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Mitchell Leisen


TSPDT Rating

Director / Production Designer
1898 - 1972 
Born October 6, Menominee, Michigan, USA
Key Production Country: USA 
Key Genres: Romance, Drama, Comedy, War Drama
Key Collaborators: Hans Dreier (Production Designer), Victor Young (Composer), Arthur Hornblow Jr. (Producer), Alma Macrorie (Editor), Ray Milland (Leading Player), Charles Brackett (Screenwriter/Producer), Charles Lang (Cinematographer), Doane Harrison (Editor), Robert Usher (Production Designer), Ernst Fegte (Production Designer)
Highly Recommended: To Each His Own (1946), No Man of Her Own (1950), The Mating Season (1951)
Recommended: Easy Living (1937), Midnight (1939), Remember the Night (1940), Hold Back the Dawn (1941), Lady in the Dark (1944)
Worth a Look: Death Takes a Holiday (1934), Hands Across the Table (1935), Swing High, Swing Low (1937), Arise, My Love (1940), I Wanted Wings (1941)
Worth a Look: Frenchman's Creek (1944), Golden Earrings (1947), Captain Carey, U.S.A. (1950), Young Man with Ideas (1952)
Links: [ IMDB ] [ TCMDB ] [ All-Movie Guide ] [ Senses of Cinema: Great Directors ] [ Derek Malcolm's Century of Films: Swing High, Swing Low ] [ Wikipedia ] [ Rouge Article (2008) ]
Books: [ Mitchell Leisen: Hollywood Director
DVD's: [ Amazon ] 
1,000 Greatest Films: Midnight (1939)
Ain't Nobody's Blues But My Own: Death Takes a Holiday (1934)
To Each His Own (1946)No Man of Her Own (1950)The Mating Season (1951)Midnight (1939)
  "The films Leisen directed for Paramount and other studios have been noted for their visual luster and entertaining pace. His consistency of style was particularly impressive in view of the thematic weakness of many of the films he was assigned to direct. Leisen was known as a "woman's director" for the many romantic films he made and for the strong performances he elicited from actresses." - (The MacMillan International Film Encyclopedia, 1994)  
  "He directed much that was beneath his intelligence, but always with style, taste, and decorative flair...Leisen seldom slipped below a self-imposed standard of visual elegance, nor rose above a stylish superficiality...That he is remembered by Cahiers du cinéma as little more than "a great couturier" and by other reference books more for the writers and performers he directed is a fate suffered by many artists of Hollywood's 1930s cinema, stronger on wit and taste than self-advertisement." - John Baxter (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 1991)  
  "His best work may have depended on good writers, but the gentle romanticism, the silvery visual elegance, and the relaxed performances in those films are proof of his own light touch. He was expert at combining comedy, melodrama, and a touch of social comment (many of his movies concern class and money), and, as a former costume designer and art director, alert to the importance of decor.." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)  
  "He paced his films leisurely, bringing out the most from dialogue, plot, and scenic detail, but never lensed one truly powerful or riotous classic." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)  

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