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Michael Curtiz

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Michael Curtiz (December 24, 1886 - April 10, 1962) was a film director, whose films include The Adventures of Robin Hood, Casablanca, and White Christmas.

Born Manó Kertész Kaminer in Budapest, Hungary, (then Austria-Hungary), he ran away from home at age 17 to join a circus, then trained for an acting career at the Royal Academy for Theater and Art. In 1912 he began his acting and directing career as Mihály Kertész in Hungary (43 films) and, after World War I, continued his work (another 21 titles) first in Vienna, Austria (e.g. with the monumental 1922 silent film Sodom und Gomorrha) and then in Germany.

In 1926 Curtiz emigrated to the United States. He had a lengthy Hollywood career, racking up directing credit for over 100 films, and not specializing in any one genre. He received four Academy Award nominations for directing, including two in the same year, and took home the gold statue for Casablanca. At Warner Brothers during the 30s, Curtiz was extremely prolific. During this period he was often credited on four films in a single year, though he was not always the sole director on these projects. In the mid-30s he began the highly successful cycle of adventure films starring Errol Flynn, including Captain Blood (1935), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). By the 40s Curtiz had developed an extremely sophisticated visual style which was marked by fluid camera movement, strong compositions and textured lighting. Prime examples of his work during this decade are The Sea Wolf (1941), Casablanca (1942) and Mildred Pierce (1945).

His lifelong struggle with the English language has been confirmed in numerous anecdotes: David Niven, for example, took the title of his memoir Bring on the Empty Horses from a Curtizism for "bring on the horses without riders".

He was married to:

  1. Lucy Dorraine,actress
  2. Lili Damita, actress
  3. Bess Meredyth, actress/screenwriter

Michael Curtiz is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

Select Hollywood filmography

References

Robertson, James C., The Casablanca Man, Routledge, 1993

Behlmer, Rudy (editor), Inside Warner Brothers, Viking, 1985

External links

es:Michael Curtiz fr:Michael Curtiz

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