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Anatol Litvak

Anatol Litvak was a Russian-born American film director, producer and screenwrier.

Background

  • Litvak, Anatol was born on May 5, 1902 in Kiev.

  • Education

    • A philosophy student at St. Petersburg, he made Tatiana in Russia and then went to Germany, where he was called Lutwak and worked on the editing of Die Freucllose Gasse (25, G. W. Pabst), was an assistant director and then director.

    Career

    • At either end of Litvak s career there is a nomadic Hurry, but in the center, from 1937-51, he looks like a Hollywood pro and a patriot. Sleeping Car was made in England for Gaumont British with Ivor Novello and Madeleine Carroll, after which he made three films in France before going to Hollywood to remake The Woman I Love with Miriam Hopkins, his wife from 1937-39.

      In America, he adopted a curious mixture of anti-Nazi, thriller, and women’s pic material. During the war he was active in the Why We Fight series and worked on many propaganda films. But, with peace, he subsided into Broadway melodramas that grew more clotted with the years. The Long Night was an attempted remake of Le Jour se Léve; Sorry, Wrong Number is a classic sheet- chewer, with Barbara Stanwyck cracking into fragments; while The Snake Pit is a dull central love story alongside some startlingly good footage of life in an asylum—there, in one film, the documentarist and the tearjerker rattled against one another.

      The documentarist was abandoned and his films became increasingly turgid. The Deep Blue Sea, Anastasia, The Journey, and Goodbye Again are toppling on the edge of parody, but Litvak solemnly put his actresses through the motions of ordeal. The growing staidness in Ingrid Bergman owes a lot to Litx ak’s direction.

    Personality

    The plodding films give no hint of Litvak the man—he was a great womanizer, a Hollywood socialite, and a dashing figure.

    Anatol Litvak
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    Died December 15, 1974
    (aged 72)
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