Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fred Zinnemann, 1907-1997

Today marks the birth anniversary of director Fred Zinnemann, who won two Oscars for his directing. The first was for From Here to Eternity in 1953, with the second for A Man For All Seasons 13 years later. Zinnemann was apparently a producer on the latter film as well, as IMDb lists him as having won for Best Picture that year. And we haven't even gotten to the several times where Zinnemann was nominated but lost.

Zinnemann's Hollywood career started with him directing shorts at MGM in the late 1930s. I don't recall if I've specifically mentioned any of Zinnemann's shorts here, you might want to look for the Crime Does Not Pay short Forbidden Passage, about illegal immigration. This particular short has gotten a DVD release on one of the Warner Home Video noir box sets.

After toiling in shorts, Zinnemann got to direct B movies, which I suppose is a step up. Still, I've recommended Kid Glove Killer before, and Zinnemann and the cast all do a professional job, making a fun trip along the way which today is just as worthy for its historical value as it is for its entertainment value.

It wasn't until The Search in 1948 that Zinnemann really got credit for prestige films, along with his first Oscar nomination. Zinnemann remained active throughout the 1950s and then really slowed down after The Sundowners in 1960; after that he only directed five more films. Still, two of those -- the aforementioned A Man For All Seasons as well as Julia earned him Oscar nominations. Surprisingly, he didn't get a nomination for The Day of the Jackal, where I thought Zinnemann did an excellent job.

No comments: