Biography of Henry King (1886-1982)

American filmmaker born on January 24, 1886 in Christianburg (Virginia) and died on June 29, 1982 in Toluca Lake (California).

Attracted very young by the world of the spectacle, circus, vaudeville and theater were the scenes of his first artistic steps, where went to the cinema in 1913 intervening as an actor and writing some arguments in the productions of different studies as Lubin, Balboa, Pathé, Mutual

He started as a director in 1915 (after a brief experience in the filming of a scene of struggle in The spoilers in 1914, he designed on a flat structure shorter that surprised everyone), with many films of short duration, norm of the era. He worked for the American Film Company for several years (was that directed the first feature film by Studio Six feet four, in 1919) and was another of the many directors who worked for Thomas H. Ince. In these years he co-directed some serial as the Covenant of the three (1915), activity which was consolidating his career beside the director Edward Sloman and the actor William Russell (from Sands of sacrifice, 1917, to a honorable bravo, 1919).

Since 1918 already directed films alone (including another diamond and in search of tranquility), activity in which showed his good make narrative with Visual touches that synthesized in a masterly way with his film Tol'able David (1921), from a script that co-wrote with Edmund Goulding on the work of Joseph Hergsheimer. King showed that the simplicity of a story can afford extraordinary dimensions when the spectator who contemplates it falls squarely in the history (in this case of a young farmer who want to fulfill a dream, driving a car, mail, and after various vicissitudes, which shows that it is no longer a child). Came together in this case King affinity with such history (it was filmed in the same places in which lived the director when he was a child) and the proximity of the subject (a rural theme) - for those who attended the Hall after its premiere. Without a doubt, King could cannot be separated from the contributions of Griffith, but knew how to grow some of them in the dimension that the film required: he worked the internal elements of the action (staging) and dissected the most that should be part of the plot.

King found in open spaces and in small towns ideal place to develop your story personal, which always looked for the character and his more intimate side, their everyday problems. ToL'able David allowed him to contact the actor Richard Barthelmess, who worked at The seven day and sea lions (both from 1922); with Lillian Gish (the white sister, 1923; Romola, 1924); and with Ronald Colman (and knew how to be mother, 1925;) Desert Flower, 1926; The magic flame, 1927; all productions of Samuel Goldwyn). With Gish and Barthelmess others founded in these years Inspiration Pictures, an independent production company that brought forward some projects.

The passage from mute to sound him did not affect too much, since he learned to understand that sound would help the narration and complement action, enriching it, in many cases, to the same extent that had gotten him the subheading, which had served as explanation for the action in his silent films. She produced her first job, sound is going to the war (1929) with which confirmed (although only disposed of ten percent of spoken dialogues) that filming in Studio not guaranteeing expressive sound, because outdoors greater realism to action can be achieved.

With the 1930s joined the Fox for which directed two films with Will Rogers, in particular, the fair of life (1933), with a ruralist tone that seeks to convey the essence of the life of the people of the American field. Two years later, King lived the transformation of the study to merge with Twentieth Century of Darryl Zanuck. Under the new name of 20th Century-Fox continued his work making films of very diverse subjects. Thus, took historical reconstructions as the Chicago fire in 1817 (Chicago, 1938); commitments biographical as the band of Alexander (1938), about a successful of Irvin Berlin composer who earned him the Oscar music Alfred Newman, line that remained in the adventure film with the lost Explorer (1939), about Livingstone; He addressed a great western land of fearless (1939), with which reminded Jesse James (played by Tyrone Power) and his brother Frank (Henry Fonda).

Performed by Power productions (an American in the RAF, 1941; The Black Swan, 1942; The Prince of foxes, 1949) dominated much of the effective work of King in the Decade of the forties (time in which featured cinematographer Leon Shamroy as special collaborator), decade in which surprised especially two biographical film: the song of Bernadette (1943), with Jennifer Jones, and Wilson (1944), with Alexander Knox, and a film of war background: Souls at the stake (1949), with Gregory Peck. The first focused on Bernadette Soubirous, the French girl that turned the miracle of Lourdes; its excellent staging allowed to be nominated for 12 Academy Awards, which finally received only four, notably the main actress and the music of Alfred Newman. The second movie focused on the life of Woodrow Wilson, U.S. President from 1913 to 1921; It was a blockbuster in full-fledged (received 10 nominations at the Oscar and only got five), but did not achieve the expected results. The third story focused on a group of pilots during the second world war who, after suffering several defeats, are animated by a superior who comes to his aid; the film is narrated in flashback with interesting hits in its visual approach.

The Decade of the fifties, King continued his work with the Fox to apply its good make in the work of specific actors. He went to Gregory Peck (the gunfighter, 1950) and Susan Hayward (I'd climb the highest mountain, 1951) as a partner in several films, which highlighted the snows of the Kilimajaro (1952), melodrama emerged from a text of Ernest Hemingway. Also had a Tyrone Power and Susan Hayward in the caravan to the South (1955) with Ava Gardner in The sun also rises (1957).

In the last years of his career, King showed a good command of the melodrama on the Hill of farewell (1955), awarded three Oscar for the musical part, and soft is the night (1961), adaptation of a work of F. Scott Fitzgerald, both films performed by Jennifer Jones.

Henry King was one of the most unknown principals of classical Hollywood. The revision of his work was dismantling many negative topics which the defender of Auteur cinema criticism spread; his films are immersed in the deepest feelings arising from simple, everyday life, the land in which their characters emerge (was an advocate of shooting outdoors), with a tone of moral and religious fruit of the conviction. His contribution to the progress of the film story in many of his silent films, is undeniably in a moment where he was contemporary of David W. Griffith, Fred Niblo, Allan Dwan, Sam Wood and Maurice Tourneur, among others. Further exceptions emerged within the framework of tax conditions for the production of the study for which he worked. However, he managed to offer bright moments that caused the success of many films. He was nominated twice for the Oscar as director, but they were actors and professionals that worked with him the most awarded by the Academy.


[Between 1915 and 1918, King directed several films 1 and 2 rolls]

1915: The brand of man; The Covenant of the three (Co-Director); Should a wife forgive? (and actor) 1916: Joy and the dragon (and actor); The stained dearl; Pay dirt (and actor); Little Mary shunshine (and actor); Once upon a time; Shadows and sunshine (and actor); The oath of hats; The sand lark; Faith's Reward. 1917: The climber (and actor); Twin kiddies (and actor); Shunshine and gold (actor and screenwriter); Told at twilight (and actor); Souls in pawn; The bride's silence; The unafraid; Scepter of suspicion; The upper crust; The mainspring (and actor); A game of wits; Southern pride; Mate of the Sally Ann; The captain of the star of the South (Co-Director); Sands of sacrifice (Co-Director); Jack, the King of detectives (Co-Director); The New York Luck (Co-Director); Jack, the indomitable (Co-Director); The combative Knight (Co-Director); Vengeance of the dead (and actor). 1918: the ruse of Mary (Co-Director); Letters of yesteryear (Co-Director); Powers that pray; Beauty and the rogue; The locked Heart (and actor); In search of tranquility; Another diamond; All the world to nothing; Hobbs in a hurry; When a man rides alone; The midnight trail (Co-Director); Novel of love and hate (Co-Director); Collar de esmeraldas (Co-Director); Unmarried, married and widow (Co-Director); The girl who didn't want to grow (Co-Director); For a smile (Co-Director). 1919: Where the west begins; Cupid by proxy; The child of M'sieu; Brass buttons; Some bundling; Boxer; A bravo Honorable; Twenty-three and a half hours of permission (and editor); Six feet four; Fleeing the marriage; Haunting shadows. 1920: The White Dove; Help wanted-male (and actor); One hour before dawn; Uncharted channels; It tells of destiny. 1921: When we were twenty-one; Salvage; The castellana of Shenstone; The lash; ToL'able David (producer and screenwriter). 1922: The seventh day (and producer); The bond boy (and producer); Sonny (producer and screenwriter); Wolves of the Sea (and producer). 1923: the white sister (and producer). 1924: Romola (and producer). 1925: Any woman; Sackloth and Scarlet (and producer). 1926: and knew how to be a mother; Flower of the desert; Partners again, with Potash and Perlmutter. 1927: it is called magic. 1928: A woman disputed. 1929: She goes to war (and producer). 1930: Hell Harbor (and producer); The eyes of the world (and producer); Lightnin' (and producer). 1931: Marianita; Honor your mother. 1932: The Lady of the 13. 1933: I loved yesterday (Co-Director); The fair's life. 1934: María Galante; Carolina. 1935: Through the storm; Another spring. 1936: Five cribs; Lloyds of London; Ramona. 1937: The seventh heaven. 1938: Chicago; The band of Alexandre. 1939: Land of bold; The lost Explorer. 1940: The awakening of a city; Chad Hanna; Maryland. 1941: An American in the RAF; Remember that day (and screenwriter). 1942: Black Swan. 1943: The song of Bernadette. 1944: Wilson. 1945: The Liberty Bell. 1946: As I met him. 1947: Captain from Castille. 1948: Deep waters. 1949: The Prince of foxes; Souls at the stake. 1950: The gunman. 1951: I'd climb the highest mountain. 1952: David and Bathsheba; Four pages of life (Co-Director); The snows of Kilimanjaro. 1953: Captain King. 1955: Caravan to the South; The Hill of farewell. 1956: Carousel. 1957: The sun also rises. 1958: The Avenger mercilessly. 1959: This land is mine; Days without life. 1961: Soft is the night.

As an actor

1914: The measure of man; Abide with me. 1916: The power of evil. 1917: The devil's bait. 1925: ben-Hur. 1942: Mrs. Miniver. 1943: Spotlight revue.