Borzage switched from acting to directing in 1916, bringing to the screen a dedication to romanticism that became his trademark. Although undoubtedly sentimental--and criticized by some for it--his films, from "Humoresque" (1920) through "Moonrise" (1948), were not only undeniably popular but, at their best, were also the moving, highly artful and visually enthralling work of an instantly recognizable filmmaker, a genuine auteur.
Borzage was a pioneer in the use of techniques, such as soft focus, that have become standards of romantic filmmaking. He was the first ever recipient of a best director Oscar, for "Seventh Heaven" (1927); he won the award again for "Bad Girl" (1931). A sensitive explorer of the pains and joys of love, and a true believer in its enduring power, Borzage made films in a surprisingly wide range of genres, from the romantic comedy to the war film. In addition to the aforementioned, he left his indelibe stamp on such distinguished films as "Lazybones" (1925), "Lucky Star" (1929), "A Farewell to Arms" (1932), "Little Man, What Now?" (1934), "Desire" (1936), "History Is Made at Night" (1937), "Three Comrades" (1938), "The Mortal Storm" (1940), and "I've Always Loved You" (1946).