cover of book

The Many Cinemas of Michael Curtiz
edited by R. Barton Palmer and Murray Pomerance
University of Texas Press, 2018
eISBN: 978-1-4773-1556-9 | Cloth: 978-1-4773-1554-5 | Paper: 978-1-4773-1555-2
Library of Congress Classification PN1998.3.C87M36 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 791.430232092


Director Michael Curtiz was the mastermind behind some of the most iconic films of classical Hollywood—Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Sea Hawk, White Christmas, and Mildred Pierce, to name only a few. The most prolific and consistently successful Hollywood generalist with an all-embracing interest in different forms of narrative and spectacle, Curtiz made around a hundred films in an astonishing range of genres: action, biopics, melodramas/film noir, musicals, and westerns. But his important contributions to the history of American film have been overlooked because his broadly varied oeuvre does not present the unified vision of filmmaking that canonical criticism demands for the category of “auteur.”

Exploring his films and artistic practice from a variety of angles, including politics, gender, and genre, The Many Cinemas of Michael Curtiz sheds new light on this underappreciated cinematic genius. Leading film studies scholars offer fresh appraisals of many of Curtiz’s most popular films, while also paying attention to neglected releases of substantial historical interest, such as Noah’s Ark , Night and Day, Virginia City, Black Fury, Mystery of the Wax Museum, and Female. Because Curtiz worked for so long and in so many genres, this analysis of his work becomes more than an author study of a notable director. Instead, The Many Cinemas of Michael Curtiz effectively adds a major chapter to the history of Hollywood’s studio era, including its internationalism and the significant contributions of European émigrés.

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