American Masters: Season 15, Episode 3

On Cukor (22 Nov. 2000)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary, Biography, History
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Widely thought of as "a woman's director," legendary film director George Cukor is profiled in this "American Masters" 2000 documentary narrated by Jean Simmons and featuring clips from ... See full summary »

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Title: On Cukor (22 Nov 2000)

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Episode credited cast:
Himself (archive footage)
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gene Allen ...
Jeanine Basinger ...
Walter Bernstein ...
David Denby ...
Tucker Fleming ...


Widely thought of as "a woman's director," legendary film director George Cukor is profiled in this "American Masters" 2000 documentary narrated by Jean Simmons and featuring clips from such beloved classics as "Dinner at Eight," "David Copperfield," "The Women," "The Philadelphia Story," "Little Women," "Camille," "Born Yesterday," "Gaslight," "Adam's Rib," "A Double Life," "A Star is Born," and his Oscar-winning "My Fair Lady." The documentary uses film clips and interviews with Cukor's friends and colleagues including director Peter Bogdanovich, critic Richard Schickel, writer Fay Kanin, and Cukor's biographer Gavin Lambert himself as well as actors Mia Farrow, Shelley Winters, Angela Lansbury, Jack Lemmon and Claire Bloom to provide a picture of the director's unique accomplishments and to trace the arc of his career. As for his private life, the discreet director remains silent, and despite the film's references to his gay poolside parties at his Hollywood home, intimate friends ... Written by alfiehitchie

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22 November 2000 (USA)  »

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intelligence, sophistication and wit
4 January 2005 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

This documentary on George Cukor is informative without displaying much depth, given the length of Cukor's career and the 90 minute duration. (The DVD additional interviews featured as an extra feature are actually more amusing than those in the film itself).

Cukor's homosexuality is noted, as is his infamous Sunday men only parties. However the Clark Gable rumor as to why he was really fired from Gone With The Wind is absent, and we are told that Cukor sadly never had a significant other. (The GWTW firing is said here to be due to David O Selznick's megalomania and Cukor's objections to his on-set interference).

Apart from film clips and interviews, we also see Paulette Goddard's screen test for GWTW, home movies of Hepburn and Tracy, behind the scenes footage from Sylvia Scarlett, and Joan Crawford announcing his 1962 Oscar for My Fair Lady.

Some interesting points raised are how Judy Garland was partially responsible for the idea of the Born In A Trunk sequence being added to A Star Is Born, which Cukor was against, and which lengthened it to become cut.

Although we are told Cukor hated the label "women's director" which stuck to him, general opinion is that A Star Is Born is his masterpiece, and his 50 year 10 film relationship with Hepburn is a cinematic record of collaboration.

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