Frank Borzage


Director
Frank Borzage

About

Birth Place
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Born
April 23, 1894
Died
June 19, 1962
Cause of Death
Cancer

Biography

Borzage switched from acting to directing in 1916, bringing to the screen a dedication to romanticism that became his trademark. Although undoubtedly sentimental--and criticized by some for it--his films, from "Humoresque" (1920) through "Moonrise" (1948), were not only undeniably popular but, at their best, were also the moving, highly artful and visually enthralling work of an instantl...

Photos & Videos

Family & Companions

Rena Rogers
Wife
Actor. Divorced in 1945.
Edna Marie Stillwell
Wife
Married in 1945; divorced in 1949.
Juanita Borzage
Wife

Biography

Borzage switched from acting to directing in 1916, bringing to the screen a dedication to romanticism that became his trademark. Although undoubtedly sentimental--and criticized by some for it--his films, from "Humoresque" (1920) through "Moonrise" (1948), were not only undeniably popular but, at their best, were also the moving, highly artful and visually enthralling work of an instantly recognizable filmmaker, a genuine auteur.

Borzage was a pioneer in the use of techniques, such as soft focus, that have become standards of romantic filmmaking. He was the first ever recipient of a best director Oscar, for "Seventh Heaven" (1927), he won the award again for "Bad Girl" (1931). A sensitive explorer of the pains and joys of love, and a true believer in its enduring power, Borzage made films in a surprisingly wide range of genres, from the romantic comedy to the war film. In addition to the aforementioned, he left his indelibe stamp on such distinguished films as "Lazybones" (1925), "Lucky Star" (1929), "A Farewell to Arms" (1932), "Little Man, What Now?" (1934), "Desire" (1936), "History Is Made at Night" (1937), "Three Comrades" (1938), "The Mortal Storm" (1940), and "I've Always Loved You" (1946).

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Journey Beneath the Desert (1967)
Director
The Big Fisherman (1959)
Director
China Doll (1958)
Director
Moonrise (1948)
Director
That's My Man (1947)
Director
I've Always Loved You (1946)
Director
Magnificent Doll (1946)
Director
The Spanish Main (1945)
Director
Till We Meet Again (1944)
Director
His Butler's Sister (1943)
Director
Stage Door Canteen (1943)
Director
The Vanishing Virginian (1942)
Director
Seven Sweethearts (1942)
Director
Billy the Kid (1941)
Director
Smilin' Through (1941)
Director
I Take This Woman (1940)
Director
Flight Command (1940)
Director
The Mortal Storm (1940)
Director
Strange Cargo (1940)
Director
Disputed Passage (1939)
Director
The Shining Hour (1938)
Director
Three Comrades (1938)
Director
Big City (1937)
Director
History Is Made at Night (1937)
Director
Green Light (1937)
Director
Mannequin (1937)
Director
Hearts Divided (1936)
Director
Desire (1936)
Director
Living on Velvet (1935)
Director
Shipmates Forever (1935)
Director
Stranded (1935)
Director
No Greater Glory (1934)
Director
Little Man, What Now? (1934)
Director
Flirtation Walk (1934)
Director
Man's Castle (1933)
Director
Secrets (1933)
Director
Young America (1932)
Director
A Farewell to Arms (1932)
Director
After Tomorrow (1932)
Director
Young As You Feel (1931)
Director
Doctors' Wives (1931)
Director
Bad Girl (1931)
Director
Liliom (1930)
Director
Song o' My Heart (1930)
Director
The River (1929)
Director
Lucky Star (1929)
Director
They Had To See Paris (1929)
Director
Street Angel (1928)
Director
7th Heaven (1927)
Director
The Dixie Merchant (1926)
Director
"Marriage License?" (1926)
Director
The First Year (1926)
Director
Early To Wed (1926)
Director
The Lady (1925)
Director
Daddy's Gone a-Hunting (1925)
Director
The Circle (1925)
Director
Wages for Wives (1925)
Director
Lazybones (1925)
Director
Secrets (1924)
Director
Children of Dust (1923)
Director
The Age of Desire (1923)
Director
The Nth Commandment (1923)
Director
The Good Provider (1922)
Director
The Pride of Palomar (1922)
Director
Billy Jim (1922)
Director
The Valley of Silent Men (1922)
Director
Back Pay (1922)
Director
Hair Trigger Casey (1922)
Director
Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford (1921)
Director
The Duke of Chimney Butte (1921)
Director
Humoresque (1920)
Director
Toton (1919)
Director
Whom the Gods Would Destroy (1919)
Director
Prudence on Broadway (1919)
Director
Prudence of Broadway (1919)
Director
Society for Sale (1918)
Director
Innocent's Progress (1918)
Director
An Honest Man (1918)
Director
The Gun Woman (1918)
Director
Who Is to Blame? (1918)
Director
The Curse of Iku (1918)
Director
The Ghost Flower (1918)
Director
The Shoes That Danced (1918)
Director
The Curse of Iku (1918)
Director
Flying Colors (1917)
Director
Until They Get Me (1917)
Director
Immediate Lee (1916)
Director
Land O' Lizards (1916)
Director
Life's Harmony (1916)
Director
Nell Dale's Men Folks (1916)
Director
That Girl of Burke's (1916)
Director
The Code of Honor (1916)
Director
The Silken Spider (1916)
Director
The Demon of Fear (1916)
Director
Dollars of Dross (1916)
Director
The Forgotten Prayer (1916)
Director
The Mystery of Yellow Aster Mine (1913)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Jeanne Eagels (1957)
Director
Hair Trigger Casey (1922)
Immediate Lee
The Curse of Iku (1918)
Allan Carroll/Allan Carroll III
The Curse of Iku (1918)
A School for Husbands (1917)
Hugh Aslam
Fear Not (1917)
Franklin Shirley
A Mormon Maid (1917)
Tom Rigdon
Wee Lady Betty (1917)
Roger O'Reilly
Land O' Lizards (1916)
The stranger
Immediate Lee (1916)
Immediate Lee
The Code of Honor (1916)
Life's Harmony (1916)
That Girl of Burke's (1916)
The Silken Spider (1916)
The Forgotten Prayer (1916)
Nell Dale's Men Folks (1916)
The Cup of Life (1915)
Dick Ralston
Aloha Oe (1915)
The Wrath of the Gods (1914)
Tom Wilson
The Typhoon (1914)
Renard Bernisky

Writer (Feature Film)

Dollars of Dross (1916)
Screenwriter

Producer (Feature Film)

China Doll (1958)
Producer
That's My Man (1947)
Producer
I've Always Loved You (1946)
Producer

Production Companies (Feature Film)

Till We Meet Again (1944)
Company
His Butler's Sister (1943)
Company
Stage Door Canteen (1943)
Company
The Vanishing Virginian (1942)
Company
Seven Sweethearts (1942)
Company
Smilin' Through (1941)
Company
Flight Command (1940)
Company
The Mortal Storm (1940)
Company
Strange Cargo (1940)
Company
Disputed Passage (1939)
Company
Three Comrades (1938)
Company
The Shining Hour (1938)
Company
Green Light (1937)
Company
Big City (1937)
Company
Mannequin (1937)
Company
Desire (1936)
Company
Hearts Divided (1936)
Company
Shipmates Forever (1935)
Company
Stranded (1935)
Company
Living on Velvet (1935)
Company
Little Man, What Now? (1934)
Company
Flirtation Walk (1934)
Company
No Greater Glory (1934)
Company
Secrets (1933)
Company
Man's Castle (1933)
Company
After Tomorrow (1932)
Company
Young America (1932)
Company
A Farewell to Arms (1932)
Company
Young As You Feel (1931)
Company
Doctors' Wives (1931)
Company

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Marlene (1984)
Other

Life Events

1906

At age 13, worked in a silver mine to pay for a correspondence course on acting (date approximate)

1906

Joined a traveling troupe of actors as a prop man; eventually began acting with the company and was made a leading man before age 20

1912

Joined Thomas Ince's film company as an actor

1912

Short film acting debut in "When Lee Surrenders"

1913

Medium-length film acting debut in "The Ambassador's Envoy"

1914

Feature film acting debut in "The Battle of Gettysburg"

1915

Film directorial debut, "The Pitch o' Chance"

1916

Directed 15 films, nearly all distributed by American Mutual Company

1918

Helmed nine films, most produced by Allan Dwan

1920

Breakthrough feature as director, "Humoresque", scripted by Frances Marion; film no longer extant

1924

Made silent version of "Secrets", starring Norma Talmadge

1925

Early surving feature, "Lazybones", scripted by Frances Marion

1927

Helmed "Seventh Heaven"; won first of two Best Director Academy Awards; also first award presented in this category; paired Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell on screen

1928

Reteamed Gaynor and Farrell in "Street Angel"

1929

Third pairing of Gaynor and Farrell, "Lucky Star"

1929

Made first talking picture, "They Had to See Paris"

1930

Was director of "Liliom"

1932

Helmed the adaptation of "A Farewell to Arms", starring Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes

1932

Won second Oscar for directing "Bad Girl"

1933

Guided Mary Pickford in her final screen appearance in remake of "Secrets"

1934

First film with Margaret Sullavan, "Little Man, Now What?"

1936

Directed Marlene Dietrich in "Desire"

1938

Helmed "Three Comrades", starring Margaret Sullavan

1938

Made two films starring Joan Crawford, "Mannequin" and "The Shining Hour"

1940

Last film with Sullavan, "The Mortal Storm", third in unofficial trilogy of films set in Germany

1940

Third feature with Joan Crawford, "Strange Cargo"

1942

Left MGM and worked freelance until after WWII

1946

Steered David Niven and Ginger Rogers in the biopic of Dolly Madison, "The Magnificent Doll"

1946

Signed six-film contract with Republic Pictures

1946

Directed Republic's first Technicolor feature "I've Always Loved You"

1949

Helmed "Moonrise"; last film for nearly a decade

1958

Returned to feature directing with "China Doll"

1959

Last film, "The Big Fisherman", a three-hour biblical epic based on Lloyd C Douglas' novel

Photo Collections

Mannequin - Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Here is a photo taken behind-the-scenes during production of Mannequin (1937), starring Joan Crawford and Spencer Tracy and directed by Frank Borzage.
Strange Cargo - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Strange Cargo (1940). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Farewell To Arms, A (1932) - There's A War On Adolphe Menjou is Italian Rinaldi, annoyed as his WWI American ambulance driver pal Henry (Gary Cooper) has snuck off with his beloved English nurse Catherine (Helen Hayes), mangled Hemingway but the outcome clear enough, in the pre-code A Farewell To Arms, 1932.
Farewell To Arms, A (1932) - No, I Mean Girls (First) World war ambulance driver Frederic (Gary Cooper) is happy to meet Italian surgeon pal Rinaldi (Adolphe Menjou) at the hospital, early in Frank Borzage's A Farewell To Arms, 1932, from the Hemingway novel.
Strange Cargo (1940) - Men Without Hope Deep thoughts, presumably from the novel by Richard Sale, as prologue, prisoner Verne (Clark Gable) introduced, warden Grideau (Frederic Worlock) having his fun, opening Frank Borzage's existential adventure Strange Cargo, 1940, also starring Joan Crawford.
Strange Cargo (1940) - Go Away Pig Joining the first scene for Joan Crawford (as entertainer "Julie"), she rejects hustler Peter Lorre (his character really is named "Pig"), then has trouble with laborer-convict Verne (Clark Gable), working the wharf at a French penal colony in Guiana, in Frank Borzage's Strange Cargo, 1940.
Strange Cargo (1940) - Kinship With The Dead Inmate Telez (Eduardo Ciannelli) with his bible, visited by the beatific Cambreau (Ian Hunter), who has inexplicably appeared among the convicts in the French colonial prison, literate Hessler (Paul Lukas), then re-captured Verne (Clark Gable) getting involved, in Frank Borzage's Strange Cargo, 1940.
Seven Sweethearts (1942) - House Of Seven Tulips Joining the opening scene, from producer Joe Pasternak, Van Heflin is feature reporter Henry arrived in a Dutch-themed Michigan town, where S.Z. Sakall runs the hotel and has seven daughters, Victor, George and Peter (Cecilia Parker, Frances Rafferty, Dorothy Morris) introduced here, in Seven Sweethearts, 1942.
Seven Sweethearts (1942) - Mozart's Cradle Song Co-top-billed Kathryn Grayson is introduced as “Billie,” the sixth of seven daughters of the owner of a Dutch-style hotel in Michigan, all of whom appear to have boys’ names, this one being the handy-type, with musical talent, further perplexing reporter-guest Henry (Van Heflin), in Seven Sweethearts, 1942.
Seven Sweethearts (1942) - I Am A Personality Stranded reporter-guest Henry (Van Heflin) ignores a spat between Michigan-Dutch innkeeper Van Master (S.Z. Sakall) and a guest (Isobel Elsom) as we finally meet Regina (Marsha Hunt), eldest of his seven daughters, the only one with a girls’ name, and lots of attitude, in MGM’s Seven Sweethearts, 1942.
Flight Command (1940) - Keep It Flying Director Frank Borzage in his element, high emotion meeting military duty, as dying inventor-pilot Jerry (Shepperd Strudwick) shares with buddy Drake (Robert Taylor) while their commander (Walter Pidgeon) breaks the news to his wife, Jerry’s sister (Ruth Hussey), expecting courage, in Flight Command, 1940.
Flight Command (1940) - I Thought I'd Landed In China Brash Navy flight school graduate Drake (Robert Taylor) has just crash-landed his new plane in the Pacific, not realizing that the lady (Ruth Hussey) of the first house he comes to is the wife of his irritated new commander (Walter Pidgeon), in Frank Borzage’s Flight Command, 1940.
Flight Command (1940) - Stray Hellcat Cocky new Navy flyer Drake (Robert Taylor) in bad weather flying his new high-tech plane to his new assignment in San Diego, Red Skelton the radio officer as brass led by Cmdr. Gary (Walter Pidgeon) try to talk him down, not a total success, early in Flight Command, 1940.
Street Angel (1928) - A Vagabond Painter Circus proprietor Mascetto (Henry Armetta) hurries perfomer Angela (Janet Gaynor) to help hold his audience, tempted away by painter Gino (Charles Farrell), in Frank Borzage's Street Angel, 1928.

Trailer

Flirtation Walk - (Original Trailer) 42nd Street stars Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler head a musical salute to West Point in Flirtation Walk (1934).
Vanishing Virginian, The - (Original Trailer) A conservative southern patriarch tries to cope with changing times in Frank Borzage's The Vanishing Virginian (1942).
Flight Command - (Original Trailer) Walter Pidgeon introduces himself as Commander Gary, also the host of the original theatrical trailer for MGM's Flight Command, 1940, starring Robert Taylor and Ruth Hussey, directed by Frank Borzage.
Shipmates Forever - (Original Trailer) An admiral's son (Dick Powell) gives up the Navy for a career as a song-and-dance man in the musical Shipmates Forever (1935).
Strange Cargo - (Original Trailer) Devil's Island prisoners are changed forever by a prisoner who thinks he's Jesus in Strange Cargo (1940) starring Clark Gable & Joan Crawford.
Mortal Storm, The - (Original Trailer) The Third Reich's rise tears apart a German family in The Mortal Storm (1940), starring Margaret Sullavan & James Stewart.
I Take This Woman - (Original Trailer) A tenement doctor (Spencer Tracy) finds his marriage to a European refugee (Hedy Lamarr) threatens his practice. Directed by W.S. Van Dyke II.
Spanish Main, The -- (Original Trailer) Dutch rebels in the Caribbean turn pirate and kidnap the corrupt Spanish governor's bride-to-be in The Spanish Main (1945) starring Paul Henreid and Maureen O'Hara.
Smilin' Through (1941) - (Original Trailer) Future husband-and-wife Gene Raymond and Jeanette McDonald in Smilin' Through (1941), their one film together.
Green Light - (Original Trailer) Errol Flynn is a doctor who sacrifices his reputation in Green Light (1937) based on a novel by the author of Magnificent Obsession.
Three Comrades - (Original Trailer) Three Comrades (1938), Erich Maria Remarque's novel about three friends in Germany between the wars, was adapted for the screen by famed novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Living on Velvet - (Original Trailer) A guilt-ridden pilot (George Brent) finds a new outlook on life when he falls for a society girl (Kay Francis).

Family

Daniel Borzage
Brother
Actor. Born in 1885; died in June 1975.
Lew Borzage
Brother
Assistant director. Born on January 30, 1898; died in December 1974.

Companions

Rena Rogers
Wife
Actor. Divorced in 1945.
Edna Marie Stillwell
Wife
Married in 1945; divorced in 1949.
Juanita Borzage
Wife

Bibliography