Biography of Anatole Litvak (1902-1974)

Director, screenwriter and producer of American cinema of Russian origin, whose real name was Mikhail Anatol Litvak (in other sources appears as Mikhail Anatole Litwak), born in Kiev (Russia) on May 10, 1902 and died on December 15, 1974 in Neuilly-sur-Seine (France).


After brief studies of philosophy and drama at the University of St. Petersburg, began working in the film industry (specifically in Leningrad completo Nordkino Studios) in 1923; that same year directed his first film, Tatiana, carried out with children. It passed to Germany, where he collaborates as editor with the master Georg Wilhelm Pabst. With the arrival of the sound, and thanks to his mastery of French and English, heads for studies UFA Germans three loose productions in German, English and French version, because by then not has had even institutionalized the dubbing. Always restless, emigrated to France, where she gets a huge success with the film dreams of Prince (1936), superb adaptation of the novel by Claude Anet, with an excellent main couple, Charles Boyer and Danielle Darrieux charming, and a virtuous and fascinating staging, which has been said, has a strange touch of Hollywood. The beauty of the film, which is still enduring, lies largely in Litvak did not seek to clarify here the historical enigma of double suicide at Mayerling (original title), on January 30, 1889, the Archduke (Boyer) Rodolfo and María Vetsera (Darrieux), but rather reflect an atmosphere more romantic as possible. The Warner Bros., attentive as always to the talents that may arise beyond the seas, engages in 1937, Anatole Litvak, who adapts beautifully to policy studies and the diversity of the genre in question.

Signature there two romantic dramas of some substance, the Sisters (1938) and the sky and you (1940), and three good examples of the genre, The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938), Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) and the prison drama Castle on the Hudson (1940), before producing and directing city for conquest (1940), a splendid film, with James Cagney headlining a great deal (with the unique opportunity to see the then famous director Elia Kazanin a small role), on the world of boxing. Intelligent Litvak required for this beautiful and dark photography of two teachers, Sol Polito and James Wong Howe.

From 1940, both in the United States and other countries, Anatole Litvak has known many production systems and has dominated all with ease. With more or less amount of invested talent, has proven more or less successfully every genre: melodrama musical of a band of Jazz, Blues in the Night (1941); the history of gangsters, based on a play by Irwin Shaw, Out of the Fog (1941); a film of war, ambitious portrait of a traitor to the nazi Germany, Decision Before Dawn (1951), or another in which cleverly mixed war history (second world war) with criminal fiction, the night of the generals (1967), with a Peter O'Toole , disturbing and tormented, killer of prostitutes, and a few times as well used Omar Shariff; romantic tragicomedy, one of his classic films, although not one of the most achieved, do not tell me goodbye (1961), with a trio of luxury, Yves Montand and Ingrid Bergman, Anthony Perkins, with which Litvak shows here that he is a great director of actors; the historical biopic, with the Bergman winning his Oscar, recently arrived from their loving skirmishes with Rossellini, Anastasia (1956), and to documentary of war, participating in the famous Frank Capra series Why We Fight? (Why we fight? 1942-45).

But the peak of his career arrived, without a doubt, in the late 1940s, moment in which directs two Evergreen works in this film, voices of death (1948) and nest of vipers (1949). The first, starring a sublime Barbara Stanwyck, tells the story of a woman who, by calling the office of her husband, accidentally discovers how two men planning a murder, and finds out later that she is the victim. Based on a radio play by Lucille Fletcher, Litvak signs with voices of death one of the most famous suspense films of the history of the cinema and start of Barbara Stanwyck, the terrified though nothing passive wife, one of their best performances... and Burt Lancaster, very young, here is a husband with surprise. Nest of vipers, Litvak again ensure that the actress Olivia de Havilland is sublime and on the verge of winning the Oscar. Inspired by the novel by Mary Jane Waid, the film tells the story of a woman who goes mad shortly after marriage and is interned is a State hospital for treatment. His psychiatrist, to investigate his past, gets recovery initially, but will be affected by the true nest of vipers has around: the other inmates. Celeste Holm Papelazos and Beulah Bondi, apart the de Havilland, in this oppressive and harrowing film that was one of the first to intelligently address the problems mentally, as usual in the future of cinema.

Nationalized American during the war (he enlisted in the armed forces, where he finished finally reached ranking Colonel, to forget a sex scandal with his then lover Paulette Goddard that tormented him), very often and unfairly, the career of this eternal emigrant, although always enjoyed much prestige among colleagues as Billy Wilderhas been underestimated. Even so, never won the prized Oscar. Hard had won the only one that was nominated, for best director, for nest of snakes. That year competed Negulesco, Zinnemann, Olivier and that was winning Finally, John Huston, a great movie, the treasure of Sierra Madre. Meanwhile trip had at least time (between 1937 and 1939) of being married to a remarkable Lady, who was also as an actress, Miriam Hopkins.


Director (in Russia): 1923: Tatiana.1924: Serdtsi i Dollari.

Director (in Germany): 1930: Dolly Macht Karriere. 1931: Nie Wieder Liebe - French Version: fish of Earth (Co-Director and screenplay). 1932: Das Lied einer Nacht - French Version: now or never (and screenplay).

Director (in France): 1932: Coeur des Lilas (and screenplay). 1933: tragic attraction (and co-adaptation). 1935: the crew of the sky (and coguion) 1936: dreams of Prince. 1961: Do not tell me goodbye (and production, and actor). 1962: A chasm between the two (and production). 1967: the night of the generals. 1970: The Lady in the car with glasses and a gun (and co-production).

Director (in Britain): 1933: Sleeping Tenorio. 1955: The Deep Blue Sea (and co-production).

Director (in United States): 1937: The Woman I Love; Tovarich.1938: The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (and production); The sisters. 1939: Confessions of a Nazi Spy. 1940: The sky and you; City for conquest (and production); Castle on the Hudson. 1941: Out of the Fog; Blues in the Night. 1942: Be faithful to you mismo.1947: eternal night (and production). 1948: voices of death (and coproduction). 1949: nest of vipers (and coproduction). 1951: Decision Before Dawn (and coproduction). 1953: Act of Love (and production). 1956: Anastasia.1959: Red sunset (and production).

War documentaries: 1942: The Nazis Strike (Co-Director) 1943: Divide and Conquer (Co-Director); The Battle of Russia (and screenplay). 1944: The Battle of China (Co-Director). 1945: War Comes to America (Co-Director); The American People (and actor); Operation Titanic.

Assistant Director: 1927: Napoleon; Casanova.1929: Shéhérazade (and adapting). 1930: Der Weiße Teufel/The White Devil (and dialogues and musical sequences).

Producer: 1966: 10:30 P.M. Summer.

Actor: 1956: Behind the Screen. 1962: i Don Giovanni della Costa Azzurra.

Screenwriter: 1925: Samii Yunii Pioner (coguion).

Editor: 1925: under the mask of pleasure.

Artistic Director: 1932: La Chanson d'une nuit - French version of Das Lied Einer Nacht.

Productions for Television: 1957: Mayerling.