Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film

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Michael Curtiz: He’s No Angel

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

Beverly in Movieland

book review by Beverly Gray

March 23, 2018

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The versatility, vitriol and vision of Michael Curtiz - Book Review

book cover photo of Michael Curtiz
 Book Review by Mark Burger January 24, 2018MICHAEL CURTIZ: A LIFE IN FILM by Alan K. Rode. Published by University Press of Kentucky. 630 pages. $50 retail.

 

Given his many classic films – which include Angels With Dirty Faces (1938), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) and Casablanca (1943), to name only a few – there’s no such thing as a quintessential Michael Curtiz film, nor did he evince a specific directorial style. There are filmmakers today whose work is referred to as “Hitchcockian,” “Capra-esque,” “Spielbergian,” “Tarantino-esque,” “Kubrickian,” or “Hawksian,” but Michael Curtiz has no such designation.

Yet this prolific filmmaker, with over 180 credits to his name, made some of the most revered films of their time, if not all time – in any number of genres. He made gangster films, grand adventures, horror films, musicals, melodramas and period pieces. If there was a film to make, he’d make it – usually with antagonizing cast, crew, and studios along the way. For a remarkably long period, he got away with it, simply because he got results. Love him or hate him – and people were squarely divided –Curtiz was a moviemaker. This was his life, making the subtitle of Alan K. Rode’s epic biography a most appropriate one.

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