Biography

Some praised the American films of German director Curtis Bernhardt as "women's pictures"; others derided them as "weepers." Trained for an acting career at Frankfurt-am-Main's State School for Dramatic Arts, Bernhardt was a theatrical performer and producer in Berlin before turning to directing films with 1926's Die Was von Lowood, a Gernan version of Jane Eyre. In 1929, he helmed UFA studio's first talking picture, Die Letzte Kompagnie. Exiting Germany when Hitler came to power, Bernhardt directed films in France and England before being signed by Hollywood's Warner Bros. in 1940. Among the formidable female stars with which Bernhardt was associated during his Warners years were Miriam Hopkins (The Lady With Red Hair, 1940), Olivia de Havilland and Ida Lupino (Devotion, 1946), Barbara Stanwyck (My Reputation, 1946), Bette Davis (A Stolen Life, 1946) and Joan Crawford (Possessed). In the 1950s, Bernhardt directed Jane Wyman in The Blue Veil (1952), Rita Hayworth in Columbia's Miss Sadie Thompson (1954) and Lana Turner in MGM's The Merry Widow (1955). After a brief flurry of filmmaking in Europe in the early 1960s, Curtis Bernhardt produced and directed one last Hollywood picture in 1964: Kisses for My President, a Polly Bergen/Fred MacMurray vehicle all about the nation's first female Chief Executive. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi