 1959.
Diary Of Anne Frank, The (1959) - Was It A Very Bad Dream? A dream sequence from screenwriters Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, from their play and directed by George Stevens, Millie Perkins as the title character, in Amsterdam ca. 1944, imagining scenes of German concentration camps that have been described only by hearsay, Gusti Huber as her mother, in The Diary Of Anne Frank, 1959.
Nitwits, The (1935) - You Opened My Eyes George Stevens with a clever opening, directing his third feature and his second Wheeler & Woolsey vehicle, with a song introduced by Joey Ray, Joan Andrews also singing, the tune by Felix Bernard and L. Wolfe Gilbert, Donald Kerr the lackey, Hale Hamilton the music company boss, and the stars, Bert and Robert, running the cigar shop (Betty Grable in the photo!), in The Nitwits, 1935.
Nitwits, The (1935) - Music In My Heart If Betty Grable looks like she’s 18 it’s because she was, in one of her earliest credited features, as Mary, secretary to the boss upstairs at the music publishing company, who needs a murder song, so she can’t wait to tell her songwriting beau Johnnie (Bert Wheeler) down at the cigar shop, launching into a Jimmy McHugh-Dorothy Fields original, in the Wheeler & Woolsey comedy The Nitwits, 1935.
Nitwits, The (1935) - The Black Widow's Going To Get You! Having by chance written a song about the “Black Widow,” not knowing that music publishing company boss Lake (Hale Hamilton), to whom they’re pitching the song, is being tormented by a blackmailer by that very name, Bert hesitates but Robert manages to perform, in the Wheeler & Woolsey vehicle The Nitwits, 1935.

Trailer

Diary of Anne Frank, The (1959) -- (Original Trailer) Theatrical trailer for producer-director George Stevens’ adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hacket, based on the original diary, The Diary Of Anne Frank, 1959, starring Millie Perkins.
Annie Oakley - (Re-issue Trailer) The famed female sharpshooter (Barbara Stanwyck) learns that you can't get a man with a gun when she falls for a rival marksman. Directed by George Stevens.
Greatest Story Ever Told, The - (Original Trailer) The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) is an epic re-telling of the life of Christ, directed by George Stevens and starring Max Von Sydow, Dorothy McGuire, Claude Rains and many more
Giant - (Original Trailer) A Texas ranching family fights to survive changing times in Giant (1956) starring James Dean, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor.
Vigil In The Night - (Original Trailer) A good nurse (Carole Lombard) ruins her career by covering up for her sister's careless mistake in director George Stevens' Vigil In The Night (1940).
Woman of the Year - (Original Trailer) Opposites distract when a sophisticated political columnist falls for a sportswriter in Woman of the Year (1942), the first film to team Spencer Tracy & Katharine Hepburn, directed by George Cukor.
Vivacious Lady - (1941 Re-release Trailer) After a whirlwind courtship, a night club singer meets her conservative new in-laws in Vivacious Lady (1937), starring Ginger Rogers & James Stewart.
Swing Time - (Re-issue trailer) To prove himself worthy of his fiancee, a dancer tries to make it big, only to fall for his dancing partner in Swing Time (1936). It features the music of Jerome Kern and stars Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
I Remember Mama - (Re-issue Trailer) Norwegian immigrants face the trials of family life in turn-of-the-century San Francisco in George Stevens' I Remember Mama, 1948, starring Irene Dunne and Barbara Bel Geddes.
Place in the Sun, A - (Original Trailer) Montgomery Clift and ELizabeth Taylor star in A Place in the Sun, an adaptation of the Theodore Dreiser novel. An American Tragedy.
Gunga Din - (Re-issue Trailer) Three British soldiers seek treasure during an uprising in India in Gunga Din (1939) starring Cary Grant.
Hollywood Party - (Original Trailer) A movie star's gala celebration creates chaos. Starring Jimmy Durante, the Three Stooges, Laurel & Hardy, Mickey Mouse and many others.

Promo

Family

Landers Stevens
Father
Actor. Became film actor in 1921; appeared in some of his son's films.
Georgia Cooper-Stevens
Mother
Ashton Stevens
Uncle
Drama critic.
George Stevens Jr
Son
Filmmaker, educator. Mother Joan Stevens; chief of USIA's motion picture service (1962-67).
Michael Stevens
Grandson
Director. Born c. 1966.

Companions

Joan Stevens
Wife
Divorced.

Bibliography

"George Stevens: An American Romantic"
Donald Richie, Garland Publishing (1971)

Notes

Awarded a citation from General Eisenhower for filming such important war events as D-Day and the freeing of inmates at Dachau (1945)