Frank Borzage

Frank Borzage (/bɔːrˈzeɪɡi/;[1] April 23, 1894[2] – June 19, 1962) was an American film director and actor, most remembered for directing 7th Heaven (1927),[3] Street Angel (1928), Man's Castle (1933),[4] and The Mortal Storm (1940).

Frank Borzage
Frank Borzage 001
Photoplay Magazine, 1920
BornApril 23, 1894
DiedJune 19, 1962 (aged 68)
OccupationFilm director, actor
Spouse(s)Rena Rogers (married 1916, divorced 1941)
Edna Stillwell Skelton (married 1945, divorced 1949)

Biography

Frank Borzage's father, Luigi Borzaga, was born in Ronzone (then Austrian Empire, now Italy) in 1859. As a stonemason, he sometimes worked in Switzerland; he met his future wife, Maria Ruegg (1860, Ricken, Switzerland – 1947, Los Angeles), where she worked in a silk factory. Borzaga emigrated to Hazleton, Pennsylvania in the early 1880s where he worked as a coal miner. He brought his fiancée to the United States and they married in Hazleton in 1883.

Their first child, Henry, was born in 1885. The Borzaga family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where Frank Borzage was born in 1894, and the family remained there until 1919. The couple had fourteen children, eight of whom survived childhood: Henry (1885–1971), Mary Emma (1886–1906), Bill (1892–1973), Frank, Daniel (1896–1975, a performer and member of the John Ford Stock Company), Lew (1898–1974), Dolly (1901–2002) and Sue (1905–1998). Luigi Borzaga died in Los Angeles in a car accident in 1934; his wife Maria (Frank's mother) died of cancer in 1947.

In 1912, Frank Borzage found employment as an actor in Hollywood; he continued to work as an actor until 1917. His directorial debut came in 1915 with the film, The Pitch o' Chance.

On June 7, 1916, Borzage married vaudeville and film actress Lorena "Rena" Rogers in Los Angeles and remained married until 1941. In 1945, he married Edna Stillwell Skelton, the ex-wife of comedian Red Skelton; they were divorced in 1949.[5][6] Borzage died of cancer in 1962, aged 68, and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

For his contributions to the film industry, Borzage received a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. The star is located at 6300 Hollywood Boulevard.[7]

Career

Borzage was a successful director throughout the 1920s but reached his peak in the late silent and early sound era. Absorbing visual influences from the German director F.W. Murnau, who was also resident at Fox at this time, he developed his own style of lushly visual romanticism in a hugely successful series of films starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, including 7th Heaven (1927), for which he won the first Academy Award for Best Director,[8] Street Angel (1928) and Lucky Star (1929). He won a second Oscar for 1931's Bad Girl.

He directed 14 films between 1917 and 1919 alone, his greatest success in the silent era was with Humoresque, a box office winner starring Vera Gordon.[9][10]

Borzage's trademark was intense identification with the feelings of young lovers in the face of adversity, with love in his films triumphing over such trials as World War I (7th Heaven and A Farewell to Arms), disability (Lucky Star), the Depression (Man's Castle), a thinly disguised version of the Titanic disaster in History Is Made at Night, and the rise of Nazism, a theme which Borzage had virtually to himself among Hollywood filmmakers from Little Man, What Now? (1933) to Three Comrades (1938) and The Mortal Storm (1940).

His work took a turn to religiosity in such films as Green Light (1937), Strange Cargo (1940) and The Big Fisherman (1959). Of his later work only the film noir Moonrise (1948) has enjoyed much critical acclaim.

After 1948, his output was sporadic. He was the original director of Journey Beneath the Desert (1961), but was too sick to continue, and Edgar G. Ulmer took over.[11] Borzage was uncredited for the sequences he did direct.

In 1955 and 1957, Borzage was awarded The George Eastman Award, given by George Eastman House for distinguished contribution to the art of film.[12]

Filmography

References

  1. ^ Borzage told The Literary Digest his name was pronounced "in three syllables, and g in get, bor-zay'gee." (Charles Earle Funk, What's the Name, Please?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1936.)
  2. ^ To gain a professional advantage, Borzage subtracted a year from his date of birth while still a teenager; many sources, including IMDb, thus give 1893 as his birthdate; Dumont, p. 32.
  3. ^ "7th Heaven: The Films of Frank Borzage | UCLA Film & Television Archive". www.cinema.ucla.edu. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  4. ^ "Bottoms Up (1934); Man's Castle (1933) | UCLA Film & Television Archive". www.cinema.ucla.edu. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  5. ^ "Skelton's Ex-Wife Married to Director". The Pittsburgh Press. 26 November 1945. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  6. ^ "Home of Skelton's Ex-Wife is Robbed of $10,000 Loot". St. Joseph News-Press. 4 February 1950. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  7. ^ "Hollywood Walk of Fame - Frank Borzage". walkoffame.com. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  8. ^ Donald W. McCaffrey (1 January 1999). "FILMS AND FILMMAKERS". In Christopher P. Jacobs (ed.). Guide to the Silent Years of American Cinema. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 45–46. ISBN 9780313303456. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Vera Gordon | Jewish Women's Archive". jwa.org. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  10. ^ "Frank Borzage - Hollywood Star Walk - Los Angeles Times". projects.latimes.com. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  11. ^ Herzogenrath, Bernd (2009). The Films of Edgar G. Ulmer. Scarecrow Press. p. 282. ISBN 0810867001.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2012-04-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

Further reading

  • Dumont, Hervé. Frank Borzage: the Life and Times of a Hollywood Romantic. McFarland, 2006.
  • Lamster, Frederick. "Souls Made Great Through Love and Adversity": the Film Work of Frank Borzage. Scarecrow, 1981.

External links

Big City (1937 film)

Big City is a 1937 American drama film directed by Frank Borzage and starring Luise Rainer and Spencer Tracy. The film was also released as Skyscraper Wilderness.

Desire (1936 film)

Desire is an American romantic comedy-drama film released in 1936 and directed by Frank Borzage. It was produced by Borzage and Ernst Lubitsch. The picture is a remake of the 1933 German film Happy Days in Aranjuez. The screenplay was written by Samuel Hoffenstein, Edwin Justus Mayer and Waldemar Young based on the play Die Schönen Tage von Aranjuez by Hans Székely and Robert A. Stemmle. The music score was composed by Frederick Hollander and the cinematography was shot by Charles Lang and Victor Milner. Marlene Dietrich's wardrobe was designed by Travis Banton.

The film stars Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper and John Halliday, William Frawley, Akim Tamiroff, and Alan Mowbray.

Early to Wed

Early to Wed is a 1926 American silent comedy film directed by Frank Borzage and starring Matt Moore, Katherine Perry and Albert Gran.

Flirtation Walk

Flirtation Walk is a 1934 romantic musical film written by Delmer Daves and Lou Edelman, and directed by Frank Borzage. It focuses on a soldier (Dick Powell) who falls in love with a general's daughter (Ruby Keeler) during the general's brief stop in Hawaii, but she leaves with her father for the Philippines before their relationship can blossom. They are re-united several years later when the soldier is about to graduate from West Point and the general becomes the Academy's Commandant.

The film's title refers to a path near Trophy Point named "Flirtation Walk", where cadets often take dance dates for some time alone.

I've Always Loved You

I've Always Loved You is a 1946 American Technicolor drama film produced and directed by Frank Borzage and written by Borden Chase. The film stars Philip Dorn, Catherine McLeod, William Carter, Maria Ouspenskaya, Felix Bressart and Elizabeth Patterson. Rare for a film produced by Republic Pictures, I've Always Loved You is a high-budget prestige production with an A-list director in Borzage.

Living on Velvet

Living on Velvet is a 1935 American romantic drama film directed by Frank Borzage and starring Kay Francis, Warren William and George Brent.

Magnificent Doll

Magnificent Doll is a 1946 American drama film directed by Frank Borzage and starring Ginger Rogers and David Niven.

Mannequin (1937 film)

Mannequin is a 1937 American drama film directed by Frank Borzage, and starring Joan Crawford, Spencer Tracy, and Alan Curtis. Crawford plays Jessie, a young working class woman who seeks to improve her life by marrying her boyfriend, only to find out that he is no better than what she left behind. She meets a self-made millionaire with whom she falls in love despite his financial problems.

The film premiered on December 14, 1937, in Westwood, Los Angeles, California. It opened on January 20, 1938, in New York City, followed by a wide American release on January 21, 1938.

No Greater Glory

No Greater Glory is a 1934 American Pre-Code allegorical anti-war film directed by Frank Borzage and based on the novel A Pál utcai fiúk by Ferenc Molnár. The film's box office performance was described as "dismal".

Song o' My Heart

Song o' My Heart is a 1930 Pre-Code American film directed by Frank Borzage and starring John McCormack, Alice Joyce, Maureen O'Sullivan, Effie Ellsler and John Garrick. It was O'Sullivan's second film role.

Stage Door Canteen (film)

Stage Door Canteen is a 1943 American World War II film with some musical numbers and other entertainment interspersed with dramatic scenes by a largely unknown cast. The film was produced by Sol Lesser Productions and directed by Frank Borzage. The film features many celebrity cameo appearances but primarily relates a simple drama set in the famed New York City restaurant and nightclub for American and Allied servicemen. Six bands are featured. The score and the original song, "We Mustn't Say Goodbye", were nominated for Academy Awards.

Stage Door Canteen is in the public domain in North America and for this reason is widely available in many DVD and VHS releases of varying quality.

Stranded (1935 film)

Stranded is a 1935 American drama film directed by Frank Borzage and starring Kay Francis, George Brent and Patricia Ellis.

Strange Cargo (1940 film)

Strange Cargo is a 1940 American romantic drama film directed by Frank Borzage and starring Clark Gable and Joan Crawford in a story about a group of fugitive prisoners from a French penal colony. The adapted screenplay by Lawrence Hazard was based upon the 1936 novel, Not Too Narrow, Not Too Deep, by Richard Sale. The film was produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, it was the eighth and last film pairing of Crawford and Gable. The supporting cast includes Peter Lorre.

That's My Man

That's My Man is a 1947 American drama film directed by Frank Borzage, written by Steve Fisher and Bradley King, and starring Don Ameche, Catherine McLeod, Roscoe Karns, John Ridgely, Kitty Irish and Joe Frisco. It was released on June 1, 1947, by Republic Pictures.

The Dixie Merchant

The Dixie Merchant is a 1926 American silent drama film directed by Frank Borzage and starring Jack Mulhall, Madge Bellamy and J. Farrell MacDonald.

The Mortal Storm

The Mortal Storm is a 1940 drama film from MGM directed by Frank Borzage and starring Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart. The film's theme is the impact upon a nation's population when the country becomes fascist. The supporting cast features Robert Young, Robert Stack, Frank Morgan, Dan Dailey, Ward Bond and Maria Ouspenskaya.

The Shining Hour

The Shining Hour is a 1938 American romantic drama film directed by Frank Borzage, based on the 1934 play

The Shining Hour by Keith Winter, and starring Joan Crawford and Margaret Sullavan. The supporting cast of the MGM film features Robert Young, Melvyn Douglas, Fay Bainter and Hattie McDaniel.

The Spanish Main

The Spanish Main (1945) is an adventure film starring Paul Henreid, Maureen O'Hara, Walter Slezak and Binnie Barnes, and directed by Frank Borzage. It was RKO's first all-Technicolor film since Becky Sharp ten years before.

Cinematographer George Barnes received an Academy Award nomination for Best Color Cinematography. Though a box office hit upon its first release, the film is chiefly remembered today for its lavish and intricate score by

Hanns Eisler.

The Vanishing Virginian

The Vanishing Virginian is a 1942 American drama film directed by Frank Borzage and starring Frank Morgan and Kathryn Grayson. It is based on the memoirs of Rebecca Yancey Williams and set in Lynchburg, Virginia, from 1913 to 1929.

Films directed by Frank Borzage
1927–1950
1951–1975
1976–2000
2001–present

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