Maurice Tourneur


Director

About

Also Known As
Maurice Thomas
Birth Place
Paris, FR
Born
February 02, 1876
Died
August 04, 1961

Biography

Former student of painter Auguste Rodin who turned his attention to the theater and then moved into films as an actor and assistant director at the Eclair studios. Tourneur moved to the USA in 1914, initially as head of Eclair's Fort Lee, New Jersey, subsidiary. He soon became known as one of the most stylish directors of his time, partly thanks to his collaboration with pioneering art d...

Family & Companions

Fernande Petit
Wife
Actor. Married in 1904; separated in 1927.

Bibliography

"Maurice Tourneur: The Life and Films"
Harry Waldman, McFarland

Notes

"The cinema is a different medium for hieroglyphically expressing human thoughts using images in place of words and with a savagery no one means of expression possesses. It is no more of an art than the printing press or the alphabet. It is the most significant instrument for bringing together nations and classes because it shows us in the most rapid and forceful way how human beings resemble each other, how the color of their skin or their language does not prevent their hearts from beating in a similar manner. More through the cinema than through the efforts of diplomats, men will realize their needs, aspirations and joys and will stop considering others as strangers." --Maurice Tourneur to Robert Florey in 1920 ("Dictionary of Film Makers" by George Sadoul)

"To speak of the future development of the art of the cinema is futile. It cannot be. It costs a great deal of money to produce a motion picture. The only way the financial backer can get his money back, to say nothing of a profit, is to appeal to the great masses. And the thing that satisfies millions cannont be good." --Maurice Tourneur ("The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers"--Christopher Lyon, editor)

Biography

Former student of painter Auguste Rodin who turned his attention to the theater and then moved into films as an actor and assistant director at the Eclair studios. Tourneur moved to the USA in 1914, initially as head of Eclair's Fort Lee, New Jersey, subsidiary. He soon became known as one of the most stylish directors of his time, partly thanks to his collaboration with pioneering art director Ben Carre, who designed some 35 features for Tourneur through 1920. The pair's best work was in the mystery and fantasy genres. Tourneur's most important films highlight his inimitable visual sensitivity and include the delightfully wistful "The Wishing Ring" (1914), "The Poor Little Rich Girl" (1917), one of Mary Pickford's best showcases; and a vivid rendition of "The Last of the Mohicans" (1920).

Tourneur returned to Europe in 1927 and, aside from one German film, continued his career doing fine work in France through 1948, when he lost a leg in a car accident. Probably his best-known film from this period is his strong and finely acted adaptation of Ben Jonson's "Volpone" (1940), starring Harry Baur and Louis Jouvet. He subsequently translated English-language mystery novels into French. Father of director Jacques Tourneur.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Apres L'Amour (1948)
Director
Impasse des deux anges (1948)
Director
Carnival of Sinners (1943)
Director
Peches de Jeunesse (1941)
Director
Volpone (1940)
Director
Le Patriote (1938)
Director
Katia (1938)
Director
Justin de Marseille (1934)
Director
Le Voleur (1934)
Director
Deux Orphelines, Les (1933)
Director
Au Nom de la Loi (1932)
Director
Gaietes de l'Escadron, Les (1932)
Director
Partir (1931)
Director
Accusee, Leven-vous (1930)
Director
The Mysterious Island (1929)
Addl Director
Das Schiff der Verlorenen Menschen (1929)
Director
Aloma of the South Seas (1926)
Director
Old Loves and New (1926)
Director
Clothes Make the Pirate (1925)
Director
Never the Twain Shall Meet (1925)
Director
Sporting Life (1925)
Director
Torment (1924)
Director
The White Moth (1924)
Director
Jealous Husbands (1923)
Director
The Isle of Lost Ships (1923)
Director
The Brass Bottle (1923)
Pers Director
While Paris Sleeps (1923)
Director
The Christian (1923)
Director
Lorna Doone (1922)
Director
The Bait (1921)
Director
The Foolish Matrons (1921)
Director
The County Fair (1920)
Director
Treasure Island (1920)
Director
The White Circle (1920)
Director
Deep Waters (1920)
Director
My Lady's Garter (1920)
Director
The Last of the Mohicans (1920)
Director
The White Heather (1919)
Director
The Broken Butterfly (1919)
Director
The Life Line (1919)
Director
Victory (1919)
Director
Prunella (1918)
Director
The Blue Bird (1918)
Director
The Rose of the World (1918)
Director
A Doll's House (1918)
Director
Woman (1918)
Director
Sporting Life (1918)
Director
The Whip (1917)
Director
The Undying Flame (1917)
Director
The Law of the Land (1917)
Director
Barbary Sheep (1917)
Director
Exile (1917)
Director
The Pride of the Clan (1917)
Director
The Rise of Jennie Cushing (1917)
Director
A Girl's Folly (1917)
Director
The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)
Director
The Closed Road (1916)
Director
The Rail Rider (1916)
Director
The Pawn of Fate (1916)
Director
The Velvet Paw (1916)
Director
The Hand of Peril (1916)
Director
Alias Jimmy Valentine (1915)
Director
The Cub (1915)
Director
Trilby (1915)
Director
The Ivory Snuff Box (1915)
Director
A Butterfly on the Wheel (1915)
Director
Mother (1914)
Director
The Pit (1914)
Director
The Man of the Hour (1914)
Director
The Wishing Ring; An Idyll of Old England (1914)
Director
The Wishing Ring (1914)
Director
Les Gaites de l'escadron (1913)
Director
Le Dernier pardon (1913)
Director
La Dame de Montsoreau (1913)
Director
Soeurette (1913)
Director
Le Corso rouge (1913)
Director
Figures de cire (1912)
Director
Jean la Poudre (1912)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Mary of the Movies (1923)

Writer (Feature Film)

Au Nom de la Loi (1932)
Screenwriter
Lorna Doone (1922)
Scen
A Doll's House (1918)
Scen
A Girl's Folly (1917)
Scen
A Girl's Folly (1917)
Story
The Closed Road (1916)
Scen
The Hand of Peril (1916)
Scen
The Man of the Hour (1914)
Adaptation
The Wishing Ring; An Idyll of Old England (1914)
Scen
The Wishing Ring (1914)
Screenwriter

Producer (Feature Film)

Carnival of Sinners (1943)
Producer
Lorna Doone (1922)
Producer
The County Fair (1920)
Supervisor
Deep Waters (1920)
Presented By
Treasure Island (1920)
Presented By
The Great Redeemer (1920)
Supervisor
The Last of the Mohicans (1920)
Presented By
The Great Redeemer (1920)
Producer
The Life Line (1919)
Presented By
The Broken Butterfly (1919)
Producer
Victory (1919)
Presented By
Sporting Life (1918)
Presented By
Sporting Life (1918)
Producer

Life Events

1894

Began career as illustrator and graphic and interior designer; became assistant to Auguste Rodin and then Ruvis de Chavannes

1900

Actor, then stage director

1912

Worked as actor in several Eclair films directed by Emile Chautard

1914

Emigrated to US to run Eclair's studio in Fort Lee, NJ; began association with designer Ben Carre

1914

Directed first US film, "The Man of the Hour"

1915

Named production head, Paragon studio

1918

Formed own production company

1919

Moved to Hollywood; signed contract with Paramount; formed Associated Producers Inc. with Thomas Ince and others (failed, 1921)

1920

Moved to Universal after disagreements with Paramount

1926

Quit direction of "The Mysterious Island" after MGM put him under supervision of producer; returned to France

1929

Filmed last silent film in Germany, "Das Schiff der verlorene Menschen" (starred Marlene Dietrich)

Videos

Movie Clip

Last Of The Mohicans, The (1920) - Consent To Be My Squaw Uncas (Albert Roscoe), and fellow Mohicans wisely kept watch as their tactic failed and Magua (Wallace Beery) and his Huron band captured Cora (Barbara Bedford), Alice (Lillian Hall) and Randolph (George Hackathorne), action ensuing, in The Last Of The Mohicans, 1920.
Last Of The Mohicans, The (1920) - You Will Not Be Afraid Uncas (Albert Roscoe), with Hawkeye (Harry Lorraine) and Chingachgook (Theodore Lerch), has rescued Cora (Barbara Bedford) and Alice (Lillian Hall), but the dreaded Hurons still lie in wait, in the Maurice Tourneur production of The Last Of The Mohicans, 1920.
Last Of The Mohicans, The (1920) - Admiring A Filthy Savage Trustworthy Mohican Uncas (Albert Roscoe) grabs the attention of just-introduced Cora (Barbara Bedford), whose father (James Gordon) sends Huron Magua (Wallace Beery) to fetch her, with her sister, to his besieged fort, early in The Last Of The Mohicans, 1920.
Poor Little Rich Girl, The (1917) - Mr. Organ Grinder Gwen (Mary Pickford, title character and head of the production company) with the Organ Grinder (Emile LaCroix) and plumber (Frank McGlynn), busted by servants (Marcia Harris, Charles Craig) when her mother (Madeline Traverse) returns, in The Poor Little Rich Girl, 1917.
Poor Little Rich Girl, The (1917) - My Tomorrow's Never Come Opening scenes, meeting Gwen (Mary Pickford, title character and de facto producer) and her callous parents (Charles Wellesley, Madeline Traverse) from The Poor Little Rich Girl, 1917, directed by Maurice Tourneur.

Family

Jacques Tourneur
Son
Director. Born on November 12, 1904; died on December 19, 1977.

Companions

Fernande Petit
Wife
Actor. Married in 1904; separated in 1927.

Bibliography

"Maurice Tourneur: The Life and Films"
Harry Waldman, McFarland

Notes

"The cinema is a different medium for hieroglyphically expressing human thoughts using images in place of words and with a savagery no one means of expression possesses. It is no more of an art than the printing press or the alphabet. It is the most significant instrument for bringing together nations and classes because it shows us in the most rapid and forceful way how human beings resemble each other, how the color of their skin or their language does not prevent their hearts from beating in a similar manner. More through the cinema than through the efforts of diplomats, men will realize their needs, aspirations and joys and will stop considering others as strangers." --Maurice Tourneur to Robert Florey in 1920 ("Dictionary of Film Makers" by George Sadoul)

"To speak of the future development of the art of the cinema is futile. It cannot be. It costs a great deal of money to produce a motion picture. The only way the financial backer can get his money back, to say nothing of a profit, is to appeal to the great masses. And the thing that satisfies millions cannont be good." --Maurice Tourneur ("The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers"--Christopher Lyon, editor)