Robert Z. Leonard

Robert Z. Leonard

Birthday: 7 October 1889, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Birth Name: Robert Zigler Leonard
Height: 185 cm
Chicago-born Robert Z. Leonard studied law at the University of Colorado, but the legal profession proved not to be his forte and he dropped out in favor of a career in the theatre. When his family moved to Hollywood in 1907 Leonard sought work in the fledgling film industry, starting as an actor with Selig Polyscope. Though he became an establishe... Show more »
Chicago-born Robert Z. Leonard studied law at the University of Colorado, but the legal profession proved not to be his forte and he dropped out in favor of a career in the theatre. When his family moved to Hollywood in 1907 Leonard sought work in the fledgling film industry, starting as an actor with Selig Polyscope. Though he became an established star by 1916, his chief interest lay on the other side of the camera. Turning to directing from 1913, he helmed a brace of short comedy features and got his break when he was assigned a serial, The Master Key (1914), in 1914. From 1915-19 he was under contract at Universal, where he became chiefly associated with the films of his future wife, the ex-Ziegfeld Follies star Mae Murray. In 1919 Leonard and Murray founded Tiffany Productions, specifically as a means of creating suitable star vehicles for her. While the company lingered on as Tiffany-Stahl on the Talisman lot--one of the "Poverty Row" studios turning out cheap westerns and even cheaper "Chimp Comedies"' (yes, the stars were chimps and a lot cheaper to maintain than humans!)--Leonard and Murray moved on to join the newly-established Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1924.Leonard's union with the volatile Murray ended in divorce in 1925. After clashing with MGM chief Louis B. Mayer, Murray left the studio two years later. Leonard married another actress, Gertrude Olmstead, and went on to become one of the studio's most reliable contract directors for the next three decades. Fitting in perfectly with the studio system, he was part of a highly efficient team of top craftsmen under the auspices of producer Hunt Stromberg, turning out scores of musicals and light comedies. Though not generally regarded by film critics as among the top echelon of Hollywood directors, Leonard nevertheless capably handled a variety of A-grade pictures, often starring temperamental personalities. Among his most successful hits for MGM were the backstage musical Dancing Lady (1933); the opulent multi Oscar-winning musical biopic The Great Ziegfeld (1936) (completed on a budget of $2 million); all but two of the popular cycle of Nelson Eddy-Jeanette MacDonald operettas; and the stylish, witty Pride and Prejudice (1940), an adaptation of the famed Jane Austen novel, a production that typified the most lavish of MGM's post-Thalberg costume dramas. It was scripted by no less than Aldous Huxley and starred Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson.While many of his films may be dismissed for lacking artistic merit, the plain truth is that few lost money. Leonard gave the public what it wanted: he excelled at providing escapist entertainment, particularly with glossy, all-star extravaganzas like Ziegfeld Girl (1941) or Week-End at the Waldorf (1945). It was ironic, that, in 1949, he made a rare and unsuccessful foray into the genre of film noir with The Bribe (1949), an endeavor equally untypical of its studio. Starring Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner (at her most ravishing) and Vincent Price as a war surplus racketeer, the picture bombed at the box office. Producer Pandro S. Berman subsequently lamented it as "a heap of junk" that should "never have been made", but in retrospect "The Bribe" is not at all bad. In fact, it has gained something of a cult following over the years. Scenes from it were conspicuously used by Steve Martin for his excellent montage comedy Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982).Leonard left MGM on the studio retirement plan in 1955. He then had a brief sojourn in Italy, where he directed Gina Lollobrigida in La donna più bella del mondo (Lina Cavalieri) (1955) before finally making his swan song at Universal with a less-than-memorable family film, Kelly and Me (1957). With his wife Gertrude, Leonard resided in Beverly Hills until his death in August 1968. Show less «
Robert Z. Leonard's FILMOGRAPHY
HD
Annabelle: Creation
IMDb: 7
2017
109 min
Country: United States
Genre: Thriller, Horror, Mystery
Twelve years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into ...