Film noir expert Alan K. Rode has released “Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film,” published by the University Press of Kentucky. To mark the book’s launch, the American Cinematheque is hosting a book signing and screening of two Curtiz gems on Thursday night in Hollywood at the Egyptian Theatre.
“The Sea Wolf” (1941) stars Edward G. Robinson, John Garfield, Ida Lupino, Gene Lockhart and Barry Fitzgerald in a tense and moody adaption of Jack London’s anti-fascist adventure novel. Robert Rossen (“The Hustler”) wrote the screenplay.
“The Breaking Point” (1950) takes Ernest Hemingway’s tragic novel “To Have and Have Not” as its source material. Though the setting is changed from Key West to Newport Beach, Calif., Curtiz delivers a more faithful version of the book than the famous Howard Hawks vehicle starring Bogart and Bacall.
Rode set himself quite the task when he decided to write about this master director. Uncommonly prolific across many genres (including Westerns, swashbucklers and musicals), Hungarian-born Curtiz made more than 60 movies in Europe and more than 100 in Hollywood, arriving in 1926 at the behest of Warner Bros. Studio.
He won the Best Director Oscar for 1942’s noir-tinged “Casablanca” and for a short called “Sons of Liberty” from 1939. He was nominated for Oscars five times and directed 10 actors to Oscar nominations. James Cagney and Joan Crawford received their only Academy Awards under Curtiz’s direction.
Crawford won for her comeback role, “Mildred Pierce,” a domestic film noir from 1945. With a screenplay by Ranald MacDougall, the movie improves and heightens the drama of James M. Cain’s novel.
Co-starring Ann Blyth, Zachary Scott, Jack Carson, Eve Arden and Bruce Bennett, “Mildred Pierce” ranks as one of our all-time favorite films.
For tonight, however, we’ll just have to swoon over John Garfield. Life’s rough.
Rode will sign his book in the lobby at 6:30 p.m. He will also introduce the films, slated to start at 7:30 p.m.
The Film Noir Classics Collection - Vol. 2 (DVD, 2005, 5-Disc Set)
Man in the Dark 2D-3D (Blu-ray, 2014) Rare OOP Twilight Time/Cult 1953 Film Noir
Detour (DVD, 2000)Tom Neal/Ann Savage Archetypal 1945 PRC Film Noir - LIKE NEW!
Another Mans Poison (Blu-ray Disc, 2017) Bette Davis 1951 British Film Noir
John Alton Film Noir Collection Blu-Ray T-Men / Raw Deal / He Walked by Night