Elia Kazan

07.09.1909, Constantinople, Turkey - 28.09.2003, New York, USA

 

Director
Kazan was a theatre and film director and producer. He was born to a Greek family in Turkey. They immigrated to the USA when Elia Kazan (Ýlyas Kazancýođlu, in Turkish) was only four years old. He went to school in New York. After graduating from Williams College, he studied drama at Yale. During the 1930s he was a theatre actor in Lee Strasberg’s group (the leftist Group Theatre Company) that specialized in Konstantin Stanislavski’s acting methods. In 1947, together with Cheryl Crawford and Robert Lewis, he founded the world famous Actor\'s Studio, from which emerged some of the most iconic actors of all time: James Dean, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Anthony Perkins, Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and many others. He began directing theatre plays in 1935. He was very successful and won three Tony awards for Best Director (in 1947 for Arthur Miller’s All My Sons; in 1949 also for Miller’s play Death of a Salesman and in 1959 for Archibald Macleish’s J.B.). His other important theater plays include A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955). He made his feature film debut A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in 1945. Afterwards he made The Sea of Grass (1947) with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy and Boomerang! (1947), based on a true story. For his films Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and On the Waterfront (1954) he won Oscars for Best Director. Less celebrated was his film about racism, Pinky (1949). After the film Panic in the Streets (1950), he directed the film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) starring Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh and Kim Hunter, which achieved great success. He continued his collaboration with Brando in the western Viva Zapata! (1952) and the crime drama On the Waterfront (1954). The critics praised his film East of Eden (1955) starring the young James Dean in his first role. Baby Doll (1956) is another of Kazan’s film adaptations of Tennessee Williams after which he made a drama about the world of media, A Face in the Crowd (1957), followed by Wild River (1960) and the romantic drama Splendor in the Grass (1961) starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty. He also wrote screenplays. For the film America, America (1963), which he directed, he also wrote the screenplay based on his own book, as well as for his next film The Arrangement (1969). The low-budget film The Visitors (1972), based on his son Chris’s book and the film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Last Tycoon (1976) were his last films. In 1999, he received an Oscar for Life-time Achievement in spite of partially disgruntled audiences, thanks to his hypocritical betrayal to McCarthy’s Committee for Un-American Activities in January 1951, when he ratted out eight people from the film world who were members of the Communist party, even though he himself had been one as well.

Filmography

The Last Tycoon (1976)
The Visitors (1972)
The Arrangement (1969)
America, America (1963)
Splendor in the Grass (1961)
Wild River (1960)
A Face in the Crowd (1957)
Baby Doll (1956)
East of Eden (1955)
On the Waterfront (1954)
Man on a Tightrope (1953)
Viva Zapata! (1952)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Panic in the Streets (1950)
Pinky (1949)
Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
Boomerang! (1947)
The Sea of Grass (1947)
Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)


Films by this director

Boomerang!

(USA, 1947)

Directed by: Elia Kazan
PHOTOGRAPHY: Norbert Brodine
Synopsis:

Based on a true story, this film follows the events following the murder of a priest in Connecticut. People are appalled by the crime and demand the police find the murderer, but soon political implications are revealed due to mayoral elections. In such circumstances and thanks to some witnesses the police manages to capture the former soldier and vagabond John Waldron who at first denies his guilt and then, under police pressure, breaks and confesses.

b/w, 88’

Panic in the Streets

(USA, 1950)

Directed by: Elia Kazan
PHOTOGRAPHY: Joseph MacDonald
Synopsis:

On the docks of the New Orleans harbor a group of small time crooks kill an illegal immigrant in a fight over a card game. When his body arrives to the morgue, the pathologist suspects it to be infected with lung disease and asks help from Dr. Clinton Reed from the Public Health department. The diagnosis is confirmed and the doctors immediately start the search for others who might be infected in order to prevent an epidemic.

b/w, 96’

On the Waterfront

(USA, 1954)

Directed by: Elia Kazan
PHOTOGRAPHY: Boris Kaufman
Synopsis:

Johnny Friendly, chief of the harbor union, connected to the mafia, orders the murder of one of his workers in order to prevent him from testifying about Johnny’s shady business. Terry Malloy, whose brother is Johnny’s lawyer, witnesses the murder but decides to disregard it until he meets the sister of the murdered worker and a priest who persuade him to do the right thing.

b/w, 108’

America, America

(USA, 1963)

Directed by: Elia Kazan
PHOTOGRAPHY: Haskell Wexler
Synopsis:

This film is based on Kazan’s book inspired by the travels of his uncle, who immigrated to New York from Turkey. Growing up in a small village at the end of the 19th century as a member of a Greek minority constantly terrorized by the Turkish majority, the young man is aware that he has little chance in life. Therefore his father gives him the family’s treasure and sends him to Constantinople. But the boy’s true wish is to go even farther away: America.

b/w, 174’

Last Tycoon

(1976)

Directed by: Elia Kazan
PHOTOGRAPHY: Victor J. Kemper
Synopsis:

This is Kazan’s last film and a story about cinema in the 1930s with an impressive list of actors including Robert De Niro as the chief of a film studio, Monroe Stahr; Tony Curtis and Robert Mitchum, who represent the business side of the film world without any affinity for art; Jack Nicholson as a screenwriter, and many others.

35 mm, b/w and color, 123 min

Baby Doll

(USA, 1956)

Directed by: Elia Kazan
PHOTOGRAPHY: Boris Kaufman
Synopsis:

Sredovječni Archie Lee Meighan vlasnik je propale tvornice za preradu pamuka u malom mjestu u delti rijeke Mississippi, netrpeljiv, grub i ne osobito inteligentan čovjek koji posljednje dvije godine živi u braku s privlačnom ali praznoglavom djevicom Baby Doll. Tu je i njezina ekscentrična tetka Rose, a Archie i Baby Doll svoj brak još nisu konzumirali zbog želje njezina oca, koji leži na samrti. Archie je puncu obećao da suprugu neće dodirnuti dok ona ne napuni 20 godina, što će s...

b/w, 114’

Splendor in the Grass

(USA, 1961)

Directed by: Elia Kazan
PHOTOGRAPHY: Boris Kaufman
Synopsis:

Provincijski gradić u američkoj državi Kansas tijekom kasnih dvadesetih godina 20. stoljeća. Privlačna Wilma Dean Loomis siromašna je srednjoškolka koja se zaljubi u naočitog Buda Stampera, sina bogatog i utjecajnog Acea Stampera, ujedno i vrlo popularnog učenika. I Bud voli Wilmu, no ona smatra da joj on osjećaje ne uzvraća dovoljno snažno i da se prema njoj ne ponaša onako kako bi trebao. Dok Wilmina majka vođena strogim religioznim odgojem i stavovima drži da joj kći do u...

color, 124’

A Streetcar Named Desire

(USA, 1951)

Directed by: Elia Kazan
PHOTOGRAPHY: Harry Stradling Sr.
Synopsis:

Francuska četvrt New Orleansa tijekom nesigurnih godina nakon Drugog svjetskog rata. Južnjakinja Blanche DuBois osiromašena je nekadašnja aristokratkinja, krhka i neurotična sredovječna žena koja očajnički traga za svojim mjestom u svijetu. Pokušavajući pobjeći od svoje prošlosti obilježene teškom ovisnošću o alkoholu, gubitkom naslijeđene plantaže i zavođenjem maloljetnika, Blanche stiže u posjet svojoj mlađoj sestri Stelli Kowalski. Ona je udana za nao...

b/w, 122’

Gentleman’s Agreement

(USA, 1947)

Directed by: Elia Kazan
PHOTOGRAPHY: Arthur C. Miller
Synopsis:

Markantni novinar Philip Schuyler Green udovac je koji se s malodobnim sinom Tommyjem i majkom upravo doselio u New York. Kad ga novi šef John Minify, izdavač progresivnog lista Smith Weekly´s u kojem piše, zamoli da napiše tekst o antisemitizmu, Philip je isprva nesiguran glede načina na koji bi mogao pristupiti temi. No onda se dosjeti novog pristupa u kojem će se, jer ga u New Yorku još nitko ne zna, pretvarati da je Židov, pod dijelom izmijenjenim imenom Phi...

b/w, 118’

East of Eden

(USA, 1956)

Directed by: Elia Kazan
PHOTOGRAPHY: Ted D. McCord
Synopsis:

Gradić Salinas u sjevernoj Kaliforniji netom prije izbijanja Prvog svjetskog rata. U mjestu čiji su stanovnici posvećeni poljoprivredi, poduzetnik Adam Trask trpi poslovne gubitke. Njegovi sinovi Caleb zvan Cal i Aron međusobno se potpuno razlikuju, odrastaju uz religijom opsjednutog oca, a Adam je mnogo naklonjeniji Aronu. Cal je izuzetno emotivan mladić koji nakon davne majčine pogibije odrasta bez ljubavi oca čiju naklonost na sve načine pokušava pridobiti, a u sjeni uspješnijeg...

color, 118’

A Face in the Crowd

(USA, 1957)

Directed by: Elia Kazan
PHOTOGRAPHY: Gayne Rescher, Harry Stradling Sr.
Synopsis:

Negdje u ruralnom području Arkansasa tijekom druge polovice 50-ih godina skitnicu i alkoholičara Larryja Rhodesa iz zatvora, a nakon uhićenja zbog pijanstva, izvuče radijska producentica Marcia Jeffries. Marcia radi na radijskoj postaji KGRK koju u gradiću Pickettu u Arkansasu vodi njezin ujak J.B. Jeffries, a Larry, koji je pjevač i gitarist, zanimljiv joj je zbog svog oporog glasa, neobičnog šarma, preferiranja jednostavnog života i sklonosti narodskom humoru. Nakon što mu Marcia...

b/w, 126’

Wild River

(USA, 1960)

Directed by: Elia Kazan
PHOTOGRAPHY: Ellsworth Fredericks
Synopsis:

Mjesto Garthville u dolini rijeke Tennessee tijekom listopada 1933. godine, nakon što je predsjednik Roosevelt u sklopu New Deala pred Kongresom pokrenuo program spašavanja doline od poplava velike rijeke. Program predviđa izgradnju niza brana koje bi trebale regulirati tok rijeke i većinom siromašnom stanovništvu donijeti bolji život. Za provođenje programa zadužen je vladin službenik Chuck Glover, dobrodušan i idealizmom vođen momak koji dio stanovništ...

b/w and color, 110’
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