Directors

18 Essential Truths Of Michael Curtiz

1. Michael Curtiz was a Hungarian American film director. He had early credits as Mihály Kertész and Michael Kertész.

2. He directed more than 50 films in Europe and more than 100 in the United States, many of them cinema classics, including The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood, Dodge City, The Sea Hawk, The Sea Wolf, Angels with Dirty Faces, Casablanca , Yankee Doodle Dandy, Mildred Pierce, and White Christmas.

3. He thrived in the heyday of the Warner Bros. studio in the 1930s/40s.

4. He was less successful after the 1940s, when he attempted to move from studio direction into production and freelance work, but continued working until shortly before his death.

5. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6640 Hollywood Blvd.

6. Curtiz was born Manó Kaminer to a Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary .

7. In 1905 he Hungaricised his name to Mihály Kertész. He claimed to have been born December 24, 1886.

8. Both the date and the year are open to debate: he was fond of telling tall tales about his early life, including that he had run away from home to join the circus and that he had been a member of the Hungarian fencing team at the 1912 Olympic Games.

9. In reality, Curtiz had a conventional middle-class upbringing; he studied at Markoszy University and the Royal Academy of Theater and Art, Budapest, before beginning his career as an actor and director as Mihály Kertész at the National Hungarian Theater in 1912.

10. Details of his early experience as a director are sparse, and it is not clear what part he may have played in the direction of several early films, but he is known to have directed at least one film in Hungary before spending six months in 1913 at the Nordisk studio in Denmark honing his craft.

11. On the outbreak of World War I, he briefly served in the artillery of the Austro-Hungarian Army, but he had returned to film-making by 1915.

12. In that or the following year he married for the first time, to actress Lucy Doraine.

13. Curtiz left Hungary when the film industry was nationalised in 1919, during the brief Hungarian Soviet Republic, and soon settled in Vienna.

14. He married his second wife, Lili Damita, in 1925; they divorced in 1926.

15. When he left for the United States, he left behind at least one illegitimate son and one illegitimate daughter.

16. Curtiz arrived in the United States in 1926 . He took the anglicised name “Michael Curtiz”.

17. He had a lengthy and prolific Hollywood career, with directing credits on over 100 films in many film genres.

18. During the 1930s, he was often credited on four films in a single year, although he was not always the sole director on these projects.

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