Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 18 - George Stevens

Movie director and producer George Stevens was born on December 18, 1904, in Oakland, California, to parents who were stage actors. He started in the movie business in the 1920s and ‘30s as a cameraman with Hal Roach Studios for Laurel and Hardy films. His first major directing job was “Alice Adams” (1935), which helped revive the lagging career of Katharine Hepburn. He later directed Hepburn in “Woman of the Year” (1942), and Rogers and Astaire in “Swing Time” (1936) and Cary Grant in both “Gunga Din” (1939) and “Penny Serenade” (1941). In World War II he headed a U.S. Army Signal Corps film unit that documented D-Day in Normandy, the liberation of Paris and terrible scenes at the liberated Dachau concentration camp (that film was used at the Nuremberg Trials). Stevens’ major post-War movies – all Oscar winners – include “I Remember Mama” (1948), “A Place in the Sun” (1951), “Shane” (1953), “Giant” (1956) and “The Diary of Anne Frank” (1959). His movies have been described as “fully engaged with American society” and “a chronicled photoplay of the pursuit of The American Dream.”

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