King Vidor

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King Vidor was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. Born in Galveston, Texas, in 1894, Vidor began his career in cinema in 1915, directing short films for the Triangle Film Corporation.

In 1917, Vidor directed his first feature film, “The Turn in the Road,” a romantic drama with Clara Kimball Young. The film was a success, and Vidor began directing more ambitious and experimental films.

In 1925, Vidor directed “The Big Parade,” an epic film about World War I. The film was an international success and established Vidor as one of Hollywood’s leading directors.

In the years that followed, Vidor directed a string of important films, including “Street Scene” (1931), “The Crowd” (1928), “War and Peace” (1956), and “Duel in the Sun” (1946).

Vidor is known for his innovative cinematic style and his social commitment. His films often explore themes such as social class, war, and the human condition.

Here are some of his most important films:

Vidor was an influential director who helped to shape American cinema. His films are still appreciated today for their emotional intensity, social vision, and technical mastery.

Vidor was nominated for five Academy Awards for Best Director, but he never won. He received an Honorary Academy Award in 1979.

Biography

King-Vidor

Childhood and youth

King Vidor was born in Galveston, Texas, to a family of Jewish descent. His father, William Vidor, was a mining engineer, while his mother, Florence Vidor, was a pianist. Vidor had a happy childhood and spent a lot of time with his family in nature.

Early beginnings in cinema

In 1913, Vidor began his career in cinema as a cameraman and director of short films. In 1917, he directed his first feature film, “The Turn in the Road,” a romantic drama with Clara Kimball Young. The film was a success and Vidor began directing more ambitious and experimental films.

Success

In 1925, Vidor directed “The Big Parade,” an epic film about World War I. The film was an international success and established Vidor as one of Hollywood’s leading directors.

In the years that followed, Vidor directed a string of important films, including “Street Scene” (1931), “The Crowd” (1928), “War and Peace” (1956), and “Duel in the Sun” (1946).

Style and themes

Vidor is known for his innovative cinematic style and his social commitment. His films often explore themes such as social class, war, and the human condition.

Accolades

Vidor was nominated for five Academy Awards for Best Director, but he never won. He received an Honorary Academy Award in 1979.

Death

King Vidor died in Paso Robles, California, at the age of 88. He is considered one of the most important directors in the history of American cinema.

Additional information

In addition to his work as a director, Vidor was also a screenwriter and producer. He was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and served as its president from 1936 to 1938. He was also a member of the Directors Guild of America, serving as its president from 1941 to 1943.

Vidor was a versatile filmmaker who worked in a variety of genres, including drama, comedy, and westerns. He was also a pioneer in the use of sound and color in cinema. His films are still admired today for their artistry, social commentary, and technical innovation.

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King Vidor’s Films

The Big Parade (1925)

The Big Parade (1925) is an American silent war film directed by King Vidor and starring John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Hobart Bosworth, Tom O’Brien, and Karl Dane. The film tells the story of a group of American soldiers who experience the horrors of World War I.

The Big Parade was released in the United States on November 19, 1925. The film was an enormous success, grossing $4.99 million in its initial release. It was also critically acclaimed, and it was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

The Big Parade was a groundbreaking film that challenged the traditional portrayal of war in cinema. It was one of the first films to show the war from the perspective of ordinary soldiers, and it did not shy away from depicting the brutality of combat. The film also featured some of the most realistic battle scenes ever seen in a silent film.

The Big Parade was a major influence on subsequent war films, including All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), and it is still considered a classic of the genre. The film’s impact on American cinema was also significant. It helped to establish King Vidor as one of Hollywood’s leading directors, and it helped to pave the way for the development of sound cinema.

The Big Parade is a powerful and moving film that explores the human cost of war. The film is set in the early days of World War I, and it follows the experiences of a group of American soldiers as they go from being naive young men to hardened veterans.

The film’s realism is one of its most striking features. Vidor used a variety of techniques to create a sense of immediacy and authenticity, including handheld camerawork, close-ups, and long takes. The film’s battle scenes are particularly memorable, and they are among the most realistic ever seen in a silent film.

The Big Parade is also a moving and compassionate film. Vidor does not glorify war, and he does not shy away from depicting its horrors. The film is full of heartbreaking moments, but it also contains moments of humor and hope.

The Crowd (1928)

The Crowd (1928) is an American silent drama film directed by King Vidor and starring James Murray, Eleanor Boardman, and Bert Roach. It was Vidor’s first sound film, but it was released as a silent picture due to the transition to sound in Hollywood at the time.

The film is a realistic and often bleak portrait of the life of an ordinary man in New York City. It follows John Sims from his youth to his death, and shows his struggles to find love, success, and happiness in a world that often seems indifferent to his individual needs.

Vidor uses a variety of techniques to create a sense of realism, including handheld camerawork, close-ups, and dissolves. He also uses symbolism to explore the themes of isolation and alienation, and the film includes several memorable sequences, such as the “Marriage March” and the “Funeral March”.

The Crowd was a critical and commercial success, and it was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. It is now considered a classic of American cinema, and it is often cited as one of the most influential silent films ever made.

The Crowd is an extraordinary film that explores the life of an ordinary man in a modern and impersonal world. The film is a realistic and often shocking portrait of the life of John Sims, as he struggles to find his place in the world.

Vidor uses a variety of techniques to create a sense of realism, including handheld camerawork, close-ups and dissolves. The film is full of memorable moments, such as the “Wedding March” sequence, which is a celebration of love and hope, and the “Funeral March” sequence, which is an expression of grief and loss.

Show People (1929)

Show People (1929) is a Technicolor comedy film directed by King Vidor and starring Marion Davies, William Haines, and James Murray. It is a fictionalized account of Davies’s rise to stardom in the early days of Hollywood.

Show People was released in the United States on February 5, 1929. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $2.3 million in its initial release. It was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Marion Davies.

Show People is considered a classic of the silent era and is often cited as one of the best comedies ever made. It is a visually stunning and entertaining film that captures the glamour and excitement of Hollywood in the 1920s.

Show People is a visually stunning film that is full of memorable characters and situations. Vidor uses a variety of techniques to create a sense of excitement and realism, including rapid-fire editing, close-ups, and handheld camerawork. The film’s cinematography is also outstanding, with stunning black-and-white shots of Hollywood studios and locations.

The film’s narrative is full of twists and turns, and it keeps the audience guessing until the very end. The characters are complex and well-developed, and their relationships are full of conflict and humor.

Show People is a film that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. It is a film that celebrates the power of dreams and the challenges of success.

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Hallelujah! (1929)

Hallelujah! (1929) is a Technicolor musical film directed by King Vidor and starring Daniel L. Haynes, Nina Mae McKinney, and William Fountaine. It is the first all-talking and all-singing Technicolor feature film, and it was also the first American film to feature an all-black cast.

Hallelujah! was released in the United States on August 20, 1929. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $1.8 million in its initial release. It was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Hallelujah! is considered a landmark film that broke down barriers and paved the way for future African-American filmmakers. It is also a visually stunning and entertaining film that has been praised for its groundbreaking use of color and music.

Hallelujah! is a visually stunning film that is full of memorable musical numbers. Vidor uses a variety of techniques to create a sense of realism and emotion, including close-ups, handheld camerawork, and long takes. The film’s cinematography is also outstanding, with stunning black-and-white shots of the Southern countryside.

The film’s narrative is full of twists and turns, and it keeps the audience guessing until the very end. The characters are complex and well-developed, and their relationships are full of conflict and passion.

Hallelujah! is a film that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. It is a film that celebrates the human spirit and explores the challenges of love and loss.

Billy the Kid (1930)

Billy the Kid (1930) is a pre-Code Western film directed by King Vidor and based on the life of the American outlaw Billy the Kid. It stars Johnny Mack Brown, Wallace Beery, and Kay Johnson.

Billy the Kid was released in the United States on October 18, 1930. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $3.4 million in its initial release. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

Billy the Kid is considered a classic of the Western genre and is often cited as one of the best Western films ever made. It is a visually stunning and exciting film that tells a thrilling story of adventure and outlawry.

Billy the Kid is a visually stunning film that is full of memorable action sequences. Vidor uses a variety of techniques to create a sense of excitement and realism, including panoramic shots, long takes, and close-ups. The film’s cinematography is also outstanding, with stunning black-and-white shots of the New Mexico landscape.

The film’s narrative is full of twists and turns, and it keeps the audience guessing until the very end. The characters are well-developed and complex, and their relationships are full of conflict and passion.

Billy the Kid is a film that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. It is a film that celebrates the spirit of adventure and explores the challenges of living outside the law.

Street Scene (1931)

Street Scene (1931) is an American pre-Code drama film produced by Samuel Goldwyn and directed by King Vidor. With a screenplay by Elmer Rice adapted from his Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, Street Scene takes place on a street in New York City from one evening until the following afternoon.

Street Scene was released in the United States on September 5, 1931. The film was a commercial success, grossing $1.5 million in its initial release. It was also critically acclaimed, and it was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Street Scene was an important and influential film that had a significant impact on cinema and American culture. It was one of the first films to realistically explore the everyday lives of ordinary people in a big city. The film also helped to establish King Vidor as one of Hollywood’s leading directors.

Street Scene is a powerful and moving film that explores the theme of human diversity. The film is set in a multi-ethnic neighborhood in New York City, and it follows the lives of a group of people who are different from each other in terms of background, religion, and culture.

The film is a vivid and realistic portrait of everyday life in a big city. Vidor uses a variety of techniques to create a sense of authenticity, including handheld camerawork, close-ups, and long takes. The film is full of everyday moments, but it also contains moments of tragedy and hope.

The Champ (1931)

The Champ (1931) is a American pre-Code drama film directed by King Vidor and written by Frances Marion and Wanda Tuchock. It stars Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, and Helen MacKellar. The film tells the story of a washed-up boxer named Battlin’ Jack Kearns and his young son, Dink.

The Champ was released in the United States on November 21, 1931. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $2 million in its initial release. It was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Wallace Beery, who won the award.

The Champ is considered a classic of American cinema and is often cited as one of the greatest films of the Pre-Code era. It is a powerful and moving film that explores themes of love, loss, and redemption.

The Champ is a visually stunning film that is full of memorable performances. Vidor uses a variety of techniques to create a sense of realism and emotion, including close-ups, handheld camerawork, and long takes. The film’s cinematography is also outstanding, with stunning black-and-white shots.

The film’s narrative is full of twists and turns, and it keeps the audience guessing until the very end. The characters are complex and well-developed, and their relationships are full of conflict and passion.

Our Daily Bread (1934)

Our Daily Bread (1934) is an American dramatic film directed, written, and produced by King Vidor. It tells the story of a young, unemployed couple who founds a farming cooperative during the Great Depression. The film stars Karen Morley and Tom Keene.

The film was a critical and commercial success, and it was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Picture and Best Director. It is considered one of the most important films of the pre-Code era and a classic of American cinema.

The film explores the themes of solidarity, community, and hope during a time of great economic hardship. It is a film that is still relevant today, in a time when the world is still facing the COVID-19 crisis.

The film was shot in California and Nevada. The cinematography was by Gregg Toland, who used a variety of techniques to create a sense of realism and hope.

The film was met with widespread critical acclaim, with critics praising its story, direction, and cinematography. The New York Times wrote that the film is “a powerful and moving story that is still relevant today.”

The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Picture and Best Director. It won the National Board of Review award for Best Picture.

The Citadel (1938)

The Citadel (1938) is a British drama film directed by King Vidor and produced by Victor Saville for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British at Denham Studios. It is based on A. J. Cronin’s 1937 novel of the same name. It stars Robert Donat, Rosalind Russell, and Ralph Richardson.

The Citadel was released in the United Kingdom on December 22, 1938, and in the United States on March 3, 1939. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $1.5 million in its initial release. It was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Robert Donat.

The Citadel is considered a classic of British cinema and is often cited as one of the greatest films of the 1930s. It is a powerful and moving film that explores themes of social class, ambition, and the pursuit of the American Dream.

The Citadel is a visually stunning film that is full of memorable performances. Vidor uses a variety of techniques to create a sense of realism and humanity, including handheld camerawork, close-ups, and long takes. The film’s cinematography is also outstanding, with stunning shots of the Scottish countryside.

The film’s narrative is full of twists and turns, and it keeps the audience guessing until the very end. The characters are complex and well-developed, and their relationships are full of conflict and passion.

Northwest Passage (1940)

Northwest Passage (1940) is a Technicolor historical film directed by King Vidor and produced by David O. Selznick, based on the 1937 novel of the same name by Kenneth Roberts. It stars Spencer Tracy, Robert Young, Walter Brennan, Ruth Hussey, Nat Pendleton, Louis Hector, and Isabel Jewell. The film is set in 1759, and tells a partly fictionalized version of the real-life expedition of Major Robert Rogers and his Rangers to find a Northwest passage through North America.

Northwest Passage was released in the United States on February 20, 1940. The film was a commercial success, grossing over $3.15 million in its initial release. It was well-received by critics, who praised its epic scope and its performances. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Northwest Passage is a landmark film that is still studied and admired today. It is considered one of the most influential films of its time, and it helped to establish the Technicolor historical epic as a popular genre. The film is also known for its depiction of American masculinity and its celebration of the American frontier spirit.

Northwest Passage is a visually stunning and exciting film that tells a thrilling story of adventure and survival. Director King Vidor uses a variety of techniques to create a sense of epic grandeur, including wide-angle shots, long takes, and sweeping camera movements. The film’s score is also outstanding, composed by Alfred Newman.

The film’s narrative is full of twists and turns, and it keeps the audience guessing until the very end. The characters are well-developed and complex, and their relationships are full of conflict and camaraderie.

Duel in the Sun (1946)

Duel in the Sun (1946) is an American Technicolor Western film directed by King Vidor and produced by David O. Selznick. It stars Jennifer Jones, Gregory Peck, and Joseph Cotten. The film is based on the 1943 novel of the same name by Niven Busch. Duel in the Sun is considered one of the most visually stunning and controversial films ever made.

Duel in the Sun was released in the United States on August 15, 1946. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $10 million in its initial release. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress for Jennifer Jones. It won two awards, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction.

Duel in the Sun is a landmark film that is still studied and admired today. It is considered one of the most influential films of its time, and it helped to establish the Technicolor Western as a popular genre. The film is also known for its controversial themes of miscegenation and violence.

Duel in the Sun is a visually stunning film that is full of memorable moments. Director King Vidor uses a variety of techniques to create a sense of epic grandeur, including wide-angle shots, long takes, and sweeping camera movements. The film’s cinematography is also outstanding, with stunning shots of the Texas landscape.

The film’s narrative is full of twists and turns, and it keeps the audience guessing until the very end. The characters are complex and well-developed, and their relationships are full of conflict and passion.

War and Peace (1956)

War and Peace (1956) is an epic historical film adaptation of the 1869 novel of the same name by Leo Tolstoy. Directed by King Vidor and produced by Dino De Laurentiis and Carlo Ponti, the film stars Audrey Hepburn, Henri Fonda, Mel Ferrer, and Vittorio Gassman. It was filmed in Russia and Italy and released in the United States on December 29, 1956.

The film follows the lives of five aristocratic families in Russia during the Napoleonic Wars. It is a sweeping and ambitious adaptation of Tolstoy’s novel and was one of the most expensive films ever made at the time.

The film was generally well-received by critics, who praised its historical accuracy, its lavish production values, and its performances. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It won two awards, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction.

War and Peace is an epic and imposing film that captures the spirit of Tolstoy’s novel. The film is rich in characters and stories, and Vidor does a great job of balancing the demands of history and the demands of cinema.

The performances are excellent, with Audrey Hepburn shining in the role of Natasha Rostova. Fonda and Ferrer are also excellent as Pierre Bezukhov and Andrei Bolkonskij.

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