Edward Dmytryk


Director
Edward Dmytryk

About

Birth Place
Grand Forks, British Columbia, CA
Born
September 04, 1908
Died
July 01, 1999
Cause of Death
Heart And Kidney Failure

Biography

As one of classic Hollywood's more prominent directors, Edward Dmytryk appeared primed for greatness following a string of successful movies in the 1940s, until he was blacklisted as one of the infamous Hollywood Ten following his refusal to name names to Congress during the Red Scare. Dmytryk started his filmmaking career as an editor and segued to directing by taking over production of...

Photos & Videos

Murder, My Sweet - Movie Posters
Crossfire - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Tender Comrade - Movie Posters

Family & Companions

Madeline Robinson
Wife
Married in 1932; divorced in 1947.
Jean Porter
Wife
Actor. Born c. 1916; married from May 1948 until his death in July 1999.

Bibliography

"Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten"
Edward Dmytryk, Southern Illinois University Press (1996)
"Cinema: Concept and Practice"
Edward Dmytryk (1988)
"On Screen Writing"
Edward Dmytryk, Focal Press (1985)
"On Directing"
Edward Dmytryk (1984)

Biography

As one of classic Hollywood's more prominent directors, Edward Dmytryk appeared primed for greatness following a string of successful movies in the 1940s, until he was blacklisted as one of the infamous Hollywood Ten following his refusal to name names to Congress during the Red Scare. Dmytryk started his filmmaking career as an editor and segued to directing by taking over production of "Million Dollar Legs" (1939). That led to a series of B-movies like "Golden Gloves" (1940) and "The Devil Command" (1941), until finally making the excellent film noir "Murder, My Sweet" (1944). From there, he entered his fruitful period with "Back to Bataan" (1945), Till the End of Time" (1946) and "So Well Remembered" (1947), before helming the politically-charged noir classic, "Crossfire" (1947). It was then that Dmytryk ran afoul of the House Un-American Activities Committee, leading to his blacklisting from Hollywood and a brief stint in jail after his return from exile in England. With the help of producer Stanley Kramer, Dmytryk revitalized his career with "The Caine Mutiny" (1954) and went on to make a number of quality films like "Broken Lance" (1954), "The End of the Affair" (1955), "Raintree Country" (1957) and "The Young Lions" (1958). Though his career sputtered in the following decade, Dmytryk managed to direct a few more hits and became one of the few blacklisted filmmakers to mount a bona fide comeback.

Born on Sept. 4, 1908 in Grand Forks, British Columbia, Canada, Dmytryk was raised by his Ukrainian immigrant parents, father Michael, a farmer, and his mother, Frances, who raised four children. His family moved to California following his mother's death in 1913, but left home at 14 years old and supported himself as a messenger and office boy at the Famous-Lasky Players studio. A quick study, Dmytryk began learning how to splice film while also working as a projectionist. He soon left the film business for a short time to attend the California Institute of Technology after winning a scholarship, only to drop out after his freshman year. Dmytryk returned to his old studio - now called Paramount Pictures - where he became an editor, working on pictures like "The Royal Family of Broadway" (1930), "Only Saps Work" (1930), "Belle of the Nineties" (1934) with Mae West, and "Ruggles of Red Gap" (1935) starring Charles Laughton. He made his directing debut with the independently made Western "The Hawk" (1935), which he did as a favor for a friend, but Dmytryk stayed primarily in the cutting room for the next four years.

Back to work as an editor, Dmytryk cut "Three Cheers for Love" (1936), "Easy to Take" (1936) and the musical "Turn Off the Moon" (1937), before returning to the director's chair for "The Trail of the Hawk" (1937). He continued editing films like "Murder Goes to College" (1937), "Bulldog Drummond's Peril" (1938) and "Love Affair" (1939) until making a permanent jump to directing. He was uncredited on "Million Dollar Legs" (1939) - no relation to the 1932 film with W.C. Fields - for Paramount when the studio was unhappy with how credited director, Nick Grindle, was performing. The eager Dmytryk finished the production on schedule and was rewarded with a handful of B-films including "Television Spy" (1939), "Emergency Squad" (1940) and "Golden Gloves" (1940). Dmytryk moved on and signed with Columbia Pictures, where he cranked out seven B-pictures and programmers in a year's time, including a very solid entry in the "Boston Blackie" series, "Confessions of Boston Blackie" (1941), as well as the atmospheric horror film, "The Devil Commands" (1941), starring Boris Karloff.

Dmytryk's fortunes were on the upswing when he moved to RKO in 1942, where for a time he specialized in action thrillers, typically his best genre. "Seven Miles from Alcatraz" (1942) was a taut tale of two escaped convicts, and Dmytryk enjoyed his first box office smashes with two modestly budgeted potboilers, "Hitler's Children" (1943) and "Behind the Rising Sun" (1943). Both were vivid, though sensationalistic wartime propaganda films about human rights atrocities in Nazi Germany and Japan respectively, and naturally struck a chord with the American public. He continued his box office success with his first A-picture, "Tender Comrade" (1943), a weepy Ginger Rogers vehicle about war wives with mild whiffs of the leftist rhetoric which would soon get the director in a great deal of trouble during the post-war McCarthy Era. Meanwhile, Dmytryk entered his peak period as a filmmaker, which proved to be brief, but memorable. He collaborated on four key films with producer Adrian Scott and screenwriter John Paxton, beginning with the marvelous film noir "Murder, My Sweet" (1944). One of the finest and most important films of the genre, it was also a sterling adaptation of Raymond Chandler's original novel and revitalized Dick Powell's starring career.

Dmytryk reunited with Scott, Paxton and Powell for a second film, the hair-trigger thriller "Cornered" (1945), another study of deceptive surfaces and shifting loyalties, all filtered through a cynical sensibility and sharp visuals. Even Dmytryk's more routine assignments during this time came off well. "Back to Bataan" (1945) was a solid wartime saga, "Till the End of Time" (1946) a well-acted study of returning war veterans, and "So Well Remembered" (1947) - prophetically made in England - a sincere piece of humanist socialism about a newspaper editor (John Mills) who helps a strike-torn town. Dmytryk's acclaim and popularity peaked with "Crossfire" (1947), a classic film noir starring Robert Ryan and Robert Mitchum that was one of the first major studio films to tackle anti-Semitism and homophobia, and earned Dmytryk the only Best Director Oscar nomination of his career. Although the film's overtly political tone may have seemed more obvious and less impressive to contemporary audiences, "Crossfire" was particularly potent for its time, a mature, skillfully shot and well-acted noir about relevant social problems.

Dmytryk's success, however, came to an abrupt halt when hawkish fellow director Sam Wood named Dmytryk as a Communist before Congress' infamous House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Referencing his constitutional rights, Dmytryk refused to answer the committee's questions and was cited for contempt of Congress, leading to being branded one of the Hollywood Ten, a group of film industry professionals - mostly screenwriters - who were blacklisted from working in Hollywood. Dmytryk returned to England to make "Obsession" (1949), a dark psychological noir about an insanely jealous husband (Robert Newton) of an unfaithful wife (Sally Gray), and "Give Us This Day" (1949), a touching drama about immigrants living in the tenement slums of New York in the 1920s. Ordered back to the U.S. to renew his passport, Dmytryk was promptly arrested and served six months in prison before he agreed to testify before HUAC and name names. Doing so freed him and made him eligible to work again in Hollywood, though many were critical of Dmytryk for what appeared to be him caving to pressure. Although Dmytryk's actions were questionable, he did have a family to support and had long been alienated from his Communist affiliations. In short, Dmytryk saw himself as suffering for a cause he no longer believed in.

With his HUAC problems behind him, Dmytryk received a new lease on his career from producer Stanley Kramer with "The "The Sniper" (1952), a gripping noir about a misogynistic killer (Arthur Franz) and a police lieutenant (Adolphe Menjou) who is gradually won over to preventive social policies. Dmytryk also made the study of a Holocaust survivor, "The Juggler" (1953), the first Hollywood film shot in Israel, and capped his association with Kramer with "The Caine Mutiny" (1954), an excellent adaptation of Herman Wouk's novel about a naval officer's mental disintegration and his crew's rebellion that featured a great late-career performance from Humphrey Bogart. Though re-established as a working director, Dmytryk's track record over the next 20 years proved to be spotty at best. He directed the classic Western "Broken Lance" (1954) starring Spencer Tracy, and the complicated adaptation of Graham Greene's "The End of the Affair" (1955) with Van Johnson and Deborah Kerr. After the mediocre alpine adventure "The Mountain" (1956), he helmed "Raintree County" (1957), a splashy, but overdone melodrama starring Elizabeth Taylor as a Southern belle who goes insane.

Dmytryk's penchant for directing longer than necessary films dinged the otherwise excellent character drama, "The Young Lions" (1958) a study of U.S. and German soldiers during wartime that featured Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Dean Martin in excellent form. Following another excellent Western, "Warlock" (1959), starring Henry Fonda and Anthony Quinn, he directed the critically dismissed "Walk on the Wild Side" (1962), a rather lurid melodrama about a man from Texas (Laurence Harvey) who goes to Louisiana in search of his missing girlfriend (Jane Fonda), only to learn she's a prostitute in a New Orleans brothel with no intention of leaving. From there, he helmed "The Reluctant Saint" (1962) and the family melodrama "Where Love Has Gone" (1964), and scored a smash hit with "The Carpetbaggers" (1964), a Hollywood exposé based on Harold Robbins' trashy 1961 best-seller. After landing another hit with the clever psychological thriller "Mirage" (1966), he directed "Alvarez Kelly" (1966), a Civil War-set actioner starring William Holden and Richard Widmark that proved to be the last film Dmytryk made in the U.S. for 10 years.

Back in England again, Dmytryk directed the Western "Shalako" (1968) with Sean Connery and Bridget Bardot, before going to Italy to helm the World War II drama "Anzio" (1968) starring Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan and Peter Falk. After some time off, he directed Richard Burton in the well-worn thriller "Bluebeard" (1972) and George Kennedy in the violent revenge thriller "The Human Factor" (1975). Hardly anybody saw his final directing effort, "He is My Brother" (1976), which led to his retirement from the business. As a seasoned veteran, however, Dmytryk proved to be an articulate and interesting interviewee for documentary films including "Hollywood on Trial" (1976) and "50 Years of Action!" (1986) as well as television documentaries like "Hollywood: The Golden Years" (1988) and "When America Trembled: Murrow/McCarthy" (CBS, 1994). Dmytryk spent his later years teaching film at the University of Texas and the University of Southern California, as well as publishing a series of books on film, including On Directing (1984), On Screenwriting (1985) and Cinema: Concept and Practice (1988). Dmytryk died of heart and kidney failure on July 1, 1999 in Encino, CA. He was 90 years old.

By Shawn Dwyer

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

He Is My Brother (1976)
Director
The Human Factor (1975)
Director
Bluebeard (1972)
Director
Anzio (1968)
Director
Shalako (1968)
Director
Alvarez Kelly (1966)
Director
Mirage (1965)
Director
The Carpetbaggers (1964)
Director
Where Love Has Gone (1964)
Director
The Reluctant Saint (1962)
Director
Walk on the Wild Side (1962)
Director
The Blue Angel (1959)
Director
Warlock (1959)
Director
The Young Lions (1958)
Director
Raintree County (1957)
Director
The Mountain (1956)
Director
Soldier of Fortune (1955)
Director
The End of the Affair (1955)
Director
The Left Hand of God (1955)
Director
The Caine Mutiny (1954)
Director
Broken Lance (1954)
Director
The Juggler (1953)
Director
Mutiny (1952)
Director
The Sniper (1952)
Director
Eight Iron Men (1952)
Director
Give Us This Day (1950)
Director
Obsession (1949)
Director
So Well Remembered (1947)
Director
Crossfire (1947)
Director
Till the End of Time (1946)
Director
Cornered (1945)
Director
Back to Bataan (1945)
Director
Tender Comrade (1944)
Director
Murder, My Sweet (1944)
Director
Seven Miles from Alcatraz (1943)
Director
Hitler's Children (1943)
Director
Captive Wild Woman (1943)
Director
The Falcon Strikes Back (1943)
Director
Behind the Rising Sun (1943)
Director
Counter-Espionage (1942)
Director
Confessions of Boston Blackie (1942)
Director
The Blonde from Singapore (1941)
Director
Secrets of the Lone Wolf (1941)
Director
Under Age (1941)
Director
Sweetheart of the Campus (1941)
Director
The Devil Commands (1941)
Director
Her First Romance (1940)
Director
Golden Gloves (1940)
Director
Mystery Sea Raider (1940)
Director
Emergency Squad (1940)
Director
Million Dollar Legs (1939)
Fill-in
Television Spy (1939)
Director
The Hawk (1935)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Fred Macmurray: The Guy Next Door (1996)
Interviewee
Robert Mitchum: The Reluctant Star (1991)
50 Years of Action! (1986)
Himself
Hollywood On Trial (1976)
Himself
The Big Show (1957)

Writer (Feature Film)

Bluebeard (1972)
From Story
Bluebeard (1972)
Story By
Bluebeard (1972)
Screenwriter

Producer (Feature Film)

Hamlet (1968)
Presented By
The Reluctant Saint (1962)
Producer
Warlock (1959)
Producer
The Mountain (1956)
Producer
Behind the Rising Sun (1943)
Producer

Editing (Feature Film)

Zaza (1939)
Editing
Some Like It Hot (1939)
Editing
Love Affair (1939)
Editing
Bulldog Drummond's Peril (1938)
Editing
Prison Farm (1938)
Editing
Murder Goes to College (1937)
Editing
Turn Off the Moon (1937)
Editing
Double or Nothing (1937)
Editing
Hold 'Em Navy! (1937)
Editing
Easy to Take (1936)
Editing
Three Cheers for Love (1936)
Editing
Three Married Men (1936)
Editing
Too Many Parents (1936)
Editing
Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)
Film Editor
College Rhythm (1934)
Editing
The Royal Family of Broadway (1931)
Editing
Only Saps Work (1930)
Film Editor

Film Production - Main (Feature Film)

Hamlet (1968)
English dub Director

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Diamond's Edge (1988)
Other
50 Years of Action! (1986)
Other
Hollywood On Trial (1976)
Other

Cast (Special)

Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998)
Anthony Quinn (1998)
Montgomery Clift: The Hidden Star (1998)
Gary Cooper: The Face of a Hero (1998)
Interviewee
Inside The Dream Factory (1995)
Marlon Brando, Wild One (1994)
When America Trembled -- Murrow/McCarthy (1994)
Montgomery Clift: His Place in the Sun (1989)
Hollywood: The Dream Factory (1972)

Life Events

1913

Moved to California after mother's death (date approximate)

1923

Left home at age 14; supported himself as messenger and office boy at Famous Players-Lasky studios (date approximate)

1925

Became part-time projectionist (date approximate)

1927

Worked at Paramount Studios as projectionist

1929

Began working as a film cutter on Spanish-language versions of Paramount films

1930

First film as editor, "Only Saps Work"

1935

Film directing debut, "The Hawk"

1939

Began to direct regularly for Paramount

1940

Moved to Columbia

1942

Moved to RKO

1943

Signed seven-year contract with RKO; directed first "A"-budget film, "Tender Comrade"

1944

Breakthrough film, "Murder, My Sweet"; also marked first collaboration with producer Adrian Scott and screenwriter John Paxton

1947

Fired from RKO when Dmytryk was named before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), Dmytryk was cited for contempt of Congress when he refused to testify and became one of the blacklisted "Hollywood Ten"

1949

Began directing films in UK

1950

Returned to US to renew his passport; jailed for contempt of Congress; served six months

1951

Testified before HUAC in April and "named names"

1952

Signed by producer Stanley Kramer to a four-picture contract

1952

Directed first US films in five years, "The Sniper" and "Mutiny", the latter also his first film in color

1956

First producing credit, "The Mountain", which he also directed

1966

Last US film for ten years, "Alvarez Kelly"; over the following decade made a handful of films in Great Britain and Italy

1976

Directed last feature, "He Is My Brother"

1976

Appeared as one of the interviewees in the feature documentary, "Hollywood on Trial"

1979

Published autobiography "It's a Hell of a Life But Not a Bad Living"

1986

Last feature film appearance, "50 Years of Action!", a salute to the Directors Guild of America

Photo Collections

Murder, My Sweet - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-release American movie posters for Murder, My Sweet (1944), starring Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe.
Crossfire - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken during production of RKO's Crossfire (1947), directed by Edward Dmytryk and starring Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Gloria Grahame, and Robert Ryan.
Tender Comrade - Movie Posters
Here are a few movie posters from RKO's Tender Comrade (1944), starring Ginger Rogers and Robert Ryan.
Raintree County - Behind-the-Scenes Stills
Here are several photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Raintree County (1957), starring Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor, and directed by Edward Dmytryk.
Back to Bataan - Movie Posters
Here are a few original release American movie posters from RKO's Back to Bataan (1945), starring John Wayne.

Videos

Movie Clip

Broken Lance (1954) - The Governor Wants To See You Emerging from a deep dark prison to 20th Century-Fox Cinemascope Technicolor, Robert Wagner as Joe Devereaux gets escorted (by John Epper) to the see the governor at the state capitol, stopping to gaze at a portrait of his dad (Spencer Tracy), opening Edward Dmytryk’s burly Western Broken Lance, 1954.
Broken Lance (1954) - I'm Afraid Of No One But You Well into the flashback of the last days of the late Spencer Tracy (as rancher Matt Devereaux) we meet Katy Jurado, in one of her best roles, as his wife “Señora” Devereaux, in fact of Native American origin, dressing a wound discussing troubles with his older sons and their one shared, in director Edward Dmytryk’s Broken Lance, 1954.
Broken Lance (1954) - Stay Close To Me Director Edward Dmytryk staging a tense prelude to a big action piece, Spencer Tracy as rancher Devereaux with his sons (Richard Widmark, Hugh O’Brian, Earl Holliman and Robert Wagner as Joe) confronts McAndrews (Robert Burton), boss of the copper mine that’s poisoning his cattle, in Broken Lance, 1954.
Crossfire (1947) - Used To Be A Spaghetti Restaurant Joining his flashback as he's testifying for the cops, murder suspect soldier Mitchell (George Cooper) is recounting his visit with somewhat soft-hearted taxi dancer Ginny (Gloria Grahame) in Edward Dmytryk's military mystery Crossfire, 1947.
Crossfire (1947) - Open, Murder Dark and dramatic opening to Edward Dmytryk's Crossfire, 1947, starring Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan and Gloria Grahame, from a novel by Richard Brooks.
Tender Comrade (1943) - Kind Of Red And Uncomfortable On their first night in their new shared house, WWII defense factory workers Jo (Ginger Rogers) and just-married Doris (Kim Hunter) share fairly intimate info, in Tender Comrade, 1943, featuring future blacklist targets Hunter, Mady Christians, writer Dalton Trumbo and director Edward Dmytryk.
Tender Comrade (1943) - You Made Me Love You Speedy path to a flashback getting top-billed Ginger Rogers, as Southern California wartime factory gal Jo, into a sexy outfit (with three, maybe four-inch heels in the back yard!), recalling the proposal by now-deployed Chris (Robert Ryan), in the home-front drama Tender Comrade. 1943.
Tender Comrade (1943) - You Have Very Small Ears Kind of a moment for Ruth Hussey (as Barbara, married to deployed Pete, who might well be a heel), with WWII California factory worker housemates, Kim Hunter, Patricia Collinge and Ginger Rogers (as newlywed Doris, Helen and Jo), about dating other men, in Tender Comrade. 1943.
Tender Comrade (1944) - Awful Bed-Hog Direction by Edward Dnytryk, script by Dalton Trumbo, both future blacklist-ees, soldier Chris (Robert Ryan) comes home to wife Jo (Ginger Rogers), opening Tender Comrade, 1944.
Tender Comrade (1944) - White For Dumbrowski? Looks like at least the crew visited the Douglas Aircraft plant in Long Beach, CA, military wives Jo (Ginger Rogers), Barbara (Ruth Hussey), Helen (Patricia Collinge) and Doris (Kim Hunter, one of her earliest roles), getting lunch in Tender Comrade, 1944.
End Of The Affair, The (1955) - Like Planes On Fire Several months into their London wartime affair, with American Maurice (Van Johnson) spotting the first German buzz-bombs, placing events firmly in June, 1944, he and his married lover Sarah (Deborah Kerr) must decide the safest course, in Edward Dmytryk’s The End Of The Affair, 1955, from the Graham Greene novel.
End Of The Affair, The (1955) - Are You Miserable? The war ended and a year after Sarah, his married lover, broke up with him, American writer Maurice (Van Johnson) is back in London where he meets her husband, his friend, Henry MIles (Peter Cushing), who has not been well, Edward Dmytryk directing, on location, from Graham Greene’s novel, in The End Of The Affair, 1955.

Trailer

Carpetbaggers, The - (Original Trailer) George Peppard stars in the movie version of Harold Robbins' The Carpetbaggers (1964), loosely based on Howard Hughes' early Hollywood career.
Young Lions, The - (Original Trailer) A Jewish soldier (Montgomery Clift) faces anti-Semitism when he enlists to fight World War II in The Young Lions (1958).
Alvarez Kelly - (Original Trailer) A suave Mexican cattleman (William Holden) inadvertently gets involved in the Civil War in Alvarez Kelly (1966) co-starring Richard Widmark.
Hitler's Children - (Original Trailer) A German-American girl is forced to enter a Hitler youth program in Hitler's Children (1943), directed by Edward Dmytryk.
Mountain, The - (Black-and-white trailer) Brother mountain climbers clash over how to deal with the survivor of a plane crash in The Mountain (1956).
Crossfire - (Original Trailer) When a Jewish man is murdered, a homicide detective suspects a hate crime in Crossfire (1947) starring Robert Ryan in one of his best performances.
Murder, My Sweet - (Original Trailer) Dick Powell plays detective Phillip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet (1944) based on the Raymond Chandler novel Farewell, My Lovely.
Cornered - (Original Trailer) Dick Powell stars as a World War II veteran who hunts down the Nazi collaborators who killed his wife in the film noir thriller Cornered (1945).
Love Affair - (Original Trailer) Near-tragic misunderstandings threaten a shipboard romance between Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne in Love Affair (1939), directed by Leo McCarey. It was later remade by McCarey as An Affair to Remember (1957) starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.
Back to Bataan - (Original Trailer) A Marine colonel (John Wayne) leads a guerrilla campaign against the Japanese in the Philippines in Back to Bataan (1945).

Family

Michael Dmytryk
Father
Farmer. Ukranian immigrant.
Frances Dmytryk
Mother
Ukranian immigrant; died c. 1913.
Clara Mertz
Step-Mother
Arthur Dmytryk
Brother
Michael J Dmytryk
Son
Mother, Madeline Robinson.
Richard Dmytryk
Son
Born on July 29, 1949; died in December 1992; mother, Jean Porter.
Victoria Dmytryk
Daughter
Mother, Jean Porter.
Rebecca Dmytryk
Daughter
Mother, Jean Porter.

Companions

Madeline Robinson
Wife
Married in 1932; divorced in 1947.
Jean Porter
Wife
Actor. Born c. 1916; married from May 1948 until his death in July 1999.

Bibliography

"Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten"
Edward Dmytryk, Southern Illinois University Press (1996)
"Cinema: Concept and Practice"
Edward Dmytryk (1988)
"On Screen Writing"
Edward Dmytryk, Focal Press (1985)
"On Directing"
Edward Dmytryk (1984)
"It's a Hell of a Life, But Not a Bad Living"
Edward Dmytryk (1979)