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    Movie, TV & Stage Directors

    Although directors are often "invisible" to the audience in plays, shows, and movies (Alfred Hitchcock and his film cameos being one notable exception), they play an important role by controlling the evolution of the theatrical or dramatic performance. When there are actors involved, the director often oversees and shapes their performances as well. Although the auteur theory holds that the director is the major creative force in a performance, the role of the director actually varies a great deal, not only according to the medium in question but also according to the extent to which he works with actors.

    Movie, TV & Stage Directors Encyclopedia Articles

    Featured Articles

    Kathryn Bigelow
    Kathryn Bigelow, American film director and screenwriter, noted for action films that often featured protagonists struggling with inner conflict. She was the first woman to win an Academy Award for best director, for The Hurt Locker (2008). Bigelow studied painting at the San Francisco Art...
    Biography
    Kathryn Bigelow
    Sarah Polley
    Sarah Polley, Canadian actor, director, writer, and producer. One of Canada’s most-talented and best-known actors, Polley was also an acclaimed director and a political activist. As a child actor, her natural and unaffected performances on television series such as CBC’s Road to Avonlea (1990–96)...
    Biography
    Sarah Polley
    Lina Wertmüller
    Lina Wertmüller, Italian film director and screenwriter noted for her comedies focusing on the eternal battle of the sexes and on contemporary political and social issues. In 1977 she became the first woman to receive an Academy Award nomination for best director. Wertmüller graduated from the...
    Biography
    Norman Taurog
    Norman Taurog, American director of some 80 feature films, many of which were comedies, including a number with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, and musicals, nine of which starred Elvis Presley. However, arguably his best-known movie was the drama Boys Town (1938). Taurog acted onstage when he was a...
    Biography
    Boys Town
    Michael Curtiz
    Michael Curtiz, Hungarian-born American motion-picture director whose prolific output as a contract director for Warner Brothers was composed of many solid but run-of-the-mill genre films along with a string of motion picture classics that included Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), Casablanca (1942),...
    Biography
    Michael Curtiz
    Nancy Meyers
    Nancy Meyers, American writer, director, and producer who was best known for her romantic comedies, several of which centre on middle-aged women. Meyers grew up in the Philadelphia area. After studying journalism at American University (B.A., 1970), she moved to Los Angeles to begin a career in the...
    Biography
    Nancy Meyers
    John Huston
    John Huston, American motion-picture director, writer, and actor whose taut dramas were among the most popular Hollywood films from the early 1940s to the mid-1980s. Many of his films were literary adaptations or tough action tales with an existential spin. Indeed, his own life—in which Huston...
    Biography
    Huston, John; The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    Steven Spielberg
    Steven Spielberg, American motion-picture director and producer whose diverse films—which ranged from science-fiction fare, including such classics as Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), to historical dramas, notably Schindler’s List (1993) and Saving...
    Biography
    Steven Spielberg
    Frank Capra
    Frank Capra, American motion-picture director who was the most prominent filmmaker of the 1930s, during which he won three Academy Awards as best director. His most-beloved films, many of which were made during the Great Depression, were patriotic sentimental celebrations of virtuous everymen who...
    Biography
    Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
    William Wyler
    William Wyler, German-born American director of motion pictures that combined a high degree of technical polish with a clear narrative style and sensitive handling of human relationships. Most of his feature films were so-called prestige pictures based on novels or plays. Wyler was a perfectionist...
    Biography
    William Wyler
    Alfred Hitchcock
    Alfred Hitchcock, English-born American motion-picture director whose suspenseful films and television programs won immense popularity and critical acclaim over a long and tremendously productive career. His films are marked by a macabre sense of humour and a somewhat bleak view of the human...
    Biography
    Alfred Hitchcock
    Robert Altman
    Robert Altman, unconventional and independent American motion-picture director, whose works emphasize character and atmosphere over plot in exploring themes of innocence, corruption, and survival. Perhaps his best-known film was his first and biggest commercial success, the antiwar comedy M*A*S*H...
    Biography
    Robert Altman.
    Penny Marshall
    Penny Marshall, American actress, comedian, and director, one of the first women to achieve consistent commercial success as a motion picture director. Marshall was the daughter of a dance teacher and an industrial filmmaker. She first performed with her mother’s dance group, the Marshallettes....
    Biography
    Laverne and Shirley
    Mervyn LeRoy
    Mervyn LeRoy, American motion-picture director whose wide variety of films included dramas, romances, epics, comedies, and musicals. He also produced films, including the classic The Wizard of Oz (1939). After the LeRoy family home was destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, LeRoy earned...
    Biography
    Taviani brothers
    Taviani brothers, Italian brothers and filmmakers who combined the social concerns and documentary effects of Neorealism with modernist concerns for outstanding, often poetic, visual and aural effects. The notable films of Paolo Taviani (b. November 8, 1931, San Miniato, near Pisa, Italy) and...
    Biography
    Fleischer brothers
    Fleischer brothers, American brothers, producers of animated cartoons featuring such characters as Betty Boop and Popeye. Producer Max Fleischer (b. July 19, 1883, Vienna, Austria—d. Sept. 11, 1972, Woodland Hills, Calif., U.S.) and director Dave Fleischer (b. July 14, 1894, New York, N.Y., U.S.—d....
    Biography
    Sofia Coppola
    Sofia Coppola, American film director, producer, screenwriter, and fashion designer known best for her films The Virgin Suicides (1999) and Lost in Translation (2003). In 2004 she was the first American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award in the category of best director. Coppola is the...
    Biography
    Sofia Coppola
    Coen brothers
    Coen brothers, American filmmakers known for their stylish films that combine elements of comedy and drama and often centre on eccentric characters and convoluted plots. Though both brothers contributed to all phases of the filmmaking process, Joel Coen (b. November 29, 1955, St. Louis Park,...
    Biography
    Joel and Ethan Coen, 2011.
    Albert and David Maysles
    Albert and David Maysles, American documentary filmmakers who worked in a cinema verité style that was sensitive and compassionate as well as revelatory. The Maysles brothers grew up in Dorchester and later in Brookline, Massachusetts. Albert studied psychology at Syracuse University, graduating in...
    Biography
    Woody Allen
    Woody Allen, American motion-picture director, screenwriter, actor, comedian, playwright, and author, best known for his bittersweet comic films containing elements of parody, slapstick, and the absurd but who also made weighty dramas, often with dark themes and bleak landscapes reminiscent of the...
    Biography
    Woody Allen
    Merchant and Ivory
    Merchant and Ivory, producer–director team known for their richly textured cinematography and ability to evoke brilliant performances from some of the world’s finest actors. Producer Ismail (Noormohamed) Merchant (b. December 25, 1936, Bombay [now Mumbai], India—d. May 25, 2005, London, England)...
    Biography
    Billy Wilder
    Billy Wilder, Austrian-born American motion-picture scenarist, director, and producer known for films that humorously treat subjects of controversy and offer biting indictments of hypocrisy in American life. His work often focused on subjects that had previously been considered unacceptable screen...
    Biography
    Billy Wilder and Kim Novak
    Vincente Minnelli
    Vincente Minnelli, American motion-picture director who infused a new sophistication and vitality into filmed musicals in the 1940s and ’50s. He was born to Italian-born musician Vincent Minnelli and French Canadian singer Mina Le Beau and given the less exotic name of Lester Anthony Minnelli;...
    Biography
    filming of The Bad and the Beautiful
    Hanna and Barbera
    Hanna and Barbera, American motion-picture animators and partners in Hanna-Barbera Productions, founded in 1957. William Hanna (in full William Denby Hanna; b. July 14, 1910, Melrose, New Mexico, U.S.—d. March 22, 2001, Hollywood, California) and Joseph Barbera (in full Joseph Roland Barbera; b....
    Biography
    William Hanna (left) and Joseph Barbera posing with some of their cartoon characters, 1988.
    Orson Welles
    Orson Welles, American motion-picture actor, director, producer, and writer. His innovative narrative techniques and use of photography, dramatic lighting, and music to further the dramatic line and to create mood made his Citizen Kane (1941)—which he wrote, directed, produced, and acted in—one of...
    Biography
    Orson Welles
    Francis Ford Coppola
    Francis Ford Coppola, American motion-picture director, writer, and producer whose films range from sweeping epics to small-scale character studies. As the director of films such as The Godfather (1972), The Conversation (1974), and Apocalypse Now (1979), he enjoyed his greatest success and...
    Biography
    Francis Ford Coppola directing The Godfather: Part II
    Howard Hawks
    Howard Hawks, American motion-picture director who maintained a consistent personal style within the framework of traditional film genres in work that ranged from the 1920s to the ’70s. Although his films starred some of the American film industry’s most notable actors and were almost unremittingly...
    Biography
    filming of Rio Bravo
    Raoul Walsh
    Raoul Walsh, American motion-picture director popular in the 1930s and 1940s for his tough, masculine films. As a young man, Walsh worked a variety of jobs in Mexico and Texas. His acting career began in 1907 when he performed onstage in San Antonio. Shortly thereafter he returned to New York...
    Biography
    High Sierra
    Jane Campion
    Jane Campion, New Zealand director and screenwriter whose films often focused on women who are outsiders in society. Although both her parents were involved in New Zealand theatre, Campion initially chose a different direction, earning a B.A. (1975) in anthropology from the Victoria University of...
    Biography
    Jane Campion
    Martin Scorsese
    Martin Scorsese, American filmmaker known for his harsh, often violent depictions of American culture. From the 1970s Scorsese created a body of work that was ambitious, bold, and brilliant. But even his most acclaimed films are demanding, sometimes unpleasantly intense dramas that have enjoyed...
    Biography
    Martin Scorsese

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