Biography

Every so often, some well-meaning film historian draws up a list of famous female directors. On occasion, the name of Marion Gering sneaks onto that list--even though the Russo-Polish Gering was, in the words of critic Andrew Sarris, a "certified male." Born in Russia, Gering began his stage career there. He came to the U.S. in 1924; shortly thereafter he established the Chicago Play Producing Company, an experimental theatrical troupe. After directing on Broadway, Gering was brought to Hollywood during the early stages of the talkie revolution. Under contract to Paramount, Gering directed such formidable leading ladies as Carole Lombard (I Take This Woman [1931]), Tallulah Bankhead (Devil and the Deep [1932], which was also Charles Laughton's first American film) and Sylvia Sidney (Madame Butterfly [1932]). His films were serviceable if lacking in style; they were ideal "star vehicles," directed so unobtrusively that attention would never be taken away from the leading man or woman. In 1937, Gering travelled to England to direct the Edward G. Robinson vehicle Thunder in the City. Later on, when his Hollywood career had dried up, Marion Gering would again set up shop overseas, directing and co-producing the Cuban Sarumba (1950) and the Japanese-Italian Violated Paradise (1963). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi