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Classic Biopic Directors: 4 Filmmakers Who Stand Out

Image: Classic Biopic Directors: 4 Filmmakers Who Stand Out
Alexander Korda, Hungarian-born British film producer and director. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Saturday, 02 May 2015 03:51 AM

Although biopics, or biographical movies, have risen in popularity in the last few years, the genre has been around for a long time, and these four directors produced some of its most beloved classics.

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1. Alexander Korda

Born in Hungary in 1893, Alexander Korda was one of the most controversial and influential figures in the early British film industry, Screen Online notes. Korda liked to focus on those in positions of power in his films, only breaking this pattern with "Rembrandt" (1936). His most famous film, "The Private Life of Henry VIII" (1933), was a huge success, earning the distinction of being the first British film to appeal to American audiences to the extent that it won the 1933 Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

2. John Ford

Greatly respected by his contemporaries, John Ford was perhaps one of the greatest directors to ever grace the big screen. A big fan of classic Westerns, according to the Internet Movie Database, Ford nonetheless branched out into several genres with great success. Some of his best-known biopics are "Mary of Scotland" (1936), "The Prisoner of Shark Island" (1936), and "The Wings of Eagles" (1957).

3. Franklin J. Schaffner

A prolific director of all genres, Franklin Schaffner had major success thanks to his work on "Planet of the Apes" (1968). However, his most successful film ever according to Encyclopedia Britannica was his 1970 biopic, "Patton," about General George S. Patton. Praised by audiences and critics alike, the outstanding film won the Academy Award for Best Picture and earned Schaffner the Academy Award for Best Director. He also directed "Nicholas and Alexandra," which tells the story of the decline of Russia's Romanov dynasty, in 1971 and "Papillon," which tells of Henri Charriere's escape from Devils Island as recorded in his autobiography, in 1973.

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4. Michael Curtiz

Perhaps best known as the director of "Casablanca" (1942), Michael Curtiz was also well-known for his biographical films. His "Santa Fe Trail" (1940) focuses on Jeb Stuart and his relationships with such historical stars as Kit Carson Holliday, George Custer, and John Brown while "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" (1939) tells of Queen Elizabeth I's strained relationship with Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. However, his most famous biopic and one of his three greatest films according to Turner Classic Movies was "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1942), based on the life of George M. Cohan. The film earned Curtiz a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director, and while he did not receive the award, the film nevertheless became an almost instant classic.

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Although biopics, or biographical movies, have risen in popularity in the last few years, the genre has been around for a long time, and these four directors produced some of its most beloved classics.
classic, biopic, directors, movies, filmmakers
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2015-51-02
Saturday, 02 May 2015 03:51 AM
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