Biography

In his landmark 1968 book The American Cinema, which detailed the "personal stamp" of several hundred movie directors, critic Andrew Sarris ended one such assessment with the query "Who is David Miller?" Indeed, if one were looking for an inkling of individuality in any of his Hollywood films, one would come to the conclusion that there was no director named David Miller. Apparently his foremost talent was an easygoing temperament and an ability to get along with anyone he was working with. This is certainly the principal reason that Miller was hired to direct the contentious Marx Brothers in Love Happy (1949); while the film was unsucceesful, it resulted in a lifelong friendship between Miller and Harpo Marx. Similarly, Miller practiced his invisible-man technique on such Hollywood heavyweights as Joan Crawford (Sudden Fear [1952]), Doris Day (Midnight Lace [1960]) and Kirk Douglas (Lonely are the Brave [1961]); each of these films is an excellent star showcase, and each seems to have directed itself. Kirk Douglas appears to have been the only actor to openly clash with Miller, but for Douglas that was nothing unusual. Extraordinarily adaptable, Miller tackled such genres as the psychodrama (Captain Newman MD [1963]), the spy caper (Hammerhead [1968]) and the conspiracy thriller (Executive Action [1973]), never betraying the slightest "David Miller touch" in any of these projects. David Miller retired quietly in 1976, as anonymous as ever in his handling of his final feature Bittersweet Love (1976). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi