Biography of Frank Borzage (1893-1962)

Director of American cinema, born on April 23, 1893 in Salt Lake City and died June 19, 1962 in Hollywood.


Frank Borzage occupies a special place among numerous artisans that populated the Hollywood classic, able to jump out of the western war films or sophisticated comedies showing a narrative efficiency and technical knowledge worthy of admiration. The uniqueness of this filmmaker is that, knowing very well play the role of simple worker in the service of a complex industrial gear, knew to always keep a few constants of visual style characterized by poetic sensitivity of their images and the romanticism of its staging. About a hundred movies, Borzage Director is mostly known as a signer of a handful of excellent romantic melodramas that are among the best in the history of cinema, case of human torrents or seventh heaven, although its figure however remains still somewhat obscured by other large genre filmmakers such as John M. Stahl and Douglas Sirk.

Solid theatre training Frank Borzage actor ended up in the world of film thanks to Thomas H. Ince, who offered him the opportunity to work in a medium that was just taking their first steps in crisis stage. Due to the bad press that had the film among certain bourgeois elites, Borzage decided to camouflage its name under the pseudonym so that, one time after what he considered a fleeting stage, could go back to the theater without being marked as an interpreter. However, he very soon began to be interested in the direction and, already in 1913, just a year after having made the leap to Hollywood, he directed a western series as The Mistery of the Yellow Aster Mine. Thereafter, he began a long career within the genre of films from the West, which became one of the leading specialists of the silent period. However, the first feature film that earned him some fame was Humoresque (1920), a romantic fable where Borzage started to show as a Director attentive to the smallest details and close to the Baroque.

At the end of the Decade of the 1920s, and still in full silent stage, two feature films definitely catapulted you to fame: Seventh Heaven (1927) and the angel of the street (1928). The modernity of its realization, sometimes next to certain tenets of the avant-garde French and influenced also by the German expressionist cinema, earned him warm praise of critics and public, becoming in this way one of the most promising of Hollywood. These films also served to highlight an idea that traveled from that moment the complete work of Borzage: individual freedom through the achievement of an unattainable love, so that anyone can achieve full. All framed in squalid environments and misery, as the angel of the street, approached his admired George. W. Pabst films, and where the photo play with chiaroscuro was decisive. In this sense seventh heaven will be the peak of this aesthetics, through an effective play of contrasts with elements such as religion, poverty, or love, to finish creating a very close to the hyperrealistic trends.

The Decade of the thirties was especially marked by the so-called "German trilogy" composed by and now what? (1934), Three Comrades (1938) and The Mortal Storm (1939), where policy falls squarely in society, like a cancer that corrupts it. Frank Borzage showed the devastating effects of the rise to power of totalitarianism as the nazi regime of Adolf Hitler, with which was, moreover, a call to solidarity as a substitute for universal love. However, viewers opted instead for other movies of infinitely more Baroque tone, case of the sophisticated Mannequin (1938) or that authentic singing to the feeling of love that was desire (1936), one of the summits of the successful career of Borzage and by extension of the history of cinema.

The Spanish Main (1945) pirate adventure film said a turning point in his career. The economic failure of this film, which will be followed by other not less bright as the suffered the following year with great passion (a Mannerist film that repeated his style features but without the vigor or the beauty of previous proposals), ended up causing his departure from the film by space for almost a decade. Upon his return, things had changed in a huge way and Frank Borzage failed to conform to the new times, so titles as China Doll (1958) and the big fisherman (1959) were closer to be a vindication of bygone days that a commitment to modernity as it had been much of his previous films.

In its decline as a filmmaker just some interesting offers came him. In that situation, we opted to accept the leadership of a peplum Italian, Antinea, l'amante della citta sepolta (1961), whose shooting had however to give up past the two weeks to determine are you a cancer stage. Edgar G. Ulmer and Giuseppe Massini replaced him as directors.


1913: The Mistery of the Yellow Aster Mine. 1916: That Gal of Burke Completo (Co-Director); Mammy completo de Rose (Co-Director); Life completo Harmony (Co-Director); The Silken Spider (and actor); The Code of Honor (and actor); Nell Dal' is Men Folks (and actor); The Forgotten Prayer (and actor); The Courtin completo of Calliope Clew (and actor); Nugget Jim completo Pardner (and actor); The Demon of Fear (and actor); Land O'Lizards (and actor); Immediate Lee (and actor); Enchatment (and actor); Dollars of Dross. The Pitch of Chance. Actor (and Boxer). 1917: soulmate (and actor); Flying Colors; Until They Get Me (and actor). 1918: the owner of the ranch (and actor); Shoes That Danced; Innocent completo Progress; Honest man; Society for Sale; Who is to Blame?; The Curse of Iku (and actor); Flor de Naples; The Atom (Co-Director). 1919: Toto; The lights of the naive; Ashes of Desire; Whom the Gods Destroy. 1920: Humoresque. 1921: Thanks to them; The Duke of Chimney Butte. 1922: Back Pay; Jim the handsome; The good provider; The Valley of silence; The Pride of Palomar. 1923: The age of ambition; Children of Dust; The Ninth Commandment. 1924: Secrets. 1925: A great lady; Lost good; Strike of wives; The eternal question; The tumbon. 1926: For the child; Homeless and without direction; The first year; Early marriage. 1927: Seventh heaven. 1928: Street angel; Human torrents. 1929: Star happy; New whimsical rich. 1930: Liliom; The song of my soul. 1931: Wives of physicians; The Bad Girl; It is never late. 1932: Blood young; A farewell to arms; Day after tomorrow. 1933: Human fueros; Secrets. 1934: and now what?; Men of tomorrow; The Generalitat. 1935: Life is tasty; Your first kiss; Long live the marina! 1936: I wish; Divided hearts. 1937: Dinner of midnight; Green Light; The Big City. 1938: Three Comrades; Mannequin; The radiant hour. 1939: Heroic lives. 1940: Strange Cargo; This woman is mine (Co-Director); Flight Command; The Mortal Storm. 1941: The Vanishing Virginian; Smilin' Through. 1942: Seven Sweethearts. 1943: The sister of Butler; Three days of love and faith. 1944: Till We Meet Again. 1945: The Spanish Main. 1946: Passion; The first lady. 1947: That's My Man. 1948: Moonrise. 1958: china Doll. 1959: The big fisherman. 1961: Antinea, l'amante della citta sepolta (Co-Director).

As an actor:

1911: Night of the Trail; UnLucky Luke; Two Bits; Matchin' Jim. 1912: On Secret Service; When Lee Surrenders; The Blood Will Tell. 1913: The Drummer of the Eight; The Ambassodor completo Envoy; The Pride of the South; Crimson Stain; Days of' 49; The War Correspondant; The Loaded says; A Dixie Mother; And Jealousy; To foreign Spy; Pride of Lonesome; Retribution; Cracks Man Santa Claus; A Hop Legend. 1914: The anger of the gods; The hurricane; In the country of gold; The Wheel of Life; The Battle of Gettysburgh; A New England Idyl; The Silent Messenger; The Cup of Life; Love's Western Flight; A Flash In the Dark. 1915: The Desperado; A Relic of Old Japan; In the Sage Brush Country; A Crook's Sweetheart; Parson Larkin completo Wife; Molly of the Mountains; A Child of the Turf; The Awakening; The Spark From the Embers; The Disillusionment of Jane; Her Alibi; The Hammer; Tools of Providence; Alias James Chauffeur; A Friend in Need; Touring With Tollie; Almost a Widow; Her Adopted Father; Anita's Buterfly; Nobody's Home; Making Over Father; Two Hearts and a Thief. 1916: Mammy completo de Rose; That Gal of Burke completo; Jack the Pilgrim; To The Minute.


LAMSTER, Frederick. Souls Made Great Through Love and Adversity: The film Work of Frank Borzage. (New York: Scarecrow, 1981).