Biography of Mitchell Leisen (1898-1972)

American filmmaker born in Menominee, Michigan on October 6, 1898 and died on October 28, 1972 in Los Angeles (California).


Sickly child that a faulty foot operation left limping since the age of five, is however sent by his mother to the military school so that it engages the recruit of soldiers and decides to instead invest their time in the study of architecture and advertising art. Soon he begins to receive important orders for interior decoration, but in 1919 makes the leap to Hollywood and is integrated into the usual team of costume design of the Director Cecil B. de Mille, one of the top stars of the production company Paramount. In this enterprise Leisen develops precisely the bulk of his career, first as a costume designer (whose professional Summit accomplished with the daring and sensual models of Cleopatra), more later as artistic director (highlighting their work on the monumental epics, King of Kings and the sign of the cross), and then as effective director between 1933 and 1951.

Its speed and security make it soon in one of the most outstanding filmmakers on the payroll of the Paramount, demonstrating with amplitude these valuable capabilities in titles as Queen love, the death of vacation or memories of one night, rolling in fewer days than those provided by the producer. At the time, makes clear his versatility along with solvency genres as disparate as melodrama and comedy, although in the latter where it deploys all his creative genius in films of cutting the death of vacation, a lucky girl or sensational midnight, one of his greatest hits and which describes the rise of a Cinderella to the big world.

Yet, and unlike other illustrious colleagues at the time, Leisen style is not characterized by uniformity and strict adherence to the rules of the genre, but it jumps in a same tragic drama to the sophisticated comedy film (with special mention to Arise my love, which kicks off with the threat of the firing squad during the Spanish Civil War of a member of the international brigades). Cynical, sharp, romantic, sensitive and pessimistic, unique effort was that films entretuviesen, leaving aside possible political or protest, messages and this made him reap especially during the hot 1930s praise. From the mid-1950s, however, his star declined suddenly to grew the scandals caused by its manifest bisexuality, falling in a unfair oblivion did not deserve the creator of works like a lucky girl, midnight, if not amaneciera or stripes of the hand.


Costume designer. 1919: The admirable Chrichton / male and female. 1921: Fruit forbidden. 1922: Robin hood. 1923: Rosita; The courtship of Miles Standish. 1924: The thief of Bagdad; Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall.

Artistic Director. 1920: Spent the youth; Craziness, recklessness and abandonment. 1925: The imprint of the past. 1926: The Volga boatman. 1927: Your dog; Triumphant Eagles; The angel of Broadway, the conquest of the husband; The Cadet; The femme fatale; King of Kings. 1928: Chicago; Power; Celebrity; BA-ta-clan; My husband is a liar. 1929: The incredulous; Dynamite; Madame Satan. 1931: The fugitive. 1932: The sign of the cross. 1933: Queen love; The Eagle and the Hawk.

Director: 1933: Cradle Song; The death of holiday. 1934: The crime of the Vanities; I introduce you to my wife. 1935: Bar waiting; Millonaria.1936 candidate: Thirteen hours by air; The big broadcast of 1937; Swing high, swing low. 1937: A girl lucky; The big broadcast of 1938; Comedians in Paris. 1939: Midnight; Memory of a night. 1940: Arise my love; Flight of Eagles. 1941: If amaneciera not; Whim of woman. 1942: She and his Secretary; There is no time for love. 1943: A woman in the shadows; The pirate and the Lady. 1944: White wedding; The scoundrel. 1945: Masquerade in Mexico; Intimate life of Julia Norris. 1946: Suddenly, it's spring; In the lines of the hand. 1947: Dream girl. 1948: Song of surrender; The mask of the Borgia family. 1949: Captain Carey, U.S.A.; Lie latent. 1950: Married and with two mothers-in-law; Love, why are you did?. 1951: Young man with ideas. 1952: Tonight we sing. 1954: Bedevilled.1957: choosing boyfriend. 1967: Spree!


CHIERICHETTI, David. Mitchell Leisen. Hollywood Director. 45 international film festival of San Sebastián / Spanish film library. Navarra, 1997.

L Fernández Colorado