Paul Mazursky

25.04.1930, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA - 30.06.2014, Los Angeles, USA


Paul Mazursky was an American actor, director, screenwriter and producer, in the opinion of many critics the author who was most successful in catching the spirit of the 1970’s in America on film. He was born in a Jewish family in New York as Irwin Lawrence Mazursky. He graduated from a college in Brooklyn and started to act during his studies. He studied acting with Lee Strasberg and began his film career as an actor. He got his first role at the age of twenty three in the war drama Fear and Desire (1953) by Stanley Kubrick. When they were doing the opening credits, he had to confirm his name and then decided to change his name to Paul, which he afterwards continued to use. Two years later he had a smaller role in the drama Blackboard Jungle (1955) by Richard Brooks, and for the next ten years continued to act in smaller roles in many TV series. For a while he worked as a stand-up comedian and in 1959, he moved to Los Angeles and studied film. Even though he had many small roles, he never really was much respected as an actor. In his own films he had small parts or cameos. Some of the films directed by others in which he acted are the musical drama A Star Is Born (1976), crime comedy A Man, a Woman and a Bank (1979), comedy Punchline (1988), biographical drama Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998), romantic comedy Man Trouble (1992), crime drama Carlito's Way (1993) by Brian De Palma, romantic drama Love Affair (1994), comedy Miami Rhapsody (1995), crime comedy 2 Days in the Valley (1996) and romantic comedy I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With (2006). One of his last roles on TV was the role of Mel Brooks’ assistant (who was his good friend in real life) in several episodes of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm (2004 and 2009). He made his directing debut in 1962, filming the short parody of Resnais’ feature film Last Year at Marienbad that he renamed Year at Malibu (1962). At the same he started to write screenplays together with Larry Tucker whom he met during his stand-up performances. At first they worked on screenplays for TV series and later for Paul’s films. The first feature film that Paul wrote the screenplay for was the romantic drama I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968) directed by Hy Averback and starring Peter Sellers. Afterwards he directed his feature film debut Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (196.). His portrayal of two contemporary married couples’ love life was very successful with the audiences and the critics and was nominated for an Oscar as Best Original Screenplay. His next film was the Hollywood satire Alex in Wonderland (1970) starring Donald Sutherland and Ellen Burstyn. The film did badly at the box offices and Mazursky went to Rome for a while. Three years later he returned to the topic of love and marriage in Blume in Love (1973) that takes place in Los Angeles. His next success was the road film Harry And Tonto (19749, which was again nominated for an Oscar in the category Best Original Screenplay. The next film with autobiographical elements was Next Stop Greenwich Village, (1975) about an actor who tries to make it in New York. Afterwards he made one of his most famous films, An Unmarried Woman (1978) that was nominated for an Oscar in the category Best Film and Best Original Screenplay. He made an homage to Francois Truffaut with the remake of his Jules & Jim when he directed Willie & Phil (1980) whose story takes place in New York. The film was not successful and his next project was the adaptation of Shakespeare’s play Tempest (1982) set in modern time. His next success was the popular comedy Moscow on the Hudson (1984) starring Robin Williams and Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986) starring Nick Nolte. Political parody set in a made up country Moon over Parador (1988) was less successful. An interesting detail is that after the actress he planned for this role was not available, with the help of a make-up artist Mazursky himself played the mother of the dictator in this film. His last film from the 1908’s was the adaptation of the novel Enemies: A Love Story (1989), for which he was, for the last time in his career, nominated for an Oscar in the category Best Adapted Screenplay. In the 1990’s he did not achieve similar success as in the previous decades and in general directs less. He directed the comedy Scenes from a Mall (1991) starring Bette Midler and Woody Allen. The satire The Pickle (1993) is the last one for which he wrote the screenplay. His last feature film was the crime comedy Faithful (1996) starring Cher, Ryan O'Neal and Chazz Palminteri (Mazursky was also the co-screenwriter based on his own play). His next two films were made for television, biopic Winchell (1998) and drama Coast to Coast (2003). The documentary Yippee (2006) about pilgrimage of Jews to Ukraine is his last work as a director. He wrote the autobiography Show Me the Magic (1999) in which he describes, among other, the experience of working on films with many famous colleagues. From 2011 to 2014, he wrote film reviews for the Vanity Fair magazine. In December of 2013, he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Redateljska filmografija:
Yippee (2006)
Coast to Coast (2003) (TV)
Winchell (1998) (TV)
Faithful (1996)
The Pickle (1993)
Scenes from a Mall (1991)
Enemies: A Love Story (1989)
Mjesec iza Paradora (Moon Over Parador, 1988)
Klošar s Beverly Hillsa (Down and Out in Beverly Hills, 1986)
Moskva na Hudsonu (Moscow on the Hudson, 1984)
Oluja (Tempest, 1982)
Willie & Phil (1980)
Slobodna žena (An Unmarried Woman, 1978)
Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976)
Harry and Tonto (1974)
Blume in Love (1973)
Alex u zemlji čuda (Alex in Wonderland, 1970)
Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)
Prošle godine u Malibuu (Last Year at Malibu, 1962) (kratkometražni)

Films by this director

An Unmarried Woman


Directed by: Paul Mazursky
PHOTOGRAPHY: Arthur J. Ornitz

After sixteen years of marriage. Erica’s husband leaves her for a younger woman he has recently met. Realizing that she is on her own from now on, Erica tries to cope with the new situation and find her own identity after years of being a mother and wife. She soon meets new men and goes out on dates, but this time she is more self-confident and careful. For this role, Jill Clayburgh won the award as Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival.

35 mm, color, 124 min

Harry And Tonto


Directed by: Paul Mazursky
PHOTOGRAPHY: Michael C. Butler

This is a road film whose heroes are a seventy-year old retired man and his cat. When the building in which the old man has lived all his life, gets torn down because there will be a parking lot built there, Harry takes Tonto and moves to his son’s in the suburbs. That is not a permanent solution but since he has free time, he decides to visit his daughter in Chicago. While the man and his cat change vehicles in which they travel, they meet new people and see different places. Even though befo...

color, 35 mm, 115 min

Next Stop Greenwich Village


Directed by: Paul Mazursky
PHOTOGRAPHY: Arthur J. Ornitz

The film portrays the bohemian lives of young people in the Greenwich Village in the 1950’s. Larry moves there partly to escape from his overprotecting Jewish mother Faye and partly to try to become an actor. Between acting classes and going to auditions, working in a bar and love problems with his girlfriend Sarah, he hangs out with a colorful group of his friends including the suicidal Annie, zany Connie, poet and womanizer Robert and an openly gay Bernstein.

color, 35 mm, 111 min

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

(USA, 1969)

Directed by: Paul Mazursky

Nakon što sa suprugom Carol u jednom institutu nazoči skupnoj terapiji koja služi kao pozadina za uvodne scene jednog filma, redatelj dokumentarnih filmova Bob Sanders zajedno s Carol po povratku u Los Angeles donese radikalnu odluku. Ne samo što će njih dvoje početi prakticirati otvoreni brak, nego će i svoje najbolje prijatelje, skeptične supružnike Teda i Alice Henderson, početi kažnjavati zbog njihove neprosvijećenosti. Naime, osim što im se koncept otvorenog braka čini...

color, 105'
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