10 famous movies of Mankiewicz(Wilkes Barre, February 11, 1909, – New York, February 5, 1993)
His father, Franz Mankiewicz, a Jewish-Berliner who emigrated at the age of 17 from Germany in 1885, became a famous professor at the New York City College in the United States. He taught language, Hebrew theology and education; He also frequented the cultural elite of New York. He had three children with a Jewish woman from Courland.
The young Joseph began the career of medicine, in the specialty of psychiatry, but the low score in a subject prevented him from finishing those studies, although he would later read a lot of psychoanalysis. By contrast, in 1928 he studied art at Columbia University. At the age of 19, once he finished his studies, he traveled to Berlin to study, sent by his father, but he began to love theater.
The first steps in American cinema were at the Paramount studios. already under a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He obtained his first professional success when collaborating in the script of the black melodrama Manhatan Melodrama (1934) directed by W. S. Van Dyke. Although he did not give in to his attempts, Mayer agreed nonetheless to name him producer and he performed very remarkably this position between 1935 and 1942, period during which he produced 19 films for MGM. Disappointed at not being able to direct his own films, Mankiewicz left the MGM and put himself at the service of 20th Century Fox.
Mankiewicz spent his last years of life retired at his farm in Willow Pond, surrounded by the memories he kept of all his films, and died on February 5, 1993 in Bedford (New York) when he was about to turn 84, a cause of a heart attack.
10 famous movies of Mankiewicz
1. The Late George Apley (1946)
One of the lesser-known films of his filmography, delves into Boston society of the early twentieth century, emphasizing the differences between social classes and the more modern mentality of a new generation, the children of the protagonist, who wants look forward, leaving behind the ideals and customs of the 19th century.
2. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
Film with fantastic touch, in which he would count for the first time with the British Rex Harrison, who would repeat in three other occasions. He introduces us to a young widow who settles with his daughter in a house in which a ghost lives, with which he will establish a close relationship despite his ectoplasmic condition.
Although this film is also developed at the beginning of 20th century, it shows a female character with courage and energy, willing to go ahead and decide for herself her destiny.
3. A Letter to Three Wifes (1949)
First occasion in which he could demonstrate his talent as a screenwriter, since he won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. He also won the Oscar for Best Director. With this recognition, Mankiewicz was postulated as one of the authors, in the broadest sense of the term, most important in Hollywood. It elaborates a narration of three histories corresponding to three women who will be intertwined.
4. All About Eve (1950)
Fierce and ruthless criticism about the world of entertainment and in particular about theater. A story where hypocrisy, ambition and jealousy are the fuel that feeds all the characters that are portrayed, in a picture that is not generous with them.
He again shows his mastery in writing, not only in the description of characters, but in sharp dialogues, full of poison, with brilliant phrases. It would rise again with the Oscar for the best Original Script, adding also those corresponding for Better Director and Better Film.
5. Five Fingers (1952)
On this occasion, he tackles the genre of spy cinema, with an elaborate plot, which takes place in Turkey. This time the script would be written by another person, in this case Michael Wilson, a great writer who had to work in the shade to be one of the victims of the black lists of the Witch Hunt.
6. Julius Caesar (1953)
Another adaptation of a Shakespeare play set in classical Rome, a place that traveled frequently to Hollywood in the 50s. Cast of luxury, British actors of great prestige, something usual when making versions of the English writer, in addition to Brando, a pure talent.
7. The Barefoot Countess (1954)
Letting translude a more than likely feeling of boredom or disenchantment to a world of which he was a part, this time draws the bowels of the cinema, with a rather sad vision of his characters, miserable, frustrated or broken puppets looking for a past that has disappeared , impossible to catch. It will be the director who will act as the narrator on this nostalgic walk. Maybe it was the way to put his own words in one of his creations.
8. Cleopatra (1963)
Mythical film for many reasons, too many if we consider that none of them was a source of joy for the director that the rest of his life refused to say his name.
It is to consider the greater economic failure in the History of the Cinema. Although later films have had higher budgets and poor collections, it is considered that the cost of Cleopatra at the time and the income obtained, place it at number 1.
He began the tempestuous relationship between two of the greatest stars of the time: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. His love and alcohol story developed over the years, with two marriages and two divorces.
9. There Was a Croocked Man (1970)
Mankiewicz’s attempt to give a return to the western, with a parodic approach, more typical of con artists than of gunmen. A different vision of an era portrayed by Hollywood on innumerable occasions, which sought to leave a message of social criticism.
It was a failure both criticism and public, despite having two great stars: Henry Fonda and Kirk Douglas.
10. Sleuth (1972)
Interpretive duel between two of the most notable British actors, Lawrence Olivier and Michael Caine. Conceived as a game of intelligence between the two, full of twists, traps and surprises between a novel writer and a hairdresser, where nothing is what it seems.
It could be attributed to a somewhat excessive footage, suffering the final result of some too slow moments. It was his last film. He try to carry out projects later, but none fructified.