Biography of Victor Fleming (1883-1949)

Film director, American born in Pasadena, California, on February 23, 1883 and died on January 6, 1949 in Cotton Wood (Phoenix, Arizona).


Racer car and driver, started working in the industry of cinema as a camera Assistant to begin in 1915 as director of photography on the orders of great pioneers such as Allan Dwan, at Flying A Company, and David w. Griffith in the Triangle. In 1919 he carries out the cameraman at the Paris Conference and filmed the Treaty of Versailles.

He debuted in the film directing with nightmares (1919), signing along with Ted Reed, although his first film alone is a courageous chicken (1920). Both productions are starring his friend Douglas Fairbanks, one of the most popular actors of the time. During her silent consolidated its prestige as director of extraordinary skill and talent when it comes to telling stories. Soon becomes one of the most important directors of the Metro Goldwyn Mayer and one of the most successful.

His extraordinary ability to steer and, above all, to get along with the stars of the study reveals itself in its silent stage with his work with Fairbanks and Clara Bow, with whom he performs whim (1926) flower and Hula (1927). His productions of this period include the excellent adaptation of the eponymous novel by Joseph Conrad Lord Jim and westerns based on the Zane Grey gender specialist works To the last man and The call of the canyon.

His first job in the sound is the Virginian (1928) film. In it, although underestimated by critics, it shows enormous capacity to adapt to the new system of taxiways and the problems that arise with it. Rueda with equal ease and quality exterior and Interior. His mastery of the sound, of a beginner, have a large influence on other subsequent films of the Studio. The Virginian is the first great mass success of Gary Cooper and the beginning of its launch as a big star by the Metro.

It specializes in the direction of vehicles for the brilliance of the male stars of the study. In this sense has always been the artistic counterpoint to another of the great directors of the era, George Cukor, "director of women" for excellence in the history of the cinema. Another feature of the work of Fleming is the released male stars: to the example already cited of Gary Cooper you can add the creation of film personality of Clark Gable, great friend and one of his main supporters to David o. Selznick when entrust you the direction from which the wind. His collaboration with Gable begins with land of passion (1932) to continue with the white sister (1933). In addition to her work with male actors, Fleming has an enormous importance in the career of Jean Harlow: for the first time mixing touches of comedy that transcend the prison of this as sex symbol when he directed her in Polvorilla (1933) and the wilderness (1935).

In its sound stage it continues to do adaptations of literary works of prestige forming machine with the screenwriter John Lee Mahin and producer Hunt Stromberg. These adaptations include the Treasure Island (1934), revision of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson, which leads to another of the most important actors of the time, Wallace Beery, and fearless captains (1937), one of his best films - it will be worth to him his first Oscar to Spencer Tracy-, which is the beginning of a fruitful collaboration between director and star. The following year, Tracy starred in alongside Clark Gable Piloto test (1938) and, from 1941 collaborate in three consecutive films: a new adaptation of Stevenson, the strange case of Dr. Jekyll, life is so, based on the novel Torilla Flat by John Steinbeck and two in the sky, war drama in which Tracy plays a pilot that takes care of his wife after his death [there is a new version of this moviedirected by Steven Spielberg in 1989, with Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter called forever].

In 1939 Fleming participates in what undoubtedly are his two most important films and by which they passed to the history of film, the wizard of Oz and the wind. Ironically, these two productions are clear examples of a style of making movies centered on the figure of the producer, result in both cases of complicated networks of partnerships imposed by large studies of the classic Hollywood system. In any case, Fleming is who is listed in the credits as director. The wizard of Oz - beyond the difficulties of production and be a failure by public and critics, something not too surprising to producers because it is more than one prestige film, even "artistic" in a certain sense, that of a commercial bet-, with the passage of time will be considered to be a masterpiece in the history of cinema. Music by Herbert Stothart and Harold Arlen and the song "Over the rainbow", written by the own Arlen and E.Y. Harburg get the Oscar of the Academy. Moreover, what the wind is one of the best films in the history of cinema, whose shooting and preparation have given so much to talk about as the movie itself. Before its premiere in Atlanta (Georgia) on December 15, 1939, his producer and last Manager, David O. Selznick, performs a task of marketing that begins even before the publication of the novel. It is certainly one of the more complex productions of the Hollywood industry, from which comes out well standing O. Selznick. After its release, what the wind immediately becomes one of the greatest successes in the history of cinema. Get eight Oscar of the Academy, including Best Director for Fleming and best film for Selznick.

The latest film directing is Juana de Arco (1948), adaptation of Maxwell Anderson that interprets and produces Ingrid Bergman. The following year, on 6 January 1949, Victor Fleming dies of a heart attack at his Arizona retreat. His work remains as an example of the best of what directors working within the system of the major studios, putting the overall style of production to a personal vision were able to.


As director of photography:

Short films: 1916: The mystery of the leaping fish.

Feature films: 1916: her portrait in the newspapers; Little Meena's romance; The custom of bliss; The generous thief; Betty of Greystone; Going straight; Macbeth; Innocente an Magdalene; Private Secretary; Hatred of races; The Madwoman of Manhattan; The marriage of Jimmy; American aristocracy. 1917: American; Down to earth; Her father's keeper; The V Ranch; Delusions of grandeur. 1918: The modern musketeer. 1919: His Majesty, the American.

As director:

Short films: 1921: rogues nerves.

Feature films: 1919: nightmares (Co-Director). 1920: A brave hen. 1921: No games with love; Mama's affair. 1922: Red hot romance; The lane that had no turning; Her own novel. 1923: Dark secrets; Gypsy justice; To the last man; The call of the canyon. 1924: Code of the sea; Empty hands (and producer). 1925: the dunghill of gold (and producer); Adventure (and producer); Are his father; Lord Jim (and producer). 1926: the goddess blind; Flower of whim. 1927: The iron squad; The fate of the meat; Hula. 1928: The Awakening (and producer); The song of the Wolf; The Virginian. 1929: The rose of Ireland. 1930: Common Clay; Man or devil. 1931: Around the world (Co-Director). 1932: prohibited Alcohol (and producer); Land of passion (and producer). 1933: Polvorilla; The white sister. 1934: The treasure island. 1935: The untamed; Contrasts. 1937: Intrepid captains. 1938: Pilot tests. 1939: The wizard of Oz; What the wind. 1941: The strange case of Dr. Jekyll. 1942: The life is like this. 1943: Two in the sky. 1945: Adventure. 1948: Joan of arc.


LANDLORD, Juan Carlos to the. Dictionary of Directors. (Madrid: Ediciones JC, 1992).

PASSEK, Jean-Luc et to the. Dictionary of cinema. (Librairie Larousse, 1986), (Spanish version of Miguel Urabayen Cascante [Madrid: Rialp, 1991]).

F Pascual