Anatole Litvak

The Life and Films

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About the Book

During his 40-year career, director-producer Anatole Litvak (1902–1974) made films of all genres in Russia, Germany, England, France and the United States. His rootless background was cited by critics lamenting his lack of consistent style, but it also added to his mystique as a chameleon-like réalisateur.
Litvak directed Hollywood greats like Edward G. Robinson, John Garfield, Kirk Douglas, Ingrid Bergman, Vivien Leigh, Sophia Loren, Anthony Perkins, Olivia de Havilland, Yul Brynner, Burt Lancaster, Barbara Stanwick and many others. He was twice nominated for Best Director by the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences for The Snake Pit (1948) and for Decision Before Dawn (1951). These films—along with Mayerling (1936), Sorry, Wrong Number (1946) and Anastasia (1956)—are considered classics, but his pictures don’t offer many clues about Litvak the man. Apart from passing references to his wartime service as combat documentarian, he never discussed his life in print, allowing only brief interviews relating exclusively to his work.
This biography fills that void, providing the first detailed portrait of an artist described by film historian Richard Schickel as “an adept, adaptable and prolific man; the kind of director that Hollywood likes best.”

About the Author(s)

Michelangelo Capua is the author of several McFarland biographies of Hollywood film stars. He lives in London.

Bibliographic Details

Michelangelo Capua
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 220
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, filmography, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9413-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1870-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Preface 1

1. From Russia with Love 3

2. Vive la France! 9

3. Hollywood Romance 23

4. Early Warner Years 34

5. Ann, Bette and Paulette 45

6. Late Warner Years 54

7. First-Class Cinema 64

8. Mixed Reviews 78

9. Far from Hollywood 93

10. Fading Away 106

Filmography 119

As Director 119 • Television Films 178 • Documentaries 180 •

Other Works as Screenwriter 185 • Other Works as Producer

185 • Other Works as Director 186 • Projects with Litvak’s Name

Attached 186 • As Assistant Director 187 • As Co-Author 192

Radio Programs and Personal Appearances 194

Chapter Notes 197

Selected Bibliography 202

Index 205