Edward Dmytryk Biography

(Film Director)

Birthday: September 4, 1908 (Virgo)

Born In: Grand Forks, British Columbia, Canada

Edward Dmytryk was a Canadian-born American film director who became famous for film noir in the 1940s. He was a great director and film editor who had made many movies of different genres during his career that spread over more than forty years. Some of these were super hits for which he is still remembered today. He was named as a Communist sympathizer by a fellow film director Sam Wood. Dmytryk refused to answer the questions put to him by the infamous ‘House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)’ and was blacklisted by the Congress along with nine others from working in Hollywood. He moved to England but had to come back to America to renew his passport, was arrested and sent to prison by the Congress for six months. To save his family and his career he agreed to testify in front of HUAC for which he was never forgiven by a large number of actors, actresses, scriptwriters and others who had been affected by the draconian laws passed during the McCarthy Era. Though his reputation as a person remained under cloud for as long as he lived, he directed a large number of great movies after coming out of the HUAC incident.
Quick Facts

Canadian Celebrities Born In September

Died At Age: 90


Spouse/Ex-: Jean Porter (1948–99; his death; 3 children), Madeleine Robinson (1932–47; divorced; 1 son)

father: Michael Dmytryk

mother: Frances Berezowski

children: Michael, Rebecca, Richard, Victoria

Born Country: Canada

Directors American Men

Died on: July 1, 1999

place of death: Encino, Los Angeles, California, United States

Childhood & Early Life
Edward Dmytryk was born in Grand Forks, British Columbia, Canada on September 4, 1908.
His father was a Ukrainian immigrant named Michael Dmytryk and his mother was Frances Berezowski. He had three siblings. One of his brothers was Arthur while his step-mother was Clara Mertz.
The family moved to Los Angeles, California after his mother’s death in 1913.
He did his schooling from the ‘Hollywood High School’ in Hollywood, California.
In 1923, at the age of 14, he ran away from home and started working as a messenger and office boy at the ‘Famous-Lasky Studios’. He also learnt how to splice films and operate the projector.
He received a scholarship to study film making at the ‘California Institute of Technology’ but could not continue beyond his freshman year and returned to his old studio which had been renamed as ‘Paramount Pictures’.
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Edward Dmytryk became an editor after returning to Paramount Pictures and edited the films ‘Only Saps Work’ in 1930, ‘The Royal Family of Broadway’ in 1931, ‘College Rhythm’ and ‘Belle of Nineties’ in 1934 and ‘Ruggles of Red Gap’ in 1935.
His directing debut was with the western movie ‘The Hawk’ in 1935.
In 1936 he edited ‘Too Many Parents’, ‘Easy to Take’ ‘Three Cheers for Love’ and ‘Three Married Men’.
In 1937 he directed his second film ‘The Trail of the Hawk’ and went back to editing with ‘Murder Goes to College’, ‘Turn Off the Moon’, ‘Double or Nothing’ and ‘Hold ‘Em Navy!’ all in 1937, ‘Bulldog Drummonds Peril’ and ‘Prison Farm’ in 1938, ‘Some Like it Hot’, ‘Love Affair’ and ‘Zaza’ in 1939.
He was not credited for ‘Million Dollar Legs’ in 1939 though he completed it within schedule when its actual director Nick Grindle was dumped by ‘Paramount’.
He directed some B-films such as ‘Television Spy’ in 1939, ‘Emergency Squad’, ‘Her First Romance’, ‘Golden Gloves’ and ‘Mystery Sea Raider’ in 1940, ‘Secrets of the Lone Wolf’, ‘Under Age’ and ‘Sweetheart of the Campus’ in 1941.
He left ‘Paramount’ and joined ‘Columbia Pictures’ in 1940 where he made seven B-films in one year including ‘The Devils Commands’ in 1941, ‘The Blonde from Singapore’ in 1941, ‘Confessions of Boston Blackie’ and ‘Counter Espionage’ in 1942.
In 1942 he moved to ‘RKO’ and made thrillers like ‘Captive Wild Woman’, ‘Behind The Rising Sun’, ‘The Falcon Strikes Back’, ‘Seven Miles from Alcatraz’ in 1943, and a wartime propaganda film ‘Hitler’s Children’ in 1943.
His first A-film was ‘Tender Comrade’ in 1944 with touches of leftist rhetoric that landed him into trouble later during the McCarthy Era.
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His next film ‘Murder, My Sweet’ in 1944 and a thriller ‘Cornered’ in 1945 were made in collaboration with screen writer John Paxton and producer Adrian Scott.
His next films, wartime saga ‘Back to Bataan’ in 1945, ‘Till the End of Time’ in 1946 and ‘So Well Remembered’ in 1947 were all successful.
His directing talent peaked with ‘Crossfire’ in 1947 but his career came to an abrupt halt after the HUAC indictment.
He went to England and made the film ‘Obsession’ in 1949, and ‘Give Us This Day’ in 1950. He returned to America to renew his passport, was arrested immediately upon arrival and sent to prison for six months. He gained his freedom by agreeing to testify before HUAC.
With his new lease of life he made his next films ‘Eight Iron Men’, ‘Mutiny’ and ‘The Sniper’ in 1952, ‘The Juggler’ in 1953, ‘The Broken Lance’ and ‘Caine Mutiny’ in 1954.
He next directed ‘Soldier of Fortune’, ‘The End of The Affair’ and ‘The Left Hand of God’ in 1955, ‘The Mountain’ in 1956 and ‘Raintree County’ in 1957.
He made another war movie ‘The Young Lions’ in 1958, followed by ‘The Blue Angel’ in 1959 and the westerns ‘Warlock’ in 1959 and ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ in 1962.
These were followed by ‘The Reluctant Saint’ in 1962, a smash hit ‘The Carpetbaggers’ and a family melodrama ‘Where Love Has Gone’ in 1964. His next hit movie was a psychological thriller ‘Mirage’ and a Civil-War movie ‘Alvarez Kelly’ in 1966. It was the last film he made on American soil for the next 10 years.
He returned to England and directed the western movie ‘Shalako’ in 1968 and then went to Italy to direct another World War II drama ‘Anzio’ also in 1968.
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Dmytryk directed the thrillers ‘Bluebeard’ in 1972 and ‘The Human Factor’ in 1975.
His final direction effort was ‘He is My Brother’ in 1976 after which he retired from directing films.
After retirement he gave articulate interviews for the documentaries ‘Hollywood on Trial’ in 1976 and ’50 Years of Action’ in 1986. He also gave interviews for television documentaries ‘Hollywood: The Golden Years’ in 1988 and ‘When America Trembled: Murrow/McCarthy’ for CBS in 1994.
He spent his last years teaching film at the ‘University of Texas’ and the ‘University of South California’.
Major Works
Edward Dmytryk wrote a series of books on films which included ‘On Film Editing’, ‘On Screen Writing’ and ‘Cinema: Concept and Practice’ published in 1984, 1985 and 1988 respectively.
Awards & Achievements
Edward Dmytryk earned his only Oscar nomination for ‘Best Director’ in his entire career for ‘Crossfire’ in 1947.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married Madeline Robinson in 1932 and divorced her in 1947. He had a son, Michael J. from this marriage.
He married actress Jean Porter in May 1948 and had a son, Richard and two daughters, Victoria and Rebecca with her.
Edward Dmytryk died of heart and kidney failure in Encino, California, on July 1, 1999 at the age of 90.
Edward Dmytryk was the only one of the banished ‘Hollywood Ten’ who deposed in front of HUAC.

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