Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film

Photo of Michael Curtiz

Read the reviews for MICHAEL CURTIZ—A LIFE IN FILM

 

 

Thoughts and insight into the history of Tinsel Town

Hollywood’s Great Deluge

photo of Michael Curtiz in 1928 on the set of NOAH's ARK

TCM will be broadcasting NOAH’S ARK on April 4, 2018 that will commence a month long spotlight on the films of director Michael Curtiz. Here is some background on the making of the film adapted from MICHAEL CURTIZ A LIFE in FILM

 

Michael Curtiz signed a contract with Warner Bros. while directing a film in France in 1926. After Curtiz disembarked in New York City, he had an extended conversation with Harry Warner about the biblical movie that the director had broached when the pair first met in Europe. Harry assured his new director that production would commence on his epic shortly after he arrived in Hollywood and met with brother Jack who was head of production at the studio. Curtiz was thrilled and continued working on his outline, titled Noah’s Ark, while on the train to the West Coast.

Continue reading

Michael Curtiz: He’s No Angel

movie poster for We're No Angels featuring Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, Peter Ustinov, directed by Michael Curtis

Beverly in Movieland

book review by Beverly Gray

March 23, 2018

Continue reading

The Politics of Yankee Doodle Dandy

yankee doodle dandy movie poster featuring James Cagney

The notion for a biographical film about legendary show business powerhouse George M. Cohan had been kicking around Hollywood since the late 1930s. The father of American musical comedy claimed to be born on July 4, 1878 and began treading the boards at age eight in the family vaudeville act. During his career, he wrote more than 150 original songs, including the standards “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and the country’s most popular song during World War I, “Over There.” Cohan produced more than fifty musicals and plays.  At one point, five of his shows, co-produced with Sam Harris, ran simultaneously on Broadway. Cohan did it all: he was a playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer, and producer.

By 1941 he was ill and realized that his days were numbered. His ego was piqued by the notion of a movie biography to enshrine his legacy (he had already published his autobiography at the age of forty-seven), but he had serious misgivings about films. He had appeared in several silent movies that failed to capture his feisty style. After his popularity began to fade, Cohan starred in two early talkies.  His second picture, The Phantom President (1932), was a fiasco. Cohan compared the experience to a stretch at Leavenworth Penitentiary and vowed never to return to Hollywood.

In his much publicized Anglo-Hungarian diction, Michael Curtiz described Yankee Doodle Dandy as “ the pinochle of my career.

Continue reading

DVDs