Image Credits | Links | SWING TIME
Beginning his career as an assistant cameraman and gag writer for
low-budget westerns and Laurel & Hardy comedy shorts in the 1920s and early
1930s, George Stevens eventually progressed through the ranks to become one
of classic Hollywood's most reliable producer-directors, earning five
Academy Award nominations as Best Director and winning the Oscar twice.
Though his films lack a signature visual style, they are marked by
compelling performances and notable cast chemistry. Further,
their engaging all-American story lines and subtle sentimentality make Stevens one of
the Hollywood's foremost chroniclers
of the pursuit of the American Dream.
Stevens' earliest directorial efforts were comedy shorts made
for producer Hal Roach at
Universal, but he soon moved to RKO
where he was permitted to direct a few feature-length comedies. In 1935,
Katharine Hepburn chose
Stevens to direct her in ALICE ADAMS, from Booth Tarkington's novel about a
lower-middle class girl with big dreams.
Kate's vote of
confidence and the film's success launched Stevens career.
The following year, Stevens was chosen to lead the studio's
most famous screen team,
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, in the sixth of the dancing duo's nine
musicals for RKO,
SWING TIME (1936).
By all standards one of the best films in the series,
SWING TIME features
plenty of light comedy and such memorable musical numbers as "Pick Yourself
Up," "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Never Gonna Dance." It was
Ginger's favorite of her
Astaire and the best of the four
musicals Stevens' directed over the course of his career.
Theatrical Trailer" with
Fred Astaire, Victor Moore,
Helen Broderick and Eric Blore (a .MOV
(For help opening any of the multimedia files, visit the plug-ins
Stevens' also brought a light touch to GUNGA DIN (1939), an
action-adventure film based on Rudyard Kipling's poem about British soldiers
trying to stop a native uprising in 19th century colonial India.
Starring Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen
and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., GUNGA DIN is as fun-loving and red-blooded a war
story as exists on film. The plotline may no longer be politically correct,
but its adventure value still holds.
Beginning with the romantic comedy VIVACIOUS LADY (1938),
Stevens began to exert more creative control over his films, producing them as
well as directing them, and significantly increasing his stature among
Hollywood directors of the time. Soon afterwards, he left
RKO to freelance, choosing and
developing his own projects (often for several years) at a variety of studios
for the remainder of his career.
In 1941, Stevens
directed Cary Grant to his first
Oscar nomination for his performance as a cocksure newspaperman who struggles
to become a responsible family man in
Columbia's romantic drama
PENNY SERENADE. Co-starring
Irene Dunne along with Beulah
Bondi and Edgar Buchanan, the film successfully combined touching comic,
tear-jerking tragic and heart-warming romantic elements into an all-around
crowd pleaser and box-office success.
Go to the next page.
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3