Directors and Key People

Orson Welles - His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist; Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was seven) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago's Dr. Maurice Bernstein. In 1931 he graduated from the Todd School in Woodstock, Illinois; he turned down college offers for a sketching tour of Ireland. He tried unsuccessfully to enter the London and Broadway stages, traveling some more in Morocco and Spain (where he fought in the bullring). Recommendations by Thornton Wilder and Alexander Woollcott got him into Katherine Cornell's road company, with which he made his New York debut as Tybalt in 1934. The same year he married, directed his first short, and appeared on radio for the first time. He began working with John Houseman and formed the Mercury Theatre with him in 1937. In 1938 they produced "The Mercury Theatre on the Air", famous for its broadcast version of "The War of the Worlds" (intended as a Halloween prank). His first film to be seen by the public was Citizen Kane (1941), in which he also stars, a commercial failure losing RKO $150,000, but regarded by many as the best film ever made. Many of his next films were commercial failures and he exiled himself to Europe in 1948. In 1956 he directed Touch of Evil (1958); it failed in the U.S. but won a prize at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. In 1975, in spite of all his box-office failures, he received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1984 the Directors Guild of America awarded him its highest honor, the D.W. Griffith Award. His reputation as a film maker has climbed steadily ever since. His mother was also a pianist.

Akira Kurosawa - After training as a painter (he storyboards his films as full-scale paintings), Kurosawa entered the film industry in 1936 as an assistant director, eventually making his directorial debut with Sanshiro Sugata (1943). Within a few years, Kurosawa had achieved sufficient stature to allow him greater creative freedom. Drunken Angel (1948)--"Drunken Angel"--was the first film he made without extensive studio interference, and marked his first collaboration with Toshirô Mifune. In the coming decades, the two would make 16 movies together, and Mifune became as closely associated with Kurosawa's films as was John Wayne with the films of Kurosawa's idol, John Ford. After working in a wide range of genres, Kurosawa made his international breakthrough film Rashomon (1950) in 1950. It won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, and first revealed the richness of Japanese cinema to the West. The next few years saw the low-key, touching Ikiru (1952) (Living), the epic Seven Samurai (1954), the barbaric, riveting Shakespeare adaptation Throne of Blood (1957), and a fun pair of samurai comedies Yojimbo (1961) and Sanjuro (1962). After a lean period in the late 1960s and early 1970s, though, Kurosawa attempted suicide. He survived, and made a small, personal, low-budget picture with Dodes'ka-den (1970), a larger-scale Russian co-production Deruzu uzâra (1975) and, with the help of admirers Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, the samurai tale Kagemusha (1980), which Kurosawa described as a dry run for Ran (1985), an epic adaptation of Shakespeare's "King Lear." He continued to work into his eighties with the more personal Dreams (1990), Rhapsody in August (1991) and Madadayo (1993). Kurosawa's films have always been more popular in the West than in his native Japan, where critics have viewed his adaptations of Western genres and authors (William Shakespeare, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Maxim Gorky and Evan Hunter) with suspicion - but he's revered by American and European film-makers, who remade Rashomon (1950) as The Outrage (1964), Seven Samurai (1954), as The Magnificent Seven (1960), Yojimbo (1961), as A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and The Hidden Fortress (1958), as Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).

Marlon Brando - (April 3, 1924 – July 1, 2004) was an American actor who performed for over half a century. He was perhaps best known for his roles as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), his Academy Award-nominated performance as Emiliano Zapata in Viva Zapata! (1952), his role as Mark Antony in the MGM film adaptation of the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar (1953), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, and his Academy Award-winning performance as Terry Malloy in (1954). During the 1970s, he was most famous for his Academy Award-winning performance as Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather (1972), also playing Colonel Walter Kurtz in another Coppola film, Apocalypse Now (1979). Brando delivered an Academy Award-nominated performance as Paul in Last Tango in Paris (1972), in addition to directing and starring in the western film One-Eyed Jacks (1961). Brando had a significant impact on film acting, and was the foremost example of the "method" acting style. While he became notorious for his "mumbling" diction and exuding a raw animal magnetism, his mercurial performances were nonetheless highly regarded, and he is considered one of the greatest and most influential actors of the 20th century. Brando was also an activist, supporting many issues, notably the African-American Civil Rights Movement and various American Indian Movements.

Elia Kazan - Known for his creative stage direction, was born Elia Kazanjoglous in Istanbul in 1909 to Greek parents. He directed such Broadway plays as "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". He directed the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and many other films. He is a proponent of the method approach to acting, developed by Konstantin Stanislavski. Kazan received two best director Academy Awards, for the films Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and On the Waterfront (1954). He has written many films about Greek immigrants, such as America, America (1963). These films are based on his novels. Kazan's autobiography, published in 1988, is entitled "Elie Kazan: A Life". He introduced young actors Marlon Brando and James Dean to audiences. He is a greek director and is based in New York. He directed 21 different actors to Oscar awards.

John Huston -He was an actor, film director, and screenwriter. He wrote 37 feature films, some were the Asphalt Jungle, Moulin Rogue, and the African Queen. During his 46-year career, Huston received 15 Oscar nominations, winning twice, and directed both his father, Walter Huston, and daughter, Anjelica Huston to Oscar wins in different films. He was born in August 5, 1906 in Nevada, Missouri, USA. HE diedAugust 28, 1987 at age 81 in Middletown, Rhode Island, USA. Huston was known to direct with the vision of an artist, having studied and worked as a fine art painter in Paris in his early years. He continued to explore the visual aspects of his films throughout his career: sketching each scene on paper beforehand, then carefully framing his characters during the shooting. In addition, while most directors rely on post-production editing to shape their final work, Huston instead created his films while they were being shot, making his films both more economical and more cerebral, with little editing needed. Most of Huston's films were adaptations of important novels, often depicting a “heroic quest," as in Moby Dick, or The Red Badge of Courage. In many films, different groups of people, while struggling toward a common goal, would become doomed or "destructive alliances,” giving the films a dramatic and visual tension. Many of his themes also involved some of the "grand narratives" of the twentieth century, such as religion, meaning, truth, freedom, psychology, colonialism and war.

Henry Fonda- Born in Grand Island, Nebraska, Henry Fonda started his acting debut with the Omaha Community Playhouse, a local amateur theater troupe directed by Dorothy Brando. He moved to the Cape Cod University Players and later Broadway, New York to expand his theatrical career from 1926 to 1934. His first major roles in Broadway include "New Faces of America" and "The Farmer Takes a Wife". The latter play was transfered to the screen in 1935 and became the start-up of Fonda's lifelong Hollywood career. The following year he married Frances Seymour Fonda with whom he had two children: Jane and Peter Fonda also to become screen stars. He is most remembered for his roles as Abe Lincoln inYoung Mr. Lincoln (1939), Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath (1940), for which he received an Academy Award Nomination, and more recently, Norman Thayer in On Golden Pond (1981), for which he received an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1982. Henry Fonda is considered one of Hollywood's old-time legends and was friend and contemporary of James Stewart, John Ford and Joshua Logan. His movie career which spanned almost 50 years is completed by a notable presence in American theater and television.

Sidney Lumet-He directed the film 12 Angry Men and 39 other films.Sidney Lumet is nevertheless a master of cinema. Known for his technical knowledge and his skill at getting first-rate performances from his actors -- and for shooting most of his films in his beloved New York -- Lumet has made over 40 movies, often emotional, but seldom overly sentimental. He often tells intelligent, complex stories.d He directed 17 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Katherine Hepburn, Rod Steiger, Al Pacino, Ingrid Bergman, Albert Finney, Chris Sarandon, Faye Dunaway, Peter Fitch, Beatrice Straight, William Holden, Ned Beatty, Peter Firth, Richard Burton, Paul Newman, James Mason, Jane Fonda and River Pheonix. Bergman, Dunaway, Finch and Straight won oscars for their performances in one of Lumets movies.
He was born June 25, 1924 in Philadelphia,USA. He died April 9, 2011 in New York City of lymphoma.