Jacques Tourneur

"Essentially a small-budget director, with a penchant for the macabre. Tourneur's best work was done with producer Val Lewton at RKO: Cat People (1942), I Walked with a Zombie and The Leopard Man (1943)... Whatever the subject-matter, Tourneur brought a sharp camera eye and a vivid atmospheric sense to his work." - The International Encyclopedia of Film, 1972

Jacques Tourneur

Director
(1904-1977) Born November 12, Paris, France
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: USA, UK
Key Genres: Western, Action, Thriller, Drama, Horror, Romance, Romantic Mystery, Film Noir, Crime, Swashbuckler, Adventure
Key Collaborators: Albert S. D'Agostino (Production Designer), Roy Webb (Composer), Joel McCrea (Leading Actor), Val Lewton (Producer), Mark Robson (Editor), Jack Okey (Production Designer), Walter E. Keller (Production Designer), James Bell (Character Actor), Dana Andrews (Leading Actor), Virginia Mayo (Leading Actress), Tom Conway (Leading Actor), Paul Lukas (Leading Actor)

"Tourneur used to say that he never turned down a script, and he thus tackled a wide variety of genres, from film noir's quintessential and beautifully composed Out of the Past (1947) to the stunning colour photography of the Western Canyon Passage (1946), to dramas, war films, and sword-and-scandal epics. In almost every case, he managed to put his mark on the production both aesthetically and thematically, often using architecture or machinery to convey the psychological state of his characters." - Frank Lafond (501 Movie Directors, 2007)
"Jacques Tourneur, son of the late Maurice Tourneur, brings a certain French gentility to the American cinema... Tourneur's first films for Val Lewton - Cat People and I Walked with a Zombie - possessed a subtler dramatic force than those of Wise and Robson. Out of the Past is still Tourneur's masterpiece, a civilized treatment of an annihilating melodrama... All in all, Tourneur's career represents a triumph of taste over force." - Andrew Sarris (The American Cinema, 1968)
"The best pictures which he directed were those of suspense and genuine terror, though he also did well with those that had a great deal of action. He wisely resisted scenes with long patches of dialogue. When confronted with such scenes, he typically frowned and said, "It sounds so corny." - DeWitt Bodeen (The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, 1998)
"Never a major director, Jacques Tourneur nonetheless possessed an unassertive and eloquent visual style that enabled him to transform decent scripts into superior films. Although much of his work was in the B-movie field, his subtle inventiveness and unerring taste frequently made for intelligent entertainment." - Geoff Andrew (The Film Handbook, 1989)
"Tourneur was rarely given the opportunity to stretch himself as a director. In addition, he generally worked less effectively in colour, as suggested by his many undistinguished efforts during the 50s. But he returned to black-and-white and horror for his last outstanding work, a chilling and powerful screen adaptation of M.R. James' Casting the Runes, retitled Night of the Demon (1957)." - Joel W. Finler (The Movie Directors Story, 1985)
"Perhaps the gentlest director of action films in Hollywood history. His early reputation was made with, eerie, subtle, intelligent, Val Lewton-produced horror thrillers (Cat People, 42; I Walked with a Zombie, 43). He brought out the little things which add up to humanity in his characters, good or bad, and knew how to employ expressive lighting and camera movement when necessary." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Out of the Past (1947) ✖︎, Night of the Demon (1957)
Recommended
Cat People (1942) , I Walked with a Zombie (1943) , The Flame and the Arrow (1950), Wichita (1955), Great Day in the Morning (1956), Nightfall (1957) ✖︎
Worth a Look
The Leopard Man (1943), Experiment Perilous (1944), Canyon Passage (1946), Berlin Express (1948), Stars in My Crown (1950), Way of a Gaucho (1952), Stranger on Horseback (1955)
Approach with Caution
Days of Glory (1944), Anne of the Indies (1951)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films ✖︎ 1,000 Noir Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Out of the Past
    comments powered by Disqus