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Robert Siodmak
Director / Producer
1900 - 1973
Born August 8, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Key Production Countries: USA, Germany 
Key Genres: Film Noir, Crime Drama, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Crime, Drama, Mystery, Crime Thriller
Key Collaborators: John Goodman (Production Designer), Arthur Hilton (Editor), H.J. Salter (Composer), Samuel S. Hinds (Character Player), Burt Lancaster (Leading Player), Ella Raines (Leading Player), Elwood Bredell (Cinematographer), Martin Obzina (Production Designer), Joan Harrison (Producer), Dean Harens (Leading Character Player)

Highly Recommended: Phantom Lady (1944)#, The Spiral Staircase (1946), The Killers (1946)*#, Criss Cross (1949)#
Recommended: People on Sunday (1929)* [co-directed by Edgar G. Ulmer], The Suspect (1944)#, The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945)#, The Dark Mirror (1946)#, Cry of the City (1948)#, The File on Thelma Jordon (1949)#, The Crimson Pirate (1952)
Worth a Look: Son of Dracula (1943), Christmas Holiday (1944)#, The Devil Strikes at Night (1959)
Approach with Caution: Preliminary Investigation (1931), The Burning Secret (1933), Cobra Woman (1944)
# Listed in TSPDT's 250 Quintessential Noir Films section.

 
 
 
Links: [ Amazon ] [ IMDB ] [ TCMDB ] [ All-Movie Guide[ Senses of Cinema: Great Directors ] [ Film Reference ] [ Classic Film and Television Home Page ] [ Wikipedia ] [ Village Voice Article ] [ Moving Image Source Article (2010) ] [ New York Times Article (2012) ]
Books: [ The File on Robert Siodmak in Hollywood: 1941-1951 ] [ Robert Siodmak: A Biography with Critical Analyses of His Film Noirs and a Filmography of All His Works ]
 
The Killers (1946)Criss Cross (1949)Phantom Lady (1944)The Spiral Staircase (1946)
 
     
  "Siodmak's most successful projects - Phantom Lady, Christmas Holiday, The Suspect, Uncle Harry, The Spiral Staircase, The Killers - represent a fortuitous conjunction of such attractive actresses as Ella Raines, Dorothy McGuire, Ava Gardner, and even an absurdly lurid Deanna Durbin, with perverse subjects and expert technicians all whipped together with a heavy Teutonic sauce and served to the customers as offbeat art." - Andrew Sarris (The American Cinema, 1968)  
     
  "Being Jewish, Siodmak had to flee the Nazis, arriving in Hollywood in 1940. Film noir gave him the opportunity to use his pictorial sense and his narrative skills, and he directed a string of atmospheric thrillers, including Phantom Lady (1944), The Killers and The Dark Mirror (both 1946), Cry of the City (1948) and Criss Cross (1949)." - (The Movie Book, 1999)  
     
  "An innovative and cinematic director, he explored the criminal or psychotic impulses in his characters through the ambience of his elegant mise-en-scène. The control of all cinematic tools at his command - camera angle, lighting, composition, movement, and design - was used to establish effectively a world of fate, passion, obsession, and compulsion. Although his reputation has been elevated in recent years, his name deserves to be better known." - Jeanine Basinger (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 1991)  
     
  "During the 1940s, Siodmak developed into a formidable director of suspense and crime films. He was influenced by the German schools of expressionism and realism prevalent in the 20s. Both rubbed off into a blend which distinguishes his Hollywood period." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)  
     
 
Please note that the rating given for this director (see top-right) is based only on the films we have seen (listed above). Films by this director that we haven't seen include Personal Column (1939), Fly by Night (1942), Time Out of Mind (1947), The Great Sinner (1949), Deported (1950), The Whistle at Eaton Falls (1951), Flesh and the Woman (1953), The Rough and the Smooth (1959), Katia (1959), My School Friend (1960), Escape from East Berlin (1962), The Last Roman (1968), and Custer of the West (1968).
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"The reputation of Robert Siodmak rests on a number of thrillers made during a few brief years in the '40s. Although his work in Europe both before and after that period is now rarely seen, he remains an important, if underrated, figure in the development and exploration of the style now known as film noir... Siodmak's murky, morbidly fatalistic and expertly crafted thrillers focussed on a gallery of vividly drawn characters involved in deathly struggles... Time and again, the pitfalls of melodrama are avoided by finely judged performances and the director's astute, economic characterisation through visual means. In the '50s Siodmak's career went into decline... But his late '40s crime films have rarely been bettered, and his work is ripe for reappraisal." - Geoff Andrew, The Film Handbook

 
 
Top 250 Directors
Expressive Esoterica
501 Movie Directors: A Comprehensive Guide to the Greatest Filmmakers
 
See Also
Jules Dassin
Richard Fleischer
Alfred Hitchcock
H. Bruce Humberstone
Fritz Lang
Joseph H. Lewis
Anatole Litvak
Joseph Losey
Roy William Neill
Don Siegel
Douglas Sirk
Jacques Tourneur
 
 
 
         
         

 

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