Fleming in 1927
Victor Lonzo Fleming
February 23, 1889
|Died||January 6, 1949 59) (aged|
|Resting place||Hollywood Forever Cemetery|
|Spouse(s)||Lucile Rosson (1895-1966) (1933–1949)|
Victor Lonzo Fleming (February 23, 1889 – January 6, 1949) was an American film director, cinematographer, and producer. His most popular films were Gone with the Wind , for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director, and The Wizard of Oz (both 1939). Fleming has those same two films listed in the top 10 of the American Film Institute's 2007 AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies list.
Fleming was born at the Banbury Ranch near what is now La Cañada Flintridge, California, the son of Eva (née Hartman) and William Richard Lonzo Fleming.
He served in the photographic section for the United States Army during World War I, and acted as chief photographer for President Woodrow Wilson in Versailles, France.He showed a mechanical aptitude early in life; while working as a car mechanic, he met the director Allan Dwan, who took him on as a camera assistant. He soon rose to the rank of cinematographer, working with both Dwan and D. W. Griffith, and directed his first film in 1919.
Many of his silent films were action movies, often starring Douglas Fairbanks, or Westerns. Because of his robust attitude and love of outdoor sports, he became known as a "man's director"; however, he also proved an effective director of women. Under his direction, Vivien Leigh won the Best Actress Oscar, Hattie McDaniel won for Best Supporting Actress, and Olivia De Havilland was nominated.
In the opinion of veteran cinematographer Archie Stout, of all the directors he worked with Fleming was the most knowledgeable when it came to camera angles and appropriate lenses.He was remembered by Van Johnson as a being a masterful director but a “tough man” to work for.
In 1932, Fleming joined MGM and directed some of the studio's most prestigious films. Red Dust (1932), Bombshell (1933), and Reckless (1935) showcasing Jean Harlow, while Treasure Island (1934) starring Wallace Beery and Captains Courageous (1937) with Spencer Tracy brought a touch of literary distinction to boy's-own adventure stories. His two most famous films came in 1939, when The Wizard of Oz was closely followed by Gone with the Wind .
Fleming's version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941), with Spencer Tracy, was generally rated below Rouben Mamoulian's 1931 pre-code version, which had starred Fredric March. Fleming's 1942 film version of John Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat starred Tracy, John Garfield, Hedy Lamarr, and Frank Morgan. Other films that Fleming made with Tracy include Captains Courageous (for which Tracy won his first Oscar), A Guy Named Joe, and Test Pilot. He directed Clark Gable in a total of five films – Red Dust, The White Sister, Test Pilot, Gone with the Wind, and Adventure.
He owned the Moraga Estate in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, then a horse ranch.Frequent guests to his estate included Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Ingrid Bergman, and Spencer Tracy.
He died en route to a hospital in Cottonwood, Arizonaafter suffering a heart attack on January 6, 1949. His death occurred shortly after completing Joan of Arc (1948) with Ingrid Bergman, one of the few films that he did not make for MGM. Despite mixed reviews, Fleming's film version of the life of Joan received seven Oscar nominations, winning two.
It was reported in James Curtis' book Spencer Tracy: A Biographythat Anne Revere once said Fleming was "violently pro-Nazi" and strongly opposed to the United States entering World War II. According to the Fleming biography Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master, by author Michael Sragow, Fleming had once mocked the UK at the outset of World War II by taking a bet as to how long the country could withstand an attack by Germany.
The accuracy of Revere's characterization of Fleming has been disputed, however. According to Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master, Revere had made her comment because she felt she had been cast in the film The Yearling over Flora Robson because Robson was British. However, at the time of the casting, Fleming was working on the film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which featured a British producer and a cast largely composed of British or British Commonwealth actors. Furthermore, Revere did not know Fleming beyond their professional relationship.
Captains Courageous is an 1897 novel, by Rudyard Kipling, that follows the adventures of fifteen-year-old Harvey Cheyne Jr., the spoiled son of a railroad tycoon, after he is saved from drowning by a Portuguese fisherman in the north Atlantic. The novel originally appeared as a serialisation in McClure's, beginning with the November 1896 edition with the last instalment appearing in May 1897. In that year it was then published in its entirety as a novel, first in the United States by Doubleday, and a month later in the United Kingdom by Macmillan. It is Kipling's only novel set entirely in America. In 1900, Teddy Roosevelt extolled the book in his essay "What We Can Expect of the American Boy," praising Kipling for describing "in the liveliest way just what a boy should be and do."
Spencer Bonaventure Tracy was an American actor, known for his natural performing style and versatility. One of the major stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, Tracy won two consecutive Academy Awards for Best Actor from nine nominations.
Test Pilot is a 1938 film directed by Victor Fleming, starring Clark Gable, Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy, and featuring Lionel Barrymore. The Oscar-nominated film tells the story of a daredevil test pilot (Gable), his wife (Loy), and his best friend (Tracy).
David O. Selznick was an American film producer, screenwriter and film studio executive. He is best known for producing Gone with the Wind (1939) and Rebecca (1940), both of which earned him an Academy Award for Best Picture.
The year 1949 in film involved some significant events.
John Lee Mahin was an American screenwriter and producer of films who was active in Hollywood from the 1930s to the 1960s. He was known as the favorite writer of Clark Gable and Victor Fleming. In the words of one profile, he had "a flair for rousing adventure material, and at the same time he wrote some of the raciest and most sophisticated sexual comedies of that period."
Frederick Cecil Bartholomew, known for his acting work as Freddie Bartholomew, was an English-American child actor. One of the most famous child actors of all time, he became very popular in 1930s Hollywood films. His most famous starring roles are in Captains Courageous (1937) and Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936).
Joan of Arc is a 1948 American hagiographic epic film directed by Victor Fleming, and starring Ingrid Bergman as the eponymous French religious icon and war heroine. It was produced by Walter Wanger. It is based on Maxwell Anderson's successful Broadway play Joan of Lorraine, which also starred Bergman, and was adapted for the screen by Anderson himself, in collaboration with Andrew Solt. It is the only film of an Anderson play for which the author wrote the film script. It is the last film Fleming directed before his death in 1949.
Tortilla Flat is a 1942 American romantic comedy film directed by Victor Fleming and starring Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, John Garfield, Frank Morgan, Akim Tamiroff, and Sheldon Leonard based on the 1935 novel of the same name by John Steinbeck. Frank Morgan received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his poignant portrayal of The Pirate.
Vilmos ZsigmondASC was a Hungarian-American cinematographer. His work in cinematography helped shape the look of American movies in the 1970s, making him one of the leading figures in the American New Wave movement.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1941 horror film starring Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, and Lana Turner. The production also features Donald Crisp, Ian Hunter, Barton MacLane, C. Aubrey Smith, and Sara Allgood. Its storyline is based on the 1886 Gothic novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde written by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. There have been many filmed adaptations of the novella. This movie was a remake of the Oscar-winning 1931 version starring Fredric March.
Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American epic historical romance film adapted from the 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell. The film was produced by David O. Selznick of Selznick International Pictures and directed by Victor Fleming. Set in the American South against the backdrop of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction era, the film tells the story of Scarlett O'Hara, the strong-willed daughter of a Georgia plantation owner. It follows her romantic pursuit of Ashley Wilkes, who is married to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton, and her subsequent marriage to Rhett Butler. The leading roles are played by Vivien Leigh (Scarlett), Clark Gable (Rhett), Leslie Howard (Ashley), and Olivia de Havilland (Melanie).
Captains Courageous is a 1937 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer adventure film. Based on the 1897 novel of the same name by Rudyard Kipling, the film had its world premiere at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles. It was produced by Louis D. Lighton and directed by Victor Fleming. Filmed in black and white, Captains Courageous was advertised by MGM as a coming-of-age classic with exciting action sequences.
Thomas Victor Jones was an American businessman. He served as the chairman and chief executive officer of Northrop Corporation.
Sam Zimbalist was a Ukrainian born American film producer and film editor.
Ernest Jacob Haller, sometimes known as Ernie J. Haller, was an American cinematographer.
Arthur Henry Rosson was an English film director. From 1917 to 1948, Rosson directed 61. He also worked on many major films as a second unit director until 1960, particularly for Cecil B. DeMille.
Michael Sragow is a film critic and columnist who has written for The Orange County Register, The Baltimore Sun, The San Francisco Examiner, The New Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic and Salon. Sragow also edited James Agee's film essays, and has written or contributed to several other cinema-related books.
Moraga Estate is an American estate, vineyard and winery in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California. As of 2013, it was owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
Last of the Buccaneers is a 1950 American Technicolor adventure film directed by Lew Landers and starring Paul Henreid as Jean Lafitte.
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