Jean Negulesco moved to Vienna, Austria, in 1915.
He came back to Bucharest in Romania in 1919 and took up the job of a painter.
He moved to Paris, France, in the early 1920s and started the job of a stage decorator.
He left France for America in 1927, where he put some of his paintings on exhibition. He travelled across the US and paid for his journey by selling portraits on the way. He settled in California and started working as a portrait maker.
In 1932 ‘Paramount Pictures’ hired him for director Benjamin Glazer as a sketch artist and technical advisor for designing various scenes without violating the ‘Hays Code’.
In 1932 he was loaned to ‘Warner Bros’ as a second-unit director for the film ‘A Farewell to Arms’.
His first work in the film industry was to design a rape scene in the movie ‘The Story of Temple Drake’ in 1933.
He was persuaded by art critic Elie Faure to finance and direct his first experimental film ‘Three and a Day’ which starred Mischa Auer.
He started making sketches for the film industry in 1934 and slowly became a producer and then a director.
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In 1935 he again worked for ‘Warner Bros’ and directed the film ‘Captain Blood’.
He took up the job of a screenwriter and then a film director during the later part of the 1930s.
In 1940 he was signed up by ‘Warner Bros’ to make a number of short films. He became famous for using silhouettes and shadows in the shots he took.
Negulesco was given the job of directing the film ‘The Maltese Falcon’ in 1941 but was replaced by John Huston after only two months of shooting. Another of his directorial venture ‘Singapore Woman’ met the same fate in 1941.
He got a break when he was given the job of directing ‘The Mark of Dimitros’ in 1944 which was based on a novel written by Eric Ambler. The film earned ‘Warner Bros’ a huge profits.
He directed the film ‘Johnny Belinda’ in 1948. It was the story of a deaf-mute who was raped and had a baby and then killed her tormentor. It was nominated for an ‘Academy Award’ for ‘Best Director’ and the star Jane Wyman got the Oscar for ‘Best Actress’. Though ‘Warner Bros’ made almost $4 million from the film, Negulesco was fired from his job.
He took up the job of directing films for ‘20th Century Fox’ on separate contracts from 1948 to 1958. He made another film noir called ‘Road House’ in 1948 starring Ida Lupino and Richard Widmark.
He received great reviews for his war film ‘Three Came Home’ which he made in 1950. In the same year he directed Alec Guiness in the film ‘The Mudlark’ in England.
In 1953 he made ‘Titanic’ which was moderately successful and shot his first film in Cinemascope titled ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’ starring Marilyn Monroe who was at the peak of her acting career at that time.
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His film ‘Three Coins in the Fountain’, shot in Rome in 1954, was a huge success and immensely popular.
This was followed by more Cinemascope successes such as ‘Woman’s World’ in 1954, ‘Daddy Long Legs’ in 1955, ‘Boy on a Dolphin’ in 1957 which was the first film starring Sophia Loren.
His films ‘The Rains of Ranchipur’ in 1955 and ‘The Gift of Love’ were complete failures at the box office.
In the late 1960s Negulesco moved to Marbella in Spain and made three more movies ‘The Pleasure Seekers’ in 1963, ‘The Invincible Six’ in 1970 and ‘Hello-Goodbye’ in 1970 which were total write-offs.
Awards & Achievements
In 1948 Jean Negulesco received a nomination for an ‘Academy Award for Best Director’ for his film ‘Johnny Belinda’.
In 1955 he won the ‘BAFTA Award for Best Film’ for the film ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’.
His film ‘The Best of Everything’ appeared on the list of ‘Top 50 Cut Films of All Time’ which was a survey conducted by the ‘Entertainment Weekly’.
He received a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ for contributing to modern cinema.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married actress Ruth ‘Dusty’ Anderson on July 21, 1946 and stayed with her till his death.
He had two daughters from this marriage named Gaby and Tina.
Jean Negulesco died of heart failure in Marbella, Andalusia, Spain, on July 18, 1993 at the age of 93.