Biography of Alexander Korda (1893-1956)

Director and U.S. producer of Hungarian origin, whose original name was Sándor László Korda. He was born on September 16, 1893 in Turkeye (Hungary) and died in London (United Kingdom) on January 23, 1956.


He studied journalism in Paris and returned to his native country to work in silent movies, which began as a film journalist (he founded the newspaper Pesti Mozi), translator and writer of intertitles in the company Projetograph. As other film professionals, including operator, actor and screenwriter and directed his first film in 1914, to becsapott ujsagiro. During the first world war created the Corvin Films production company, as well as studies for the filming. He made until the end of the contest a score of films, most on own scripts. After the war, he emigrated to Vienna in 1920, where he directed his Majesty the Bandit and the Empress of the sea, and, three years later, settled in Germany. In the latter country rolled the tragedy of the Habsburgs, about the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a modern Du Barry, which worked the actress Maria Farkas, who later became his wife. The marriage went to Hollywood in 1926, hired by the First National, producer who had praised the work of Korda in a modern DuBarry. maría Farkas, now known as María Korda, obtained some success as an actress in the United States at the end of the silent film era, while Alexander Korda performed, among other films, the Hussars of the Queen and the private life of Helen of Troy, curious contemporaneizacion of the legendary story of Elena de Troya, based on the play by Robert Sherwood and the novel by John Erskine.

The year 1929 was a break in the career of the director, because the crisis of the appearance of the sound joined the American great depression. This made him move to France, where he worked on studies that Paramount had built in Joinville, close to Paris, as director of versions in German of French films. The Paramount appointed him as their representative in the United Kingdom and Korda marched to London in 1932. Shortly after his career took a new direction to become independent from the Paramount and to found, together with his brothers - director Zoltan and Vincent decorator-, besides the screenwriter Lajos Biró, the production company London Films, that would allow him to direct his best-known films during the 1930s. Among them, the private life of Enrique VIII, the adventure of don Juan and Rembrandt, films of the era in which the director, as had happened with the private life of Helen of Troy, humanized the famous characters and dreaded false historical interpretations of papier-mâché. These films shared a same delicacy and aesthetic perfection, to which contributed the Georges Périnal operator and art director Vincent Korda. Its main protagonists fell in recognized talent actors, protected by a stable and experienced group of child actors. Korda chased cinematographic productions of international prestige that could compete with U.S. industry. With the private life of Enrique VIII Korda reached his first big success as a producer, collecting ten times more than it had cost him his production. An important key to this success was the hugely interpretation of the English monarch Enrique VIII by Charles Laughton. With this actor he repeated in Rembrandt, biography of the Dutch painter of the same name, where again Laughton went to give a Masterful lesson interpretative embodying the artist in his later years of artistic splendour, economic ruin and social decline. In the adventure of don Juan the Manager also offered their own version of the myth of don Juan Tenorio. Nor is negligible, during that same decade of 1930, his work as a producer of films like Catherine of Russia, Paul Czinner, about the Russian Empress Catherine the great; The Scarlet Pimpernel, Harold Young, Merle Oberon and Leslie Howard, set in the French Revolution; The ghost goes West, of René Clair; history of an American millionaire who buys a Scottish castle, with included ghost, and move stone by stone to his country; and the four feathers, a classic of adventure cinema located in the war in Sudan at the end of the nineteenth, Zoltan Korda.

During the second world war, he returned to the United States where filmed Lady Hamilton, story based on the love affair between Admiral Nelson and lady Hamilton, against the backdrop of the military confrontation Franco-British early 19th Centuries, who served as British propaganda in the war with nazi Germany in a second reading. He also produced two films of adventures, which have been subsequently infinite versions, the thief of Bagdad and the jungle book, both performed by the then famous Sabu. At the end of the war he returned to the United Kingdom and he directed his two latest films, dangerous separation, with Robert Donat and Deborah Kerr, the comedy about a marriage that separates the war and the years after again reunited, and an ideal husband, on a play by Oscar Wilde and starring Paulette Godard. Thereafter it intensified his career as producer, supported in the London Films, and abandoned their duties as a Director.

In 1942 he was named Sir by the English monarch Jorge VI, appointment which became the first man of film to receive such noble distinction. Between 1947 and 1956 did produce more than forty films of various directors and film genres, among which stand out the third man by Carol Reed; The tales of Hoffman, of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger; and Ricardo III, Lawrence Olivier. Although he had stopped directing, the greatest merit of Korda in his later years was his insistence on giving strength to the British film industry and its interest in supporting new filmmakers, which years later became true hallmarks of English cinema after World War II, such as the aforementioned Powell, Pressburger and Olivier, but also Carol Reed, David Lean or Anthony Asquith.

Separated from his wife, María Korda, in 1930, he later married with the actress Merle Oberon (1939-45) and Alexandra Boycun in 1953. It was in 1947, one of the founders of the British Film Academy (now known as the British Academy of the arts of cinema and Television).


As a director (with the name of Sándor Korda):

1914: A becsapott ujsagiro (co-director); Tutyu is Totyo (co-director). 1915: Lyon read (co-director); To Tiszti kardbojt (and screenplay). 1916: Feher ejszakak (screenplay); Mesek az irogeprol (screenplay); To ketszivu ferfi; Azegymillio fontos banko (screenplay); Ciklámen; Vergodo szivek; To neveto Szaszkia; Nagymama (and screenplay); Boari Miska. 1917: Szent Péter esernyoje; To golyakalifa; Magic; Harrison is Barrison. 1918: Faun; AZ aranyember; Mary Ann. Ave Caesar! 1919: The white rose; Yamata; Is ki, will be; A 111-es.

As a director (with the name of Alexander Korda):

1920: His Majesty the Bandit. 1922: The Empress of the sea; Eine Versunkene Welt; The modern Delilah (and coguion). 1923: Das Unbekannte Morgen (producer and coguion). 1924: Jedermanns Frau (and screenplay); Mayerling (and producer). 1925: dancer Lady (and coguion). 1926: Lady does not want children. 1927: The Hussars of the Queen; A modern Dubarry; The private life of Helen of Troy. 1928: No shield or coat of arms; The vigia.1929: love and the devil; The squall; Your intimate life. 1930: Wild lilies; Women everywhere; The Princess falls. 1931: Die Männer um Lucie; Rive Gauche; Marius; Zum Goldenen Anker. 1932: Service for Ladies (and producer). 1933: Wedding Rehearsal (and producer); The private life of Enrique VIII (and producer); The girl from Maxim's / the Lady of chez Maxim's (and co-producer). 1934: The private life of Don Juan (and producer). 1936: Rembrandt (and producer). 1939: The Lion Has Wings (uncredited director and producer). 1940: The Conquest of the Air (co-director); The thief of Bagdad (uncredited director and producer). 1941: Lady Hamilton (and producer). 1945: dangerous separation (and producer). 1948: an ideal husband (and producer).

As producer:

1933: Cash; Counsel completo Opinion. 1934: The Rise of Catherine the Grat; The Pimpernel Scarlet; Catherine of Russia. 1935: Sanders of the River; The ghost goes West; Things Are Looking Up. 1936: Future life; Things to Come. 1937: The Man Who Could Work Miracles; Fire Over England; Claudius (unfinished); Sabu; The Countess Alexandra; The Squeaker; Storm in a Teacup; The woman enigma. 1938: Revolt in India; The divorce of Lady X; The Challenge; The return of the Scarlet Pimpernel (Executive producer); South Riding. 1939: The four feathers; The Spy in Black; (Not credited) mysterious waves. 1940: the conquest of the air; 21 Days. 1941: Lydia.1942: the jungle book; To Be or not to Be. 1948: Anna Karenina; The fallen Idol. 1949: The third man. 1950: Wild at heart. 1951: The tales of Hoffman. 1952: Outcast of the Islands; Cry; The Beloved Country; The sound barrier. 1953: Stands a man. 1954: The despot. 1955: The child and the Unicorn; Summer Follies; Storm over the Nile. 1956: Ricardo III.