|Date of Birth||15 April 1899, Worms, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany|
|Date of Death||22 February 1981, Pacific Palisades, California, USA|
|Birth Name||Kurt Bernhardt|
Mini Bio (1)
If Curtis Bernhardt is a relative unknown, it's because he didn't direct his first Hollywood feature until 1940 at the age of 41. Bernhardt worked for years in Germany until his Jewish heritage made living there impossible by 1933-- he was arrested by the Gestapo and made a harrowing underground escape to France. With Europe plunging into war, he left for America in 1939. Despite his limited grasp of the English language, he was offered seven-year contracts at both Warner Bros. and MGM, largely on the strength of Carrefour (1938)-- which proved so enduring that it was remade as Dead Man's Shoes (1940) in the UK and as Crossroads (1942) by MGM. Most émigrés would have jumped an offer to work at MGM-- considered the "Tiffany" of film studios-- but Berhardt went with Warners, favoring that studio's reputation for hard-boiled realism. His career in Hollywood began with a false start; after working on his first assignment he fell ill and was reassigned an Olivia de Havilland vehicle, My Love Came Back (1940), that gained him good notices. Bernhardt rapidly achieved a reputation as a woman's director with occasional forays into suspense with varied results. He directed one of Humphrey Bogart's least popular films, Conflict (1945), which was burdened by ludicrous plot contrivances, but he snapped back the next year with a winner: My Reputation (1946), a melodrama starring Barbara Stanwyck. He had another misfire, however, with the critically panned Devotion (1946) and would end his contract with the studio after three more films in 1947, after which he moved briefly to MGM. Ironically, he would later look back fondly upon Warners' assembly-line production methods compared to his days at MGM, where he felt compelled to bend to the whims of its stars and serve at the behest of studio chief Louis B. Mayer. Berhardt managed to make two above-average films during his short stay at Metro, however--the suspenseful High Wall (1947) starring 'Robert Taylor (I)_ in one of his best mid-career roles, and The Doctor and the Girl (1949), starring the likable Glenn Ford.
Bernhard soon moved to RKO, which was entering its final chaotic decade, directing The Blue Veil (1951), a remake of a French film. He did a one-shot gig at Columbia, directing Bogie once again in the hopelessly set-bound Sirocco (1951), and rounded out the remainder of the 1950s back at MGM, ending his Hollywood career with the middling comedy Kisses for My President (1964) at Warners.
He retired from directing due to illness in the mid-'60s and died in 1981, age 81, at his home in Pacific Palisades, California.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jack Backstreet (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)
|Pearl Argyle||(1936 - 29 January 1947) (her death) (2 children)|
|Annemarie Bernhardt||(? - ?)|