Alexander Korda

Pic producer paragons

Hungarian by birth, cosmopolitan by nature, a gambler by choice and a storyteller at the drop of a hat, Korda began in Budapest, moved to Vienna and Berlin, and then to Hollywood. But he really found himself in Britain. He was a director a lot of the time, and he and his two talented brothers — Vincent and Zoltan — possessed immense filmmaking expertise. Still, 1933’s “The Private Life of Henry VIII” (which he produced and directed), with Charles Laughton, was his turning point and a picture nominee. He made pictures about history, and the point of view shifted from high romance to Graham Greene: “Rembrandt,” “Elephant Boy,” the aborted “Claudius” (with Laughton and his wife Merle Oberon), “The Four Feathers,” “That Hamilton Woman” (with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh), “Anna Karenina,” “The Third Man” (on which he calmly ignored co-producer Selznick), “Richard III,” and the collaborations with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger: “The Small Back Room,” “Gone to Earth” and “The Tales of Hoffman.”

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