Michael Curtiz


Director
Michael Curtiz

About

Also Known As
Michael Kertesz, Mahala Kurtez, Michael Courtice, Mihaly Kertesz, Kertesz Mihaly
Birth Place
Budapest, HU
Born
December 24, 1888
Died
April 11, 1962
Cause of Death
Cancer

Biography

One of the most prolific directors in the history of the cinema, Hungarian-born Michael Curtiz thrived in the studio system as the top helmsman at Warner Bros. Studio in the 1930s and 40s. Tirelessly hammering out four or five films a year, Curtiz relentlessly tackled both low-budget pictures and more prestigious Oscar-baiting fare, all the while proving amazingly adept at creating lavis...

Photos & Videos

Casablanca - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Captains of the Clouds - Movie Poster
Mildred Pierce - Lobby Card Set

Family & Companions

Lucy Doraine
Wife
Actor. Married in 1915; divorced in 1923; star of some of Curtiz's early films.
Bess Meredyth
Wife
Screenwriter. Formerly married to actor-director Wilfred Lucas, with whom she had a son; married in 1929; divorced; remarried; separated permanently in 1960 (although they remained on good terms and she maintained a room for him in her home); died on July 13, 1969 at age 79; adapted Charlotte Armstrong's novel for Curtiz's "The Unsuspected" (1947).

Bibliography

"The Casablanca Man"
James C Robertson, Routledge (1993)
"The Warner Brothers Directors"
William R Meyer, Arlington House (1978)

Notes

All his life Curtiz retained a strong Hungarian accent, and his creative mishandlings of the English language deserve to be as famous as those of Sam Goldwyn. He once stormed at a confused prop man: "Next time I send a damn fool, I go myself!" He expressed dissatisfaction with a child actor by remarking scathingly: "By the time I was your age, I was fifteen." --from "World Film Directors", Volume One 1890-1945, edited by John Wakeman (New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1987)

"Bring on the empty horses!" --Curtiz on the set of "THe Charge of the Light Brigade". When co-stars Errol Flynn and David Niven broke out in laughter, Curtiz reportedly responded, "You people, you think I know fuck nothing; I tell you, I know fuck all!" Niven later titled one of memoirs "Bring on the Empty Horses"

Biography

One of the most prolific directors in the history of the cinema, Hungarian-born Michael Curtiz thrived in the studio system as the top helmsman at Warner Bros. Studio in the 1930s and 40s. Tirelessly hammering out four or five films a year, Curtiz relentlessly tackled both low-budget pictures and more prestigious Oscar-baiting fare, all the while proving amazingly adept at creating lavish results on minimal budgets in a wide variety of genres. Autocratic and overbearing to the extreme, Curtiz clashed constantly with his actors, and his most famous player, Errol Flynn, finally refused to work for him after 12 pictures, including swashbuckler classics like "Captain Blood" (1935) and "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938). Yet for all his unsympathetic treatment of performers, Curtiz had a knack for detecting and fostering unknown talents, including Flynn, John Garfield - whom he introduced in "Four Daughters" (1938) - and Doris Day, among others. His highly developed visual approach combined with his technical mastery could elevate the most mundane material, and three of his finest films - "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1942), "Casablanca" (1942) and "Mildred Pierce" (1945) - made a virtue of melodrama and sentimentality. Though he reached the culmination of his creative powers with "The Breaking Point" (1950), Curtiz entered a financially successful period with more crowd-pleasing pictures like "White Christmas" (1954) and "King Creole" (1958). Having tapped out with "The Commancheros" (1961), Curtiz was nonetheless a tireless director who left behind a rich legacy, some of which displayed the very best Hollywood had to offer.

Born on Dec. 24, 1888 in Budapest, Hungary, Curtiz was raised in a moderately middle class home by his architect father and his opera singer mother. After making his stage debut as a child in one of his mother's operas, Curtiz ran away from home at 17 to join the circus, where he performed as a juggler, acrobat and mime. He later attended Markoszy University and the Royal Academy of Theater and Art in Budapest. After completing his studies, he joined the Hungarian National Theatre, where he eventually worked as an actor and director. In 1913, he spent six months working on his craft in Denmark, where he was the assistant director on August Blom's "Atlantis" (1913), before returning to Hungary to briefly serve in the army during World War I. He went back to filmmaking in 1915 and left Hungary four years later after the industry became nationalized, eventually settling in Vienna. There he directed a number of movies for Sascha Films, including the biblical "Sodom und Gomorrha" (1922) and "Moon of Israel" (1924). He also made "Red Heels" (1925) and "The Golden Butterfly" (1926) before catching the attention of Warner Bros. studio head, Jack Warner, who brought Curtiz over to the United States.

Curtiz's first U.S. film, "The Third Degree" (1926), was a romantic drama that revealed a mastery of the moving camera in its flashy expressionistic sequences, at one point presenting the action from the perspective of a lethal bullet. It also marked the first of eight collaborations with Dolores Costello, one of the studio's few established female stars. Warner Bros. thrust Curtiz into its attempts at sound innovation, and two part-talkies "Tenderloin" (1927) and "Noah's Ark" (1928), both starring Costello, achieved considerable popularity and garnered millions at the box office. "Noah's Ark" was also notable for having John Wayne cast as an extra during the flood scene. In 1930, Curtiz directed no less than six Warner talkies, but the studio's attempt to partially introduce color that year in the director's commercially successful Al Jolson vehicle, "Mammy," fell short of expectations. As Warner Bros. became the fastest-growing studio in Hollywood, so too did the director's fortunes. With "The Cabin in the Cotton" (1932), Curtiz helped deliver the first of Bette Davis' malicious Southern belles, while "20,000 Years in Sing Sing" (1933) presented her in a more sympathetic light as the girlfriend of noble Spencer Tracy, who sacrifices his life for the murder she committed.

Curtiz went on to helm two of the studio's rare excursions into horror, "Dr. X" (1932) and "The Mystery of the Wax Museum" (1933), both all-color and exhibiting the influence of Lang and Murnau in their vividly atmospheric scenes. Despite his early penchant for Swedish naturalism, Curtiz followed in the footsteps of the great German studio directors, transporting his audiences to distant lands while all the time remaining on the back lots of Hollywood. He began his 12-film collaboration with Errol Flynn, who was often paired with Olivia de Havilland, in "Captain Blood" (1935). Together, both director and actor became synonymous with the swashbuckler genre, which reached its zenith with "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938) - a film so popular that Flynn was inextricably tied to the character Robin Hood for the rest of his career. The pair worked together again on "The Sea Hawk" (1940), though by this time their relationship had become gravely strained, mainly due to Curtiz's autocratic and sometimes demeaning behavior. They collaborated again on "Dodge City" (1939), which marked the first of three big-budget Westerns, and continued with perhaps their best, "Virginia City" (1940). After rounding out the Old West trilogy with "Santa Fe Trail" (1940, Curtiz directed Flynn in the mediocre "Dive Bomber" (1941). By this time Flynn had had enough of working with Curtiz and effectively ended their prolific association.

One actor who apparently did not mind the director's imperious ways was Claude Rains, who appeared in 10 Curtiz films, including three sentimental small-town soapers, "Four Daughters" (1938), and its two sequels "Daughters Courageous" (1939) and "Four Wives" (1939). These films also introduced actor John Garfield to the public. He also elicited some of the finest work from both Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney, the former giving a bravura performance as the tough and sardonic, ultimately soft-hearted boxing manager of "Kid Gallahad" (1937), and providing perhaps an even richer portrayal as the intellectual, rampaging captain of "The Sea Wolf" (1941), the quintessential adaptation of the Jack London novel. As for Cagney, Rocky Sullivan in "Angels with Dirty Faces" (1938) represented a high point from the actor's gangster oeuvre, and his Academy Award-winning turn as George M. Cohan in "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1942) stands at the very pinnacle of his career. Certainly a high-point in Curtiz's career as well, the overly patriotic musical earned the director an Oscar nomination for Best Director and entered the annals of Hollywood as a cinematic classic.

Though Curtiz's prodigious output slowed some during the 1940s, his films often reflected the efficiency of the studio system at its best, and "Casablanca" (1942), the classic that earned him his only Oscar as Best Director, was a shining example of what could go right in that setting. Originally scheduled as a low-budget melodrama starring Ann Sheridan and Ronald Reagan, "Casablanca" acquired some cachet when Warner Bros. upgraded it to major-budget status, and brought in Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as the leads. The supporting actors were all first rate, led by Rains as Vichy police chief Louis Renault, Paul Henreid as resistance leader Victor Lazlo, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Conrad Veidt and Dooley Wilson, playing that haunting melody again for Rick - the character in which Bogie, more than in any other, established his iconographic screen persona. Longtime Curtiz screenwriting collaborators Julius and Philip Epstein, fresh from scripting the director's "Mission to Moscow" (1943), worked alongside Howard Koch on a script that was reportedly only half done before shooting began, with the famous scene between Bogie and Bergman at the end allegedly being written the night before it was filmed. Though initially a mild box office success, "Casablanca" grew in stature to become a Hollywood classic widely considered to be one of the finest films ever made.

"Casablanca" was a tough act to follow, and while the war film "Passage to Marseille" (1944) rounded up some familiar suspects like Bogart, Rains, Greenstreet and Lorre, it fell far short of its precursor. There still remained the wonderful noir classic, "Mildred Pierce" (1945), which earned Joan Crawford a Best Actress Oscar, but after that film's success, consensus had it that the master fell victim to the sheer volume of his output. People continued going to his movies, and in fact some of his biggest moneymakers were ahead. "Night and Day" (1946), a sanitized biopic of Cole Porter (Cary Grant) that paled in comparison with "Yankee Doodle Dandy," and the optimistic "Life with Father" (1947) were both upbeat fare that enjoyed healthy box office. The Bing Crosby-Danny Kaye vehicle "White Christmas" (1954) turned out to be the biggest commercial success of his career, which was made for Paramount soon after he ended his 28-year run with Warner Bros. Curtiz went on to direct more than 20 more pictures, including his excellent film noir, "The Breaking Point" (1950), his last collaboration with John Garfield, and the Elvis Presley vehicle, "King Creole" (1958), which The King cited as his personal favorite of his many films. He continued churning out picture after picture like "The Hangman" (1959), "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (1960) and "Francis of Assisi" (1961), though by this point it was clear that his best days were behind him. In the saddle nearly to the end, Curtiz died of cancer on April 10, 1962, just six months after the release of his final film, "The Commancheros" (1961), a well-paced actioner with John Wayne as a Texas Ranger out to bring in a gang illegally supplying liquor and guns. Though he may not have demonstrated an easily identifiable style, Curtiz left behind an impressive body of work possessing an incredibly consistent narrative energy.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Francis of Assisi (1961)
Director
The Comancheros (1961)
Director
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960)
Director
A Breath of Scandal (1960)
Director
The Man in the Net (1959)
Director
The Hangman (1959)
Director
King Creole (1958)
Director
The Proud Rebel (1958)
Director
The Helen Morgan Story (1957)
Director
The Scarlet Hour (1956)
Director
The Vagabond King (1956)
Director
The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956)
Director
We're No Angels (1955)
Director
The Boy from Oklahoma (1954)
Director
The Egyptian (1954)
Director
White Christmas (1954)
Director
The Jazz Singer (1953)
Director
Trouble Along the Way (1953)
Director
The Story of Will Rogers (1952)
Director
I'll See You In My Dreams (1952)
Director
She's Working Her Way Through College (1952)
Fill-In Director
Jim Thorpe--All-American (1951)
Director
Force of Arms (1951)
Director
Young Man with a Horn (1950)
Director
The Breaking Point (1950)
Director
Bright Leaf (1950)
Director
My Dream Is Yours (1949)
Director
Flamingo Road (1949)
Director
The Lady Takes a Sailor (1949)
Director
Romance on the High Seas (1948)
Director
The Unsuspected (1947)
Director
Life with Father (1947)
Director
Night and Day (1946)
Director
Mildred Pierce (1945)
Director
Roughly Speaking (1945)
Director
Janie (1944)
Director
Passage to Marseille (1944)
Director
This Is the Army (1943)
Director
Mission to Moscow (1943)
Director
Captains of the Clouds (1942)
Director
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
Director
Casablanca (1942)
Director
Dive Bomber (1941)
Director
The Sea Wolf (1941)
Director
Santa Fe Trail (1940)
Director
The Sea Hawk (1940)
Director
Virginia City (1940)
Director
Daughters Courageous (1939)
Director
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
Director
Four Wives (1939)
Director
Dodge City (1939)
Director
Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
Director
Four's a Crowd (1938)
Director
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
Director
Gold Is Where You Find It (1938)
Director
Four Daughters (1938)
Director
Marked Woman (1937)
Fill-In Director
Stolen Holiday (1937)
Director
Mountain Justice (1937)
Director
The Perfect Specimen (1937)
Director
Kid Galahad (1937)
Director
The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)
Director
The Walking Dead (1936)
Director
Black Fury (1935)
Director
Little Big Shot (1935)
Director
The Case of the Curious Bride (1935)
Director
Front Page Woman (1935)
Director
Captain Blood (1935)
Director
The Key (1934)
Director
Mandalay (1934)
Director
British Agent (1934)
Director
Jimmy the Gent (1934)
Director
Private Detective 62 (1933)
Director
The Keyhole (1933)
Director
Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)
Director
Goodbye Again (1933)
Director
The Kennel Murder Case (1933)
Director
Female (1933)
Director
The Strange Love of Molly Louvain (1932)
Director
Doctor X (1932)
Director
The Woman from Monte Carlo (1932)
Director
Alias the Doctor (1932)
Director
Cabin in the Cotton (1932)
Director
20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932)
Director
Dämon des Meeres (1931)
Director
The Mad Genius (1931)
Director
God's Gift to Women (1931)
Director
The Matrimonial Bed (1930)
Director
A Soldier's Plaything (1930)
Director
River's End (1930)
Director
Bright Lights (1930)
Director
Under a Texas Moon (1930)
Director
Mammy (1930)
Director
The Madonna of Avenue A (1929)
Director
Hearts in Exile (1929)
Director
The Glad Rag Doll (1929)
Director
The Gamblers (1929)
Director
Noah's Ark (1929)
Director
Tenderloin (1928)
Director
A Million Bid (1927)
Director
Good Time Charley (1927)
Director
The Desired Woman (1927)
Director
The Third Degree (1926)
Director
Der Goldene Schmetterling (1926)
Director
Fiaker Nr. 13 (1926)
Director
Die Sklavenkonigin (1924)
Director
Harun al Raschid (1924)
Director
Eine Spiel ums Leben (1924)
Director
Namenlos (1923)
Director
Die Lawine (1923)
Director
Der Junge Medardus (1923)
Director
Sodom und Gomorrha (1922)
Director
Frau Dorothys Bekenntnis (1921)
Director
Satan's Memoirs (1921)
Director
Die Gottesgeissel (1920)
Director
Die Dame mit den Sonnenblumen (1920)
Director
Boccaccio (1920)
Director
Der Stern von Damaskus (1920)
Director
Die Dame mit dem schwarzen Handschuh (1919)
Director
Liliom (1919)
Director
A Skorpio I. (1918)
Director
A Vig ozvegy (1918)
Director
A Napraforgos holgy (1918)
Director
Lu, a kokott (1918)
Director
Kilencvenkilenc (1918)
Director
Lulu (1918)
Director
Az Ordog (1918)
Director
99 (1918)
Director
A Fold Embere (1917)
Director
Ezredes, Az (1917)
Director
Tatarjaras (1917)
Director
Az Utolso hajnal (1917)
Director
Makkhetes (1916)
Director
A Magyar Fold Ereje (1916)
Director
A Karthausi (1916)
Director
Az Ezust kecske (1916)
Director
Doktor Ur (1916)
Director
A Medikus (1916)
Director
Akit Ketten Szeretnek (1915)
Director
Bank Ban (1914)
Director
As Ejszaka Rabjai (1914)
Director
Az Aranyaso (1914)
Director
A Tolonc (1914)
Director
Hazasodik az uram (1913)
Director
Rablelek (1913)
Director
Ma es Holnap (1912)
Director
Az Utolso bohem (1912)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

It's a Great Feeling (1949)
Himself
A Medikus (1916)
Akit Ketten Szeretnek (1915)
As Ejszaka Rabjai (1914)
Ma es Holnap (1912)

Writer (Feature Film)

Die Dame mit den Sonnenblumen (1920)
Screenwriter
Tatarjaras (1917)
Screenwriter

Producer (Feature Film)

The Scarlet Hour (1956)
Producer
Boccaccio (1920)
Producer

Production Companies (Feature Film)

Flamingo Road (1949)
Company
My Dream Is Yours (1949)
Company
Romance on the High Seas (1948)
Company

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
Other
Hearts and Minds (1975)
Other

Misc. Crew (Short)

The Screen Director (1951)
Archival Footage

Life Events

1897

Made first stage appearance in an opera starring his mother

1906

Ran away to join a traveling circus at age 17, performing with them as strongman, acrobat, juggler and mime

1912

Film directing debut (although no director credited), "Today and Tomorrow"; also played a leading role; film announced as 'The First Hungarian Dramatic Art Film'

1914

Returned to Hungary

1914

Directed at least 37 films, many of which--following the Scandinavian example--showed a preference for outdoor locations

1917

Worked as managing director of Hungarian Phoenix Studios; helmed several films which starred first wife Lucy Doraine

1919

Fled Hungary when Bela Kun's Communist regime nationalized film industry

1923

Directed the acclaimed "Sodom and Gomorrah", featuring Walter Slezak

1926

Brought to Hollywood by Jack Warner who had been impressed by Curtiz's camera work for "Moon of Israel" (1924), produced by Alexander Korda; directed first US film, "The Third Degree"; first of eight collaborations with Warner Bros. star Dolores Costello

1929

Scored substantial box-office success with "Noah's Ark"; Erich Wolfgang Kornholder provided the first of his six scores for the director

1932

Directed Hollywood's first all-color horror film, "Doctor X"

1933

Helmed the well-regarded, all-color horror flick "The Mystery of the Wax Museum"

1934

First film with James Cagney, "Jimmy the Gent"

1935

Initial collaboration with screenwriter Julius Epstein, "Little Big Shot"

1935

Directed first film with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, "Captain Blood"

1936

Reteamed Flynn and de Havilland in "The Charge of the Light Brigade"; climactic charge was then one of the most dangerous scenes ever filmed with one man dying, several more badly injured, and so many horses killed that the SPCA raised a public protest

1936

First of 10 films with Claude Rains, "Stolen Holiday"

1937

Directed "Kid Galahad", featuring a bravura performance by Edward G. Robinson as a ruthless (but ultimately soft-hearted) boxing manager

1938

Reunited with Cagney for "Angels With Dirty Faces"

1938

Helmed perhaps the finest swashbuckler, "The Adventures of Robin Hood", starring Flynn and de Havilland; Korngold earned his second Oscar for the film's score

1938

First of five films with John Garfield, "Four Daughters"; Garfield's feature debut

1939

Phillip G Epstein teamed with brother Julius on screenplay for "Daughters Courageous"

1939

Directed the Academy Award-winning two-reel short "Sons of Liberty", a Warner Historical Featurette

1939

Helmed "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex", with Bette Davis and Errol Flynn

1941

12th and last film with Flynn, "Dive Bomber"; director and star were barely speaking, and Flynn refused to work with Curtiz afterwards

1941

Reteamed with Robinson for "The Sea Wolf", adapted from the Jack London novel

1942

Fourth and last film with Cagney, "Yankee Doodle Dandy", superb biopic of George M Cohan which earned Cagney the Best Actor Oscar; scripted (with others) by the Epstein brothers

1943

Last film with Costello, "This Is the Army"

1943

Earned Best Director Academy Award for the classic Oscar-winning Best Picture "Casablanca"; the Epstein twins and Howard Koch picked up Best Adapted Screenplay statue as well

1944

"Passage to Marseilles" reunited him with four from the "Casablanca" cast (Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Rains)

1945

Directed "Mildred Pierce", starring Joan Crawford who won a Best Actress Oscar

1947

Formed Michael Curtiz Productions, an in-house company headquartered at Warner Bros.

1947

Last film with Rains, "The Unsuspected"; initial movie made under the Michael Curtiz Productions banner

1948

First of four films with Doris Day, "Romance on the High Seas"; marked Day's film debut

1949

Final film from Michael Curtiz Productions, "Flamingo Road"; sold company to Warners, tired of exercising a nominal independence that gave final say to the studio

1950

Fifth and final film with Garfield, "The Breaking Point", a remake of "To Have and Have Not" that was more faithful to the Hemingway novel

1952

Fourth and last film with Day, "I'll See You in My Dreams", the formulaic musical biopic of Gus Kahn (played by Danny Thomas)

1954

After almost 28 years, ended exclusive affiliation with Warner Bros.; asked to accept a 50 percent cut in pay, refused and quit studio; also embroiled at this time in a paternity suit with a young actress which ultimately went expensively against him

1954

Enjoyed biggest commercial success of career, "White Christmas", for Paramount

1958

Ninth and last film with de Havilland, "Proud Rebel"

1960

Helmed "A Breath of Scandal", adapted from fellow Hungarian Ferenc Molnar's play "Olympia"

1961

Directed last film, "The Comancheros", starring John Wayne

Photo Collections

Casablanca - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Warner Bros' Casablanca (1942), directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains.
Captains of the Clouds - Movie Poster
Here is the American One-Sheet Movie Poster for Captains of the Clouds (1942). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Mildred Pierce - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from Mildred Pierce (1945), starring Joan Crawford. 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.
Trouble Along the Way - Movie Posters
Here are a few original movie posters from Warner Bros' Trouble Along the Way (1953), starring John Wayne and Donna Reed.
The Kennel Murder Case - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from The Kennel Murder Case (1933), starring William Powell. 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.
Jim Thorpe -- All-American - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Warner Bros' Jim Thorpe -- All-American (1951), starring Burt Lancaster. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Dodge City - Movie Posters
Here is a group of American movie posters from Dodge City (1939), starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, and Ann Sheridan.
Virginia City - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from Warner Bros' Virginia City (1940), starring Errol Flynn, Miriam Hopkins, Randolph Scott, and Humphrey Bogart. 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.
Casablanca (1942) - Production Documents
The following production materials from the film Casablanca (1942) include office memos, telegrams, sheet music, call sheets and other materials.

Videos

Movie Clip

Kid Galahad (1937) - He Used To Be A Farmer Harry Carey as trainer Silver has been sent by the girlfriend of his promoter boss (Bette Davis and Edward G. Robinson, not seen here) to hide novice prize-fighter Ward (Wayne Morris, title character) with Edward G’s mom (Soledad Jimenez) and, not previously mentioned, kid sister Marie (Jane Bryan), Michael Curtiz directing, in Warner Bros.’ Kid Galahad, 1937.
Kid Galahad (1937) - Sugar Is Going For Gooseberry Crooked fight manager Morgan (Humphrey Bogart) arrives at the party thrown by rival Nick (Edward G. Robinson), whom he’s just-about ruined, girlfriend Bette Davis smoothing things over, all the gals swooning over the just-introduced title character bellhop Guisenberry (Wayne Morris), in Kid Galahad, 1937.
Casablanca (1942) - In French Morocco The crackling and sometimes overlooked opening, Michael Curtiz directing, from the script by Julius and Philip Epstein and Howard Koch, featuring none of the famous players, narration by Lou Marcelle, from Casablanca, 1942.
This Is The Army (1943) - This Is War! Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Broadway pro Johnny (Ronald Reagan) drops in on his music-store employee gal Eileen (Joan Leslie) with big news, whereupon they see Frances Langford and co. perform "What Does He Look Like?" in Irving Berlin's This Is The Army, 1943.
This Is The Army (1943) - Opening, Mr. Irving Berlin Opening credit sequence as befitting the 1943 Technicolor Irving Berlin/Warner Bros. musical, based on his Broadway and roadshow productions, the profits for everything going to the Army Emergency Relief fund, supporting soldiers and their families, from This Is The Army, 1943.
Kennel Murder Case, The (1933) - The Well-Known Fancier Opening scene, introducing William Powell as sleuth Philo Vance, also Robert Barrat as "Archer Coe," Mary Astor as his ward "Hilda," Paul Cavanagh as English "Sir Thomas," plus exposition, from Warner Bros.' The Kennel Murder Case, 1933.
Casablanca (1942) - Of All The Gin Joints... A most famous scene, American ex-pat saloon owner Rick (Humphrey Bogart) in wartime Morocco, with employee Sam (Dooley Wilson), brooding over Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) having turned up at his joint, a flashback montage revealing why, in Casablanca, 1942.
Casablanca (1942) - You Are A Subject Of The German Reich Czech resistance hero Lazlo (Paul Henreid) and consort Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) arrive at Rick's Cafe, surprising Sam (Dooley Wilson), meeting Norwegian Berger (John Qualen), French Renault (Claude Rains) and German Strasser (Conrad Veidt), early in Casablanca, 1942.
Casablanca (1942) - Letters Of Transit Introduction of Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) at his Cafe` Americain, dismissing a smarmy German (Gregory Gaye), receiving sneaky Ugarte (Peter Lorre) introducing a key plot point, Dan Seymour the doorman, in Michael Curtiz's Casablanca, 1942.
Sea Wolf, The (1941) -- A Criminal Offense First scene for both Ruth (Ida Lupino) and Van Weyden (Alexander Knox), catching a ferry out of San Francisco, her situation desperate, in Michael Curtiz's The Sea Wolf, 1941, from the Jack London novel, also starring John Garfield and Edward G. Robinson in the title role.
Breaking Point, The (1952) - Sporting Blood Fishing boat captain Harry (John Garfield), ducking hustler Duncan (Wallace Ford), finds first the girlfriend (Patricia Neal), then his fare (Ralph Dummke), in a Mexican bar, in The Breaking Point, 1952, from Hemingway's To Have And Have Not.
Kennel Murder Case, The (1933) - Someone Miscalculated Beginning his detective work, Philo Vance (William Powell) with Sergeant Heath (Eugene Pallette), D-A Markham (Robert McWade) and Wrede (Ralph Morgan), secretary to the deceased, considering possibilities, in The Kennel Murder Case, 1933.

Trailer

Adventures of Robin Hood, The -- (Re-issue Trailer) The Sherwood Forest legend (Errol Flynn) leads his Merry Men in a battle against the wicked Prince John in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).
Egyptian, The (1954) Original Trailer Original trailer for the 20th Century-Fox early CinemaScope epic The Egyptian, 1954, from producer Darryl Zanuck, with Jean Simmons, Michael Wilding, Gene Tierney, Victor Mature, Edmund Purdom, Peter Ustinov and Bella Darvi.
Janie - (Original Trailer) A small-town girl (Joyce Reynolds) defies her father by falling for a soldier (Robert Hutton).
Yankee Doodle Dandy - (Original Trailer) James Cagney gives an Oscar® winning performance as song-and-dance legend, George M. Cohan, in the musical biography, Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942).
Kid Galahad (1937) - (Original Trailer) A mob-connected trainer (Edward G. Robinson) grooms a bellhop for the boxing ring. Co-starring Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart.
Lady Takes a Sailor - (Original Trailer) A woman (Jane Wyman) is saved from drowning by a mysterious submarine, but nobody believes her in Lady Takes A Sailor (1949).
Night and Day - (Original Trailer) Fanciful biography of songwriter Cole Porter (Cary Grant), who rose from high society to find success on Tin Pan Alley.
Stolen Holiday - (Original Trailer) A Paris fashion model (Kay Francis) marries a fortune hunter (Claude Rains) to protect him from the law in Stolen Holiday (1936).
Doctor X - (Original Trailer) Reporter Lee Tracy investigates a series of cannibalistic murders at a medical college in the two-strip Technicolor horror classic Doctor X (1932).
Young Man with a Horn - (Original Trailer) A young trumpet player (Kirk Douglas) is torn between an honest singer (Doris Day) and a manipulative heiress (Lauren Bacall) in Young Man with a Horn (1950).
Goodbye Again (1933) - (Original Trailer) Warren William is a sexy author, Joan Blondell his long-suffering secretary in Goodbye Again (1933) a racy pre-code comedy.
God's Gift to Women - (Original Trailer) Frank Fay is the unlikely choice for God's Gift to Women (1931), especially when one of the women is Louise Brooks.

Promo

Family

David Kertesz
Brother
Younger.
Gabriel Kertesz
Brother
Younger.
Margaret Manhart
Sister
Regina Deregnyoi
Sister
John Meredyth Lucas
Step-Son
Screenwriter, director, producer.
Katharine Radban
Daughter
Mother, Lucy Doraine.

Companions

Lucy Doraine
Wife
Actor. Married in 1915; divorced in 1923; star of some of Curtiz's early films.
Bess Meredyth
Wife
Screenwriter. Formerly married to actor-director Wilfred Lucas, with whom she had a son; married in 1929; divorced; remarried; separated permanently in 1960 (although they remained on good terms and she maintained a room for him in her home); died on July 13, 1969 at age 79; adapted Charlotte Armstrong's novel for Curtiz's "The Unsuspected" (1947).

Bibliography

"The Casablanca Man"
James C Robertson, Routledge (1993)
"The Warner Brothers Directors"
William R Meyer, Arlington House (1978)

Notes

All his life Curtiz retained a strong Hungarian accent, and his creative mishandlings of the English language deserve to be as famous as those of Sam Goldwyn. He once stormed at a confused prop man: "Next time I send a damn fool, I go myself!" He expressed dissatisfaction with a child actor by remarking scathingly: "By the time I was your age, I was fifteen." --from "World Film Directors", Volume One 1890-1945, edited by John Wakeman (New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1987)

"Bring on the empty horses!" --Curtiz on the set of "THe Charge of the Light Brigade". When co-stars Errol Flynn and David Niven broke out in laughter, Curtiz reportedly responded, "You people, you think I know fuck nothing; I tell you, I know fuck all!" Niven later titled one of memoirs "Bring on the Empty Horses"

"Don't talk to me when I'm interrupting." --a reported 'Curtizism'