John Cromwell


Director
John Cromwell

About

Also Known As
Elwood Dagger Cromwell
Birth Place
Toledo, Ohio, USA
Born
December 23, 1888
Died
September 26, 1979
Cause of Death
Pulmonary Embolism

Biography

Theater success (as actor, director, producer) who went to Hollywood in the late 1920s at the age of 40, and subsequently proved a capable craftsman of polished, occasionally exceptional studio fare, with a gift for eliciting surprisingly solid performances from even mediocre actors.Initially with Paramount, he moved to RKO in 1933, before branching out to work for various producers, mos...

Photos & Videos

The Racket - Behind-the-Scenes Stills
Double Harness - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Double Harness - Publicity Stills

Family & Companions

Alice Indahl
Wife
Actor.
Marie Goff
Wife
Actor.
Kay Johnson
Wife
Actor. Was directed by Cromwell in several films, including "Of Human Bondage" (1934) and "A Village Tale" (1935).
Ruth Nelson
Wife
Actor. Married for 33 years; survived him; died on September 12, 1992 at age 87.

Biography

Theater success (as actor, director, producer) who went to Hollywood in the late 1920s at the age of 40, and subsequently proved a capable craftsman of polished, occasionally exceptional studio fare, with a gift for eliciting surprisingly solid performances from even mediocre actors.

Initially with Paramount, he moved to RKO in 1933, before branching out to work for various producers, most notably the autocratic David O. Selznick. Among Cromwell's better efforts are "Of Human Bondage" (1934), which made Bette Davis a star; the finest version of the swashbuckler "The Prisoner of Zenda" (1937), the slice of Americana, "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" (1940), which owes much of its success to Robert Sherwood's play basis; the WWII homefront tribute, "Since You Went Away" (1944), mostly the vision of producer Selznick; the sensitive, but not overly sentimental, romantic fantasy, "The Enchanted Cottage" (1945), and the visually rewarding "Anna and the King of Siam" (1946), which won Oscars for the cinematographer and production designer.

After leaving Selznick in the post-war period, and being blacklisted in the early 1950s, Cromwell brought a grittier, more realistic edge to such later films as "Dead Reckoning" (1947), the women's prison expose, "Caged" (1950), and the Marilyn Monroe-like saga, "The Goddess" (1959). He appeared in character parts in Robert Altman's "Three Women" (1977) and as the semi-senile priest in "A Wedding" (1978). Married to actresses Alice Indahl, Marie Goff, Kay Johnson and Ruth Nelson and father of actor James (Jamie) Cromwell.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

A Matter of Morals (1961)
Director
The Scavengers (1959)
Director
The Goddess (1958)
Director
The Racket (1951)
Director
The Company She Keeps (1951)
Director
Caged (1950)
Director
Night Song (1948)
Director
Dead Reckoning (1947)
Director
Anna and the King of Siam (1946)
Director
The Enchanted Cottage (1945)
Director
Since You Went Away (1944)
Director
Son of Fury (1942)
Director
So Ends Our Night (1941)
Director
Victory (1941)
Director
Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)
Director
Made for Each Other (1939)
Director
In Name Only (1939)
Director
The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938)
Director
Algiers (1938)
Director
The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
Director
Banjo on My Knee (1936)
Director
Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936)
Director
To Mary--With Love (1936)
Director
Village Tale (1935)
Director
Jalna (1935)
Director
I Dream Too Much (1935)
Director
Spitfire (1934)
Director
This Man Is Mine (1934)
Director
The Fountain (1934)
Director
Of Human Bondage (1934)
Director
Ann Vickers (1933)
Director
The Silver Cord (1933)
Director
Sweepings (1933)
Director
Double Harness (1933)
Director
Hell's Highway (1932)
Fill-In Director
The World and the Flesh (1932)
Director
Rich Man's Folly (1931)
Director
The Vice Squad (1931)
Director
Scandal Sheet (1931)
Director
Unfaithful (1931)
Director
Seven Days Leave (1930)
Co-Director
Tom Sawyer (1930)
Director
Street of Chance (1930)
Director
The Texan (1930)
Director
For the Defense (1930)
Director
Close Harmony (1929)
Director
The Dance of Life (1929)
Director
The Mighty (1929)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

A Wedding (1978)
Bishop Martin
3 Women (1977)
Pinky'S Father
Top Secret Affair (1957)
Gen. Daniel A. Grimshaw
Street of Chance (1930)
Imbrie
The Mighty (1929)
Mr. Jameison
The Dummy (1929)
Walter Babbing
The Dance of Life (1929)
Doorkeeper

Production Companies (Feature Film)

Night Song (1948)
Company

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988)
Other
The Man Who Envied Women (1986)
Other

Life Events

1906

Acting debut in "Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall"

1907

Joined Cleveland Stock Company

1908

Moved to NYC; toured with small theater companies; became actor and stage manager for 12 years with William A. Brady's theatrical company

1910

Broadway acting debut in Brady's "Baby Mine"

1911

Directed first stage play for Brady's company

1912

Appeared on Broadway in "Little Women"; changed name to John Cromwell

1923

Produced and directed "Tarnished", first of many plays backed as independent theatrical producer

1928

While appearing in the Los Angeles stage production of "The Racket" (with Edward G. Robinson), signed to featured players contract as actor by Paramount

1929

Film acting debut in "The Dummy"

1929

Co-directing debut (with Edward Sutherland), "Close Harmony"

1929

Solo directing debut (also actor), "The Mighty"

1933

Began association with David O. Selznick

1936

Left RKO and joined Selznick's independent production company

1942

Returned to stage as actor in "Yankee Point"

1951

Accused of being a Communist and blacklisted in Hollywood; returned again to stage (and won a Tony Award) as Henry Fonda's father in "Point of No Return"

Photo Collections

The Racket - Behind-the-Scenes Stills
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of RKO's The Racket (1951), starring Robert Mitchum, Lizabeth Scott, and Robert Ryan, and directed by John Cromwell.
Double Harness - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken during production of RKO's Double Harness (1933), directed by John Cromwell and starring Ann Harding and William Powell.
Double Harness - Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos taken to publicize RKO's Double Harness (1933), starring William Powell, Ann Harding, and Lilian Bond. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Double Harness - Pressbook
Here is the campaign book (pressbook) for the American release of RKO's Double Harness (1933). Pressbooks were sent to exhibitors and theater owners to aid them in publicizing the film's run in their theater.
(Pressbook images courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)
Double Harness - Scene Stills
Here are a number of scene stills from RKO's Double Harness (1933), starring Ann Harding and William Powell.

Videos

Movie Clip

Dead Reckoning (1947) — (Movie Clip) I’ve Got To Tell Somebody Opening with Humphrey Bogart in flight in a dark but Southern city, John Cromwell directing him to a church where we learn he’s ex-paratrooper Rip and James Bell is sky-diving priest Logan, but the story, for now, is about Johnny (William Prince), in Dead Reckoning, 1947, also starring Lizabeth Scott.
Silver Cord, The (1933) - Let Me Look At You Now Snapping forward as German-born Christina scientist (Irene Dunne) and her architect husband (Joel McCrea) arrive from Heidelberg at his family country home, meeting his brother’s fianceè (Frances Dee) then Robert (Eric Linden), and Laura Hope Crews their mother, in her celebrated Broadway role, in The Silver Cord, 1933.
Silver Cord, The (1933) - Have You Had Many Frances Dee as Hester and Eric Linden as younger-brother and fiancè Robert have stepped forward in the family drama, she having nearly offended his well-heeled mother, causing a more forthright discussion than she expected, in director John Cromwell’s The Silver Cord, 1933, from Jane Murfin’s script based on Sidney Howard’s hit play.
In Name Only (1939) - People In Our Position Following his car crash, Maida (Kay Francis) thinks she's caught spouse Alec (Cary Grant) red-handed, leading to his righteous denial and turnabout, early in John Cromwell's In Name Only, 1939.
Ann Vickers (1933) - I Once Bit A Policeman Popular Settlement House worker Irene Dunne (title character) meets Captain Resnick (Bruce Cabot), about to ship off to war in Europe, John Cromwell directing, from the first novel published by Sinclair Lewis after he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, in Ann Vickers, 1933.
Ann Vickers (1933) - Muck And Slime Of Life Following what in the original Sinclair Lewis novel is openly called an abortion, social worker Irene Dunne (title character) is more vague as she convalesces and reflects with doctor and friend Malvina (Edna May Oliver), in Ann Vickers, 1933, directed by John Cromwell.
Ann Vickers (1933) - You Look Reasonably Disillusioned A good four reels into the film, Irene Dunne (title character), now a famous author and social scientist, finally meets Walter Huston, her fellow above-the-title star, a leading judge who recently blurbed her book, in Ann Vickers, 1933, from the Sinclair Lewis novel.
Since You Went Away (1944) - The Eternal Also-Ran Anne (Claudette Colbert) meets divorcee Emily (Agnes Moorehead) for a drink, social commentary overheard, and Tony (Joseph Cotten) appearing, in David Selznick's home-front saga Since You Went Away, 1944.
Since You Went Away (1944) - I Wish I Were Twenty-Seven Jane (Jennifer Jones) is at first compassionate toward Corporal Smollett (Jones' then-husband Robert Walker) then swooning before officer Tony (Joseph Cotten) in David Selznick's Since You Went Away, 1944.
In Name Only (1939) - How About A Sandwich? With a fictional Connecticut village established by road sign in the opening shot, director John Cromwell introduces Carole Lombard (as "Julie") fishing, Cary Grant (as "Alec") in jodhpurs, the promising meet-cute, though it's no comedy, co-starring Kay Francis, In Name Only, 1939.
In Name Only (1939) - Crashing Garden Parties Maida (Kay Francis) social engineering at her party, with friend Ned (Jonathan Hale) and her in-laws (Charles Coburn, Nella Walker), framing husband Alec (Cary Grant) and neighbor Julie (Carole Lombard), in John Cromwell's In Name Only, 1939.
Of Human Bondage (1934) - They All Laugh At You The end of one abortive date, Mildred (Bette Davis) dissing club-footed medical student Philip (Leslie Howard), who obsesses, then faces more cruelty, from John Cromwell's Of Human Bondage, 1934.

Trailer

Family

James Cromwell
Son
Actor.

Companions

Alice Indahl
Wife
Actor.
Marie Goff
Wife
Actor.
Kay Johnson
Wife
Actor. Was directed by Cromwell in several films, including "Of Human Bondage" (1934) and "A Village Tale" (1935).
Ruth Nelson
Wife
Actor. Married for 33 years; survived him; died on September 12, 1992 at age 87.

Bibliography