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 Rouben Mamoulian

Rouben Mamoulian

Birth
Tbilisi, Tbilisi, Georgia
Death 4 Dec 1987 (aged 90)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Ascension Garden, Lot 9329
Memorial ID 4119 · View Source
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Motion Picture and Theatre Director. The son of an Armenian banker, he was born in Tiflis (now Tbilisi), Georgia, Russia. He initially studied criminology at the University of Moscow and then trained as an actor at the famed Moscow Art Theatre. In 1922 he toured England with the Russian Repertory Theatre and decided to remain in the West. He came to the United States the following year. After directing opera at the George Eastman Theatre in Rochester, New York from 1923 to 1926, Mamoulian headed for Broadway and scored a hit with the Theatre Guild production of DuBose Heyward's "Porgy" (1927). In this and in his other stage work of the 1920s, he developed an original approach that emphasized strong rhythmic movement and stylized expression over realism. With the arrival of sound films Hollywood began importing Broadway stars and directors by the trainload; Mamoulian was among those summoned, although he had no experience in the medium. But even critics familiar with his inventive theatre work were stunned by his debut feature, "Applause" (1929). The script (about an aging showgirl who sacrifices herself for her daughter) was trite, but in style and technical accomplishment the film was revolutionary. At a time when the American cinema had been rendered static and dull by clumsy early talkie methods, Mamoulian restored the visual mobility of the silent era with sweeping tracking shots and proved the feasibility of dubbing and overlapping sound. His innovations quickly became industry standards. He continued his experiments with his second film, the gangster drama "City Streets" (1931), which applied the montage theory to an impressionistic use of sound. Over the next decade Mamoulian cemented his screen reputation with "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1932), considered by many as the best adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson tale, with its subjective camera and Oscar-winning turn by Fredric March in the title roles; "Love Me Tonight" (1932), a dazzling musical set to a Rodgers and Hart score; "Queen Christina" (1933), featuring one of Greta Garbo's finest performances; "Becky Sharp" (1935), the first feature shot in full Technicolor; the boxing drama "Golden Boy" (1939), which made William Holden a star; and two rousing, colorful Tyrone Power vehicles, "The Mark of Zorro" (1940) and "Blood and Sand" (1941). A headstrong, uncompromising artist, Mamoulian never really embraced the Tinseltown establishment and often clashed with studio bosses over creative control. After 1942 he completed only two films, "Summer Holiday" (1948) and "Silk Stockings" (1957). He was fired from the set of "Laura" (1944), sent packing from the screen version of "Porgy and Bess" (1959), and replaced early in the shooting of "Cleopatra" (1963). It was perhaps an indication of his "outsider" status in Hollywood that he was never nominated for an Academy Award. Throughout his tumultuous movie career Mamoulian continued directing for the theatre. His notable stage productions include "A Farewell to Arms" (1930), the premieres of George Gershwin's opera "Porgy and Bess" (1935) and the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals "Oklahoma!" (1943) and "Carousel" (1945), "Sadie Thompson" (1944), "Lost in the Stars" (1949), and "Arms and the Girl" (1950). In the 1960s he turned to writing and published a children's story, "Abigayil" (1964), and a drama textbook, "Hamlet Revised and Interpreted" (1965). Mamoulian received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Directors Guild of America in 1982.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 7 Dec 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 4119
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rouben Mamoulian (8 Oct 1897–4 Dec 1987), Find A Grave Memorial no. 4119, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .