Episode 11: Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film, with Alan K. Rode

Film Noir Foundation charter director and treasurer Alan K. Rode joins us to discuss his new biography of Michael Curtiz, one of classic Hollywood’s greatest directors. We start with Curtiz’s early life and career in Europe (2:45), his first years in Hollywood (11:15), and his wife and close collaborator Bess Meredyth (14:35). Then we talk about his breakthrough success with Captain Blood and other hits with Errol Flynn, including The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Sea Hawk (17:15). We also discuss the peak of Curtiz’s career with Yankee Doodle Dandy (28:05) and Casablanca (34:40).

We then delve into some of Curtiz’s major noir films: Mildred Pierce (39:45), The Unsuspected (47:35), the new restoration of The Sea Wolf (53:10), and his post-war masterpiece, The Breaking Point (1:00:25).

We wrap up with a few titles from late in Curtiz’s career (1:08:00) and a discussion of why he has not been more of a household name (1:10:20).

Michael Curtiz: A Life In Film is available at: www.amazon.com/Michael-Curtiz-Li…ics/dp/0813173914

Excerpts from Alan’s book are available at these links:

The Politics of Yankee Doodle Dandy – Exclusive Guest Post by Author Alan K. Rode (Michael Curtiz: A Life) —  November 20, 2017

75th Anniversary of Casablanca 

Please send us any feedback you have on our show to podcast@filmnoirfoundation.org.

Music: Themes from Mildred Pierce (by Max Steiner), The Sea Hawk (Erich Wolfgang Korngold), The Adventures Of Robin Hood (Korngold), Yankee Doodle Dandy (George M. Cohan), and The Sea Wolf (Korngold). “Crawfish” from King Creole.

Dialogue from Mildred Pierce (1945), with Joan Crawford, and from The Breaking Point (1950), with John Garfield and Patricia Neal.

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