Biography of Vincente Minnelli (1910-1986)

Director and us screenwriter, born in Chicago (Illinois; United States), on February 28, 1913, and died in Los Angeles (California; United States), in 1986.


He was member of a family of itinerant comedians that roamed North America acting where the occasion presented itself. At age three he already took a stage and practically all his life unfolded in that environment. Throughout the 1930s he worked at the Radio City Music Hall designing sets and costumes, activity that would continue in different shows of Broadway as At home abroad and The show is on, among others. Man of refined taste and solid knowledge of art, its scenery much influenced the aesthetic advance of the staging of the theatre world of New York in those years. Therefore, it is not surprising that when Arthur Freed thought mount musicals for the Metro Goldwyn Mayer, take Minnelli as one of his main collaborators.

Minnelli, before working for MGM, had done for Paramount, but the relationship ended with a strong frustration for the director, as the points of view of the producer differed substantially from their own. On the other hand, in the MGM, with the support of Freed, Minnelli Yes might lead to effect all the ideas and innovations that had about musicals. Highlighted by his ability to integrate the orchestral numbers in the plot, in a coherent way and not as simple inlays in the argument. This is how he makes his debut with Cabin in the sky (1943), a musical starring black actors.

Her first important film is appointment in San Luis (1944); in it, the songs flow in a logical and natural, of the behaviors of the characters. The play starred Judy Garland, which was married and with whom he had his daughter Liza, who also would become someone important in the world of cinema.

In 1948 it performs one of the works in which more is glimpsed his personality and his way of understanding cinema: it's the pirate, a film that organizes as a parody of the films of swashbuckling, in a fast-paced and lively way. He has in it an actor and dancer to develop an important collaboration throughout, especially in the early years of his career, Gene Kelly. A man with a modern conception of dance, away from the fragility of white ballets, with a more "chunky and gymnastic" idea of the dance, but that serves to attach seamlessly to the rhythm of the mount in the film, and which also broken molds in the structures of the ballet. Its more or less indirect influence is in many choreographers today.

Minnelli took advantage of his films and his stage concepts to explore various aspects of the social behaviors and aesthetic movements, especially art. Thus, for example, in Yolanda and the thief (1945), makes forays into the world of the unconscious, whereas with an American in Paris (1951) it reflects all the pictorial atmosphere of modern art at the time of filming. Here he also returned to have Kelly as the protagonist.

With the passage of time, Minnelli will be changing, at least to some extent, its cinematographic style almost exclusively musical comedy and melodrama, which is odd if you consider that, in principle, the word melodrama meant "drama with music". It is in this area where the dark and sad the Director part out afloat in a most emphatic way.

His melodramas exploring disturbing and hidden facets of the human personality, not far from psychoanalytic theories which have traditionally been very from pleased to Hollywood. Captives of the evil (1952) inaugurates the new perspective of the Minnelli film. A theme later repeated, is the film within the film. A study of personalities and behaviors, presenting a bright, charming face and whose background, on many occasions, is evil, and where personal selfishness, at the expense of whatever, premium above all things.

One of the most striking titles of Vincente Minnelli is the crazy red hair (1956), a biopic about the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. Progressive insanity and obsessions of the artist, their relations with Gauguin and his world of colours bright, violent, obsessive, were picked up on the tape in a manner effective and at the same time decisive, who became spectators with skill. This time Kirk Douglas was responsible for giving life to the painter, establishing a collaboration that would continue more times between the director and the actor of Russian origin.

Another film of Minnelli who obtained great impact at the time, although time is Brigadoon (1954), a film about a disappeared people, periodically, if you stopped to feel their effects therein, again for a limited time. At the time it was qualified as a delicious story, but today is considered simply as an interesting, albeit with ups and downs. The protagonist was Cyd Charisse, actress and dancer of great beauty, possibly the woman who has better danced for the theater at all times.

With it came the scandal (1959) is a melodrama in the purest style, fruit set of narrative and cinematographic, values that gained a great commercial success. Robert Mitchum, his main protagonist, plays a hard and rich man who governs his family almost with despotism. The actor performed one of their best performances of the hand of the director, whom he liked always working with actors with a strong personality, with authentic myths.

He again returned to the theme of the film within the film in two weeks in another town (1962), in which it shows the filming of a movie in Rome by a famous director, played by Edward g. Robinson, who must be replaced by a player in decline, the paper returned to Kirk Douglas. Filmed with a sense of humor, not so kept repeating the world of jealousy, betrayal and malice surrounding the film. Minnelli could be nice and friendly, but not for that reason ceased to be an acute observer of a world that knew perfectly, and he was aware of their struggle.

With 1960s starts its decline, and only include castles in the sand (1965), as his latest work of relative importance. His last work was a girl (1976).

Thematic similarities can be found in the work of Minnelli. The most frequently designated is the persecution of an impossible dream. It is a constant that, regardless of the situation at the time, always appears: the forgotten Brigadoon village; the loving and artistic yearnings of an American in Paris; the world of elegant and refined prostitution in Gigi (1958), which earned him the first Oscar to Cecil Beaton for his artistic direction; the pictorial and personal obsession of the crazy red hair; etc. Almost all the protagonists of Minnelli try to achieve an ideal. Mostly they succeed, but always remains in the spectator, sketched, the feeling of that Minnelli does not really believe that in life that may occur.

With regard to its melodramas, a lot of them exploit undercurrents. They are in relatively small-town, middle-class families, which contributes to more obsessive the situation in which the plot unfolds. It is no coincidence that Minnelli felt attracted, as an example of the above, for a subject like Madame Bovary (1949): Flaubert served in tray the argument of adulterous love of a woman, drowned out by the environment in which he lives, preferences, desperate and even unconsciously, one exhaust valve.

Based on this theme, you can follow another line in the film of this director: the preoccupation with illusion and reality. In many of his films it becomes difficult to distinguish if things are real or fake. This is much more accentuated when the environment in which the action is located is the artists and their creations. The pirate, Judy Garland says: "I know that there is a real world and dream world, and that I should not confuse them". Back beside me (1970), the character of Barbra Streisand recalls a previous existence under the influence of hypnosis. Never we will reveal if their memories are real or the product of an unbridled imagination.

A third appearance in the Minnelli film is the sex. In his film seems to be something very clear the fact that the role of the man and the woman other than staff is social. This is expressed on occasions in a parodic manner, both the male and female point of view. Minnelli man is almost always forced to choose between two competing women: Virgin or prostitute; Intelligent or naive; rich or poor.

On his conception of cinema, Minnelli has left written in his memoirs that his main concern is good taste. Inspired by painters for the staging of many of his films, such as Thomas Eakins, realistic American, for appointment in San Luis, or in a multitude of French Impressionists.

There are critics who Filmography of Minnelli don't like, because they consider that its "chic" style hides a hysterical and distressed, temperament — a series of wishes and efforts that end up frustrated and that lead him to delirious camera movements and a true Baroque, which could hide fatuidad and up to emptiness.


1942: Cabin in the sky.1943: I dood it.1944: appointment in San Luis.1945: The clock; Yolanda and the thief.1946: Ziegfeld follies (21 episodes); Undercurrent.1948: The pirata.1949: Madame Bovary.1950: the father of the novia.1951: an American in Paris; The father is abuelo.1952: the mal.1953 captives: Broadway melodies, 1955; Mademoiselle (episode of three loves). 1954: The long, long trailer; Brigadoon.1955: The cobweb; Kismet.1956: The crazy red hair;Tea and simpatia.1957: my suspicious esposa.1958: Gigi; MOM complicated life; As a torrente.1960: with it came the scandal; The bells are ringin.1962: the four horsemen of the Apocalypse; Two weeks in another ciudad.1963: the courtship of the father of Eddie.1964: Goodbye, Charlie.1965: castles in the arena.1970: returns to my lado.1977: girl.

Other works

1941: Babes on Broadway (directed Judy Garland numbers). 1942: Panama Hattie (supervisor of musical numbers). 1947: Till the clouds roll by (he directed Judy Garland numbers). 1952: Lovely to look at (he directed the fashion show). 1957: The seventh without (completed filming).


BRION, p. and others. Vincent Minnelli. (Paris; Lausanne Hatier, 1985).

CAMPARI, R. Vincent Minnelli. (Florence; The Nuova Italy, 1976).

MINNELLI, Vincente. I remember very well. (Madrid; Libertarian, 1991). arcia