Movie Details

Film director George Cukor (1899-1983) gets the American Masters treatment in this documentary from the acclaimed PBS series. Few directors from Hollywood's Golden Age can match the list of Cukor's achievements, which included What Price Hollywood, David Copperfield, Camille, Holiday, The Philadelphia Story, The Women, A Double Life, Adam's Rib, Born Yesterday, Pat and Mike, and the 1954 version of A Star Is Born, essentially the same story as What Price Hollywood. Even after the studio system broke up, Cukor continued making films right into the 1980s, though their quality began to vary widely. He did win his first and only Oscar in 1965 for My Fair Lady, though in retrospect, that film is not in the first rank of his filmography. Cukor's reputation in Hollywood was as a ladies' director, and few filmmakers can match his track record for drawing superb performances from actresses. The film does address the subtext of that reputation, Cukor's homosexuality, which was well-known in Hollywood during his lifetime, though not openly discussed in his public interviews. It allegedly led to his dismissal from directing Gone With the Wind after star Clark Gable insisted on having him replaced. Cukor was also one of the film community's most genial hosts, his dinner parties bringing together the most glamorous denizens of Hollywood. Both critics and historians, including Jeanine Basinger, David Denby, Richard Schickel, and Peter Bogdanovich, attest to Cukor's importance in motion pictures, and several of his collaborators and friends, including Angela Lansbury, Jack Lemmon, Mia Farrow, Fay Kanin, Shelley Winters, and Claire Bloom, offer insights into his working methods. Jean Simmons narrates. ~ Tom Wiener, Rovi