The Hungarian Michael Curtiz, director and tireless great job, picked up a long series of successes in films of every kind and linked his name to the most spectacular action films of the thirties.
He joined the fledgling Hungarian film industry in 1912, he directed some of the early films of that country. His career was interrupted when, for political reasons, had to take the path of exile and refuge in Austria. When Jack Warner saw his feature Slave Queen (Die SIavenkònigen, 1924) invited him to Hollywood. Acclimatatosi quickly, he began to churn out films of all genres, achieving particular success in the horror film full of suspense.
In 1935, Michael Curtiz (as was already known in the U.S.) was assured a large supply of resources for the realization of Captain Blood whose primary role was given to Errol Flynn, and with the role of Peter Blood found himself catapulted into one of the stars of Hollywood.
With Captain Blood was proven a successful formula, the formula and that the manufacturer would have made constant reference in the following decade. Curtiz applied this formula to other adventure films, westerns and comedies starring Flynn,
It The Adventures of Robin Hood (The Adventures of Robin Hood, 1938), also starring Flynn, Curtiz, turned all the indoor scenes, resulting in a classic, a film without economies, brilliantly photographed.
Curtiz’s next film, The Earl of Essex (The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, 1939), it was not for Flynn an equally rewarding dialogues predominate over action, and Bette DavisIn the role of the now old Elizabeth, put completely in the shade of its interpretation.
The last film of the couple’s swashbuckling Curtiz-Flynn was The Sea Hawk (The Sea Hawk, 1940).
When America entered the Second World War, Curtiz, now in the position of director ‘luxury’ for Warner, promoted patriotism and the war effort in musicals Yankee Doodle Dandy (Yankee Doodle Dandy, 1942) This Is the Army (1943) and in dramas such as Casablanca (Casablanca, 1942) Mission to Moscow (1943). Casablanca proved to be a timeless film, beautifully produced and superbly played, with an emotional impact still very much alive.
The all-consuming ambition of a mother who destroys his marriage, alienated his daughter and involves them in a vortex of murder, blackmail and corruption, provided in part by Joan Crawford’s Oscar I Mildred Pierce (Mildred Pierce, 1945).
During the second half of the Forties Curtiz explored new genres, beginning with Life with father (Life With Father, 1947), an affectionate sketch of family life in New York at the end of the century, from a story by Donald Ogden Stewart. Although Curtiz would remain active for 15 years, his career had now reached its peak and since then started downward. The dissolution of the studio system, which coincided with the release of the Warner Curtiz in 1954, combined with his lack of business sense, contributed to its decline. While continuing to work with stars such as Gary Cooper, William Holden, Alan Ladd, John Wayne, Lauren Bacall and Sophia Loren, Very little of its production was the height of his fame, but notable exceptions represented by successful films such as Happiness can not buy (The Best Things in Life Are Free, 1956) The ‘rebel proud (The Proud Rebel, 1958) and The comanceros (The Comancheros, 1962). Curtiz died in Hollywood in 1962.
Although he never achieved the artistic stature of the great directors, the care and skill with which Michael Curtiz packaged his movies are out of the question. One might even say that some of his works were among the best releases from Warner in the Thirties and Forties.
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