Edward Dmytryk

Director, Producer, Editor
As one of classic Hollywood's more prominent directors, Edward Dmytryk appeared primed for greatness following a string of successful movies in the 1940s, until he was blacklisted as one of the infamous Hollywood Ten ... Read more »
Born: 09/03/1908 in Grand Forks, British Columbia, CA

Filmography

Director (43)

He Is My Brother 1975 (Movie)

(Director)

The Human Factor 1974 (Movie)

(Director)

Bluebeard 1972 (Movie)

(Director)

Anzio 1968 (Movie)

(English version) (Director)

Shalako 1968 (Movie)

(Director)

Alvarez Kelly 1966 (Movie)

(Director)

Mirage 1965 (Movie)

(Director)

The Carpetbaggers 1963 (Movie)

(Director)

Where Love Has Gone 1963 (Movie)

(Director)

Walk on the Wild Side 1962 (Movie)

(Director)

The Reluctant Saint 1961 (Movie)

(Director)

The Blue Angel 1958 (Movie)

(Director)

The Young Lions 1958 (Movie)

(Director)

Warlock 1958 (Movie)

(Director)

Raintree County 1957 (Movie)

(Director)

The Mountain 1956 (Movie)

(Director)

Soldier of Fortune 1955 (Movie)

(Director)

The End of the Affair 1955 (Movie)

(Director)

The Left Hand of God 1955 (Movie)

(Director)

Broken Lance 1954 (Movie)

(Director)

The Caine Mutiny 1954 (Movie)

(Director)

The Juggler 1953 (Movie)

(Director)

Crossfire 1947 (Movie)

(Director)

Back to Bataan 1945 (Movie)

(Director)

Hitler's Children 1942 (Movie)

(Director)

Emergency Squad 1939 (Movie)

(Director)

Television Spy 1938 (Movie)

(Director)

Behind the Rising Sun (Movie)

(Director)

Captive Wild Woman (Movie)

(Director)

Cornered (Movie)

(Director)

Counter-Espionage (Movie)

(Director)

Golden Gloves (Movie)

(Director)

Her First Romance (Movie)

(Director)

Million Dollar Legs (Movie)

(Director)

Mutiny (Movie)

(Director)

Secrets of the Lone Wolf (Movie)

(Director)

So Well Remembered (Movie)

(Director)

Tender Comrade (Movie)

(Director)

The Blonde from Singapore (Movie)

(Director)

The Devil Commands (Movie)

(Director)

The Falcon Strikes Back (Movie)

(Director)

The Sniper (Movie)

(Director)

Under Age (Movie)

(Director)
Actor (14)

Montgomery Clift: The Hidden Star 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Anthony Quinn 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Gary Cooper: The Face of a Hero 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Fred MacMurray: The Guy Next Door 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

American Cinema 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Inside the Dream Factory 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Marlon Brando, Wild One 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

When America Trembled -- Murrow/McCarthy 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Robert Mitchum: The Reluctant Star 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Montgomery Clift: His Place in the Sun 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

50 Years of Action! 1985 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Hollywood on Trial 1975 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Hollywood: The Golden Years (TV Show)

Actor
Editor (8)

Love Affair 1938 (Movie)

(Editor)

Some Like It Hot 1938 (Movie)

(Editor)

Zaza 1938 (Movie)

(Editor)

Belle of the Nineties 1933 (Movie)

(Editor)

The Royal Family of Broadway 1929 (Movie)

(Editor)

Bulldog Drummond's Peril (Movie)

(Editor)

Double or Nothing (Movie)

(Editor)

Ruggles of Red Gap (Movie)

(Editor)
Producer (3)

The Reluctant Saint 1961 (Movie)

(Producer)

Warlock 1958 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Mountain 1956 (Movie)

(Producer)
Writer (2)

Bluebeard 1972 (Movie)

(From Story)

Bluebeard 1972 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Biography

As one of classic Hollywood's more prominent directors, Edward Dmytryk appeared primed for greatness following a string of successful movies in the 1940s, until he was blacklisted as one of the infamous Hollywood Ten following his refusal to name names to Congress during the Red Scare. Dmytryk started his filmmaking career as an editor and segued to directing by taking over production of "Million Dollar Legs" (1939). That led to a series of B-movies like "Golden Gloves" (1940) and "The Devil Command" (1941), until finally making the excellent film noir "Murder, My Sweet" (1944). From there, he entered his fruitful period with "Back to Bataan" (1945), Till the End of Time" (1946) and "So Well Remembered" (1947), before helming the politically-charged noir classic, "Crossfire" (1947). It was then that Dmytryk ran afoul of the House Un-American Activities Committee, leading to his blacklisting from Hollywood and a brief stint in jail after his return from exile in England. With the help of producer Stanley Kramer, Dmytryk revitalized his career with "The Caine Mutiny" (1954) and went on to make a number of quality films like "Broken Lance" (1954), "The End of the Affair" (1955), "Raintree Country" (1957) and "The Young Lions" (1958). Though his career sputtered in the following decade, Dmytryk managed to direct a few more hits and became one of the few blacklisted filmmakers to mount a bona fide comeback.

Born on Sept. 4, 1908 in Grand Forks, British Columbia, Canada, Dmytryk was raised by his Ukrainian immigrant parents, father Michael, a farmer, and his mother, Frances, who raised four children. His family moved to California following his mother's death in 1913, but left home at 14 years old and supported himself as a messenger and office boy at the Famous-Lasky Players studio. A quick study, Dmytryk began learning how to splice film while also working as a projectionist. He soon left the film business for a short time to attend the California Institute of Technology after winning a scholarship, only to drop out after his freshman year. Dmytryk returned to his old studio - now called Paramount Pictures - where he became an editor, working on pictures like "The Royal Family of Broadway" (1930), "Only Saps Work" (1930), "Belle of the Nineties" (1934) with Mae West, and "Ruggles of Red Gap" (1935) starring Charles Laughton. He made his directing debut with the independently made Western "The Hawk" (1935), which he did as a favor for a friend, but Dmytryk stayed primarily in the cutting room for the next four years.

Back to work as an editor, Dmytryk cut "Three Cheers for Love" (1936), "Easy to Take" (1936) and the musical "Turn Off the Moon" (1937), before returning to the director's chair for "The Trail of the Hawk" (1937). He continued editing films like "Murder Goes to College" (1937), "Bulldog Drummond's Peril" (1938) and "Love Affair" (1939) until making a permanent jump to directing. He was uncredited on "Million Dollar Legs" (1939) - no relation to the 1932 film with W.C. Fields - for Paramount when the studio was unhappy with how credited director, Nick Grindle, was performing. The eager Dmytryk finished the production on schedule and was rewarded with a handful of B-films including "Television Spy" (1939), "Emergency Squad" (1940) and "Golden Gloves" (1940). Dmytryk moved on and signed with Columbia Pictures, where he cranked out seven B-pictures and programmers in a year's time, including a very solid entry in the "Boston Blackie" series, "Confessions of Boston Blackie" (1941), as well as the atmospheric horror film, "The Devil Commands" (1941), starring Boris Karloff.

Dmytryk's fortunes were on the upswing when he moved to RKO in 1942, where for a time he specialized in action thrillers, typically his best genre. "Seven Miles from Alcatraz" (1942) was a taut tale of two escaped convicts, and Dmytryk enjoyed his first box office smashes with two modestly budgeted potboilers, "Hitler's Children" (1943) and "Behind the Rising Sun" (1943). Both were vivid, though sensationalistic wartime propaganda films about human rights atrocities in Nazi Germany and Japan respectively, and naturally struck a chord with the American public. He continued his box office success with his first A-picture, "Tender Comrade" (1943), a weepy Ginger Rogers vehicle about war wives with mild whiffs of the leftist rhetoric which would soon get the director in a great deal of trouble during the post-war McCarthy Era. Meanwhile, Dmytryk entered his peak period as a filmmaker, which proved to be brief, but memorable. He collaborated on four key films with producer Adrian Scott and screenwriter John Paxton, beginning with the marvelous film noir "Murder, My Sweet" (1944). One of the finest and most important films of the genre, it was also a sterling adaptation of Raymond Chandler's original novel and revitalized Dick Powell's starring career.

Dmytryk reunited with Scott, Paxton and Powell for a second film, the hair-trigger thriller "Cornered" (1945), another study of deceptive surfaces and shifting loyalties, all filtered through a cynical sensibility and sharp visuals. Even Dmytryk's more routine assignments during this time came off well. "Back to Bataan" (1945) was a solid wartime saga, "Till the End of Time" (1946) a well-acted study of returning war veterans, and "So Well Remembered" (1947) - prophetically made in England - a sincere piece of humanist socialism about a newspaper editor (John Mills) who helps a strike-torn town. Dmytryk's acclaim and popularity peaked with "Crossfire" (1947), a classic film noir starring Robert Ryan and Robert Mitchum that was one of the first major studio films to tackle anti-Semitism and homophobia, and earned Dmytryk the only Best Director Oscar nomination of his career. Although the film's overtly political tone may have seemed more obvious and less impressive to contemporary audiences, "Crossfire" was particularly potent for its time, a mature, skillfully shot and well-acted noir about relevant social problems.

Dmytryk's success, however, came to an abrupt halt when hawkish fellow director Sam Wood named Dmytryk as a Communist before Congress' infamous House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Referencing his constitutional rights, Dmytryk refused to answer the committee's questions and was cited for contempt of Congress, leading to being branded one of the Hollywood Ten, a group of film industry professionals - mostly screenwriters - who were blacklisted from working in Hollywood. Dmytryk returned to England to make "Obsession" (1949), a dark psychological noir about an insanely jealous husband (Robert Newton) of an unfaithful wife (Sally Gray), and "Give Us This Day" (1949), a touching drama about immigrants living in the tenement slums of New York in the 1920s. Ordered back to the U.S. to renew his passport, Dmytryk was promptly arrested and served six months in prison before he agreed to testify before HUAC and name names. Doing so freed him and made him eligible to work again in Hollywood, though many were critical of Dmytryk for what appeared to be him caving to pressure. Although Dmytryk's actions were questionable, he did have a family to support and had long been alienated from his Communist affiliations. In short, Dmytryk saw himself as suffering for a cause he no longer believed in.

With his HUAC problems behind him, Dmytryk received a new lease on his career from producer Stanley Kramer with "The "The Sniper" (1952), a gripping noir about a misogynistic killer (Arthur Franz) and a police lieutenant (Adolphe Menjou) who is gradually won over to preventive social policies. Dmytryk also made the study of a Holocaust survivor, "The Juggler" (1953), the first Hollywood film shot in Israel, and capped his association with Kramer with "The Caine Mutiny" (1954), an excellent adaptation of Herman Wouk's novel about a naval officer's mental disintegration and his crew's rebellion that featured a great late-career performance from Humphrey Bogart. Though re-established as a working director, Dmytryk's track record over the next 20 years proved to be spotty at best. He directed the classic Western "Broken Lance" (1954) starring Spencer Tracy, and the complicated adaptation of Graham Greene's "The End of the Affair" (1955) with Van Johnson and Deborah Kerr. After the mediocre alpine adventure "The Mountain" (1956), he helmed "Raintree County" (1957), a splashy, but overdone melodrama starring Elizabeth Taylor as a Southern belle who goes insane.

Dmytryk's penchant for directing longer than necessary films dinged the otherwise excellent character drama, "The Young Lions" (1958) a study of U.S. and German soldiers during wartime that featured Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Dean Martin in excellent form. Following another excellent Western, "Warlock" (1959), starring Henry Fonda and Anthony Quinn, he directed the critically dismissed "Walk on the Wild Side" (1962), a rather lurid melodrama about a man from Texas (Laurence Harvey) who goes to Louisiana in search of his missing girlfriend (Jane Fonda), only to learn she's a prostitute in a New Orleans brothel with no intention of leaving. From there, he helmed "The Reluctant Saint" (1962) and the family melodrama "Where Love Has Gone" (1964), and scored a smash hit with "The Carpetbaggers" (1964), a Hollywood exposé based on Harold Robbins' trashy 1961 best-seller. After landing another hit with the clever psychological thriller "Mirage" (1966), he directed "Alvarez Kelly" (1966), a Civil War-set actioner starring William Holden and Richard Widmark that proved to be the last film Dmytryk made in the U.S. for 10 years.

Back in England again, Dmytryk directed the Western "Shalako" (1968) with Sean Connery and Bridget Bardot, before going to Italy to helm the World War II drama "Anzio" (1968) starring Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan and Peter Falk. After some time off, he directed Richard Burton in the well-worn thriller "Bluebeard" (1972) and George Kennedy in the violent revenge thriller "The Human Factor" (1975). Hardly anybody saw his final directing effort, "He is My Brother" (1976), which led to his retirement from the business. As a seasoned veteran, however, Dmytryk proved to be an articulate and interesting interviewee for documentary films including "Hollywood on Trial" (1976) and "50 Years of Action!" (1986) as well as television documentaries like "Hollywood: The Golden Years" (1988) and "When America Trembled: Murrow/McCarthy" (CBS, 1994). Dmytryk spent his later years teaching film at the University of Texas and the University of Southern California, as well as publishing a series of books on film, including On Directing (1984), On Screenwriting (1985) and Cinema: Concept and Practice (1988). Dmytryk died of heart and kidney failure on July 1, 1999 in Encino, CA. He was 90 years old.

By Shawn Dwyer

Relationships

Clara Mertz

Step-Mother

Arthur Dmytryk

Brother

Michael Dmytryk

Father
Ukranian immigrant

Frances Dmytryk

Mother
Ukranian immigrant died c. 1913

Rebecca Dmytryk

Daughter
mother, Jean Porter

Victoria Dmytryk

Daughter
mother, Jean Porter

Michael Dmytryk

Son
mother, Madeline Robinson

Richard Dmytryk

Son
born on July 29, 1949 died in December 1992 mother, Jean Porter

Jean Porter

Wife
born c. 1916 married from May 1948 until his death in July 1999

Madeline Robinson

Wife
married in 1932 divorced in 1947

EDUCATION

Hollywood High School

Hollywood , California

California Institute of Technology

Pasadena , California
won scholarship to attend; dropped out after freshman year

Milestones

1986

Last feature film appearance, "50 Years of Action!", a salute to the Directors Guild of America

1979

Published autobiography "It's a Hell of a Life But Not a Bad Living"

1976

Appeared as one of the interviewees in the feature documentary, "Hollywood on Trial"

1976

Directed last feature, "He Is My Brother"

1966

Last US film for ten years, "Alvarez Kelly"; over the following decade made a handful of films in Great Britain and Italy

1956

First producing credit, "The Mountain", which he also directed

1952

Signed by producer Stanley Kramer to a four-picture contract

1952

Directed first US films in five years, "The Sniper" and "Mutiny", the latter also his first film in color

1951

Testified before HUAC in April and "named names"

1950

Returned to US to renew his passport; jailed for contempt of Congress; served six months

1949

Began directing films in UK

1947

Fired from RKO when Dmytryk was named before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC); Dmytryk was cited for contempt of Congress when he refused to testify and became one of the blacklisted "Hollywood Ten"

1943

Breakthrough film, "Murder, My Sweet"; also marked first collaboration with producer Adrian Scott and screenwriter John Paxton

1942

Signed seven-year contract with RKO; directed first "A"-budget film, "Tender Comrade"

1941

Moved to RKO

1940

Moved to Columbia

1939

Began to direct regularly for Paramount

1935

Film directing debut, "The Hawk"

1930

First film as editor, "Only Saps Work"

1929

Began working as a film cutter on Spanish-language versions of Paramount films

1927

Worked at Paramount Studios as projectionist

1925

Became part-time projectionist (date approximate)

1923

Left home at age 14; supported himself as messenger and office boy at Famous Players-Lasky studios (date approximate)

1913

Moved to California after mother's death (date approximate)

Born in Canada

Moved to England

Taught film at the University of Texas

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