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Stanley Kramer

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0201 -
Biofilmografía de Stanley Kramer
(En español)

Entre sus filmes más famosos están "Furtivos", "El juicio de Nuremberg, vencedores o vencidos", "El mundo está loco, loco, loco", "¿Adivina quién viene a cenar esta noche?" y "Más allá del amor"

Fallecimiento

El cineasta estadounidense Stanley Kramer, productor y realizador de numerosos "clásicos" del séptimo arte, ha fallecido a los 87 años en un hospital de California.

Kramer estaba enfermo de neumonía y había sido ingresado en el Motion Picture & Television Hospital de Woodland Hills.

Según su esposa, la actriz Karen Sharpe, el famoso productor y director nacido en Manhattan (Nueva York) el 29 de septiembre de 1913 en el seno de una familia judía, se había despertado bien, pero luego empeoró y murió.

Stanley Kramer, licenciado en Ciencias por la Universidad de Nueva York en 1933, comenzó su carrera cinematográfica cuando, después de haber colaborado como escritor en algunos semanarios, quiso trabajar como guionista de cine.

Tras un año de experiencia en los estudios centrales de la Metro Golwyn Mayer, pasó al servicio de montaje, donde permaneció tres años.

Como Kramer seguía interesado en ser guionista, se fue a la Columbia, y al año siguiente a la productora Republic, para pasar posteriormente a la radio. En 1935 la Metro lo llamó para trabajar como escritor.

Durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial fue asignado a la Army Signal Corp, donde se decidió a hacer filmes didácticos para los soldados. Al final de la contienda se licenció como teniente.
Entre 1941 y 1942 fue productor, junto con Albert Lewin y David L. Loew, de las películas "So ends our night", de John Erich Maria Remarque, y "Soberbia", de Albert Lewin.

En mayo de 1947 fundó su propia productora, la "Screen Plays Corporation In.", desde la que financió su primera película, en 1955, titulada "So this is New York", del director Richard Fleischer, que fue un fracaso. Durante esta etapa tuvo como guionista a Carl Foreman.

En 1949 creó una nueva empresa, la Stanley Kramer Productions Pictures, con la que realiza su segunda película, "El ídolo de barro".

A esta compañía se le unión en 1950 Sam Katz, quien aportó gran parte del capital. Pero dos años después, en 1952, fue contratado por la Columbia, para la que ese mismo año produjo "High noon" ("Sólo ante el peligro" o "A la hora señalada"), de Fred Zinnemann y con guión de Carl Foreman.

Además de las ya mencionadas, entre 1949 y 1952, produjo: "Home of the brave", de Mark Robson (1949); "The men", de Zinnemann (1950); "Cyrano de Bergerac", de Michael Gordon (1950); "Death of a Salesman" ("Muerte de un viajante"), de Laslo Benedek; "My six convicts", de Hugo Fregonese, "The sniper", de Edward Dmytryk, "The happy time", de Fleischer, "The four poster", de Irving Reis, "The member of wedding", de Zinnemann y "Eight iron men", de Dmytryk, estas últimas siete películas de 1952.

Hasta que se iniciara en 1995 como director, produjo las siguientes películas; "The juggler" ("Hombres Olvidados"), de Dmytryk; "The 5000 fingers of Dr. T" ("Los 5000 dedos del doctor T"), de Roy Rowland; "He wild one" ("Salvaje"), de Laslo Benedek, todas estas de 1953; "The Caine Mutiny" ("El motín del Caine"), de Dmytryk (1954).

Un año después, en 1955, realizó su primera película, "No serás un extraño", contando en el reparto con Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum y Frank Sinatra, entre otros.

Desde entonces dirigió innumerables filmes, entre los que cabe destacar, "Furtivos" (1958), "El juicio de Nuremberg, vencedores o vencidos" (1961), "El mundo está loco, loco, loco" (1963), "¿Adivina quién viene a cenar esta noche?" (1967) y "Más allá del amor" (1979).

A sus órdenes trabajaron, entre otros, los actores: Cary Grant, Sophia Loren, Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Vivien Leigh, Katherine Hepburn, Anthont Quinn, Gene Hackman o Dick Van Dyke.

Stanley Kramer fue nominado seis veces al Oscar.

Se casó dos veces. La primera con la actriz Anne Pearce, de la que se separó en 1964, después de 13 años de matrimonio, fruto del cual tuvieron dos hijos. Se casó de nuevo en 1966, con la también actriz Karen Sharpe, con la que tuvo otros dos hijos.

Para qué sirve la ortografía - Sobre Borges - Sobre la muerte de/en Don Quijote de la Mancha - La coherencia textual del Quijote - El negocio del Hambre en la Argentina - Jürgens Habermas Vida y obra - ¿Qué es la filosofía? - Textos sobre Literatura  - Textos sobre Derechos Humanos
 

Biography - Bruce Eder - All Movie Guide

  • Born: Sep 29, 1913 in New York City, New York
  • Died: Feb 19, 2001 in Woodland Hills, California
  • Occupation: Director, Actor
  • Active: '50s-'70s
  • Major Genres: Drama, Comedy Drama
  • Career Highlights: High Noon, Inherit the Wind, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
  • First Major Screen Credit: The Moon and Sixpence (1943)

For two decades, from the end of the 1940s until the end of the 1960s, Stanley Kramer was one of the best-known independent producers in Hollywood. He made his early reputation through a series of small-scale, serious, and unusual films that challenged audience's dramatic expectations, and later became known as a bold producer/director of large-scale "message" films that reflected an enlightened liberal point of view.

Stanley Earl Kramer was born in New York City, in the working-class Manhattan neighborhood known as Hell's Kitchen, in 1913. His parents were divorced and he was raised by his maternal grandmother. He had two family connections with the movie business growing up: his mother, who worked as a secretary at Paramount Pictures, and an uncle, Earl Kramer, who was employed in distribution at Universal and later became an agent in Hollywood. Stanley Kramer intended to go to law school, but an article that he wrote in his senior year at New York University got him the offer of a paid internship in the story department at 20th Century Fox. Kramer went to Hollywood and spent the next decade learning the movie business from the ground up, dressing sets and later cutting film at MGM, and then working in the story department at Columbia Pictures. By 1941, he was serving as a production assistant for producer/director Albert Lewin on the movies So Ends Our Night and The Moon and the Sixpence. He was drafted in 1943 and spent the next two years working with an army film unit in New York, where he first met Carl Foreman, a screenwriter who also had ambitions beyond working in the story department of some studio. In 1948, Kramer organized Screen Plays Inc., an independent production company, in partnership with writer/producer Carl Foreman, writer Herbie Baker, and publicist George Glass.

The company raised its money from private investors rather than banks, and made its debut with a total flop, a comedy called So This Is New York (1948), directed by Richard Fleischer. It was with his second movie, Champion, directed by Mark Robson with a lot of guidance and assistance from Kramer (who also directed the fight scenes and one key montage scene), that the producer put himself on the map. The movie, about an ambitious but self-destructive prizefighter played by Kirk Douglas, was a huge hit and also received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor. Champion transformed Kirk Douglas into a star, and suddenly Kramer seemed to the movie industry like a producer worth watching. His next movie Home of The Brave (1949), a drama dealing with racial prejudice during WWII, was so daring in its time that it had to be made in secret, but once it was released, it established Kramer as one of the more daring independent producers of the late '40s, and won accolades from the critics as well as finding success at the box office. Kramer followed this in 1950 with The Men (1950), an equally provocative story about disabled veterans, which also marked the screen debut of Marlon Brando. Its only misfortune was to open on the same day that America entered the Korean War, which made its subject matter impossible to sell to a nervous and uncertain public.

In 1951, Kramer was approached by Harry Cohn, the president of Columbia Pictures, with an offer to make movies for his studio. Kramer would have a free choice of what movies he made and they would finance those pictures, so long as none of them cost more than 980,000 dollars -- he could exceed that budget only with Cohn's approval. Kramer accepted and began work at the studio late that year while he was finishing one last independent production, the Western drama High Noon, directed by Fred Zinnemann and starring Gary Cooper. Released in 1952 by United Artists, High Noon became one of the most popular and heavily studied and analyzed Westerns ever made, its box-office numbers were matched by a pile of Academy Awards (including Best Actor for Cooper) and nominations. The movie also marked the end of Kramer's partnership with Carl Foreman -- the writer was under pressure to testify about his past involvement with the Communist Party, and Kramer parted company with him in October of 1951.

Even as High Noon was earning millions of dollars, Kramer's films at Columbia were all failing to break even. It wasn't that they weren't good movies or didn't engender attention from the critics -- they simply didn't match the public's taste. A few, such as Death of a Salesman, were very bleak in their subject matter (and the latter was picketed by right wing pressure groups for supposedly being an attack on free enterprise, and therefore communistic in is message), while others, such as The Sniper, The Juggler (which was the first feature film shot in Israel), Member of the Wedding, The Wild One, and The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T, were too offbeat and challenging for mass audiences to absorb. For all of their losses in Columbia's books, however, time has been kind to most of the movies that Kramer made there, which were among the best and most enduringly interesting movies that the studio generated in the early '50s. The Wild One was an astonishingly early look at some of the forces of social unrest and middle-class hypocrisy that would rise up full force a decade later (when the movie finally found its audience) to rip American society apart; The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T was a Technicolor fantasy about childhood and its frustrations, that might be one of the most charming musicals ever made in Hollywood. And Member of the Wedding is regarded today as a dramatic tour de force by Julie Harris and a directorial triumph by Fred Zinnemann. To Harry Cohn, however -- who disapproved of most of these projects but had no power to stop Kramer from making them so long as he remained within budget -- Kramer's movies all represented an ocean of red ink on the ledger books. By 1953, Cohn and Kramer alike were eager to call an early end to the five-year contract.

For his final Columbia film, Kramer chose to adapt Herman Wouk's best-selling novel The Caine Mutiny, which dealt with life aboard a navy ship during WWII. The Navy Department had already rejected overtures by MGM and 20th Century Fox for cooperation in filming the novel, which the navy uniformly hated for what it considered an unfair and ridiculous portrayal of itself. It took some simultaneously bold and delicate negotiations by Kramer to secure the Navy's promise of assistance, which he achieved by promising, in turn, to make the story as fair to the United States Navy as he could. Once he had the Navy Department's promise of cooperation in hand, Kramer secured the services of an all-star cast of leading men: Humphrey Bogart, Van Johnson, Fred MacMurray, and Jose Ferrer. With them aboard, Kramer was able to go to Cohn in a position of strength, and the studio head was impressed. Cohn had his own agenda concerning the movie, however -- he was determined to use The Caine Mutiny to get back everything that Columbia had invested in Kramer's first ten movies. Future producer Walter Shenson, who was the film's publicist and one of Cohn's trusted employees, recalled 40 years later that Cohn personally saw to it that Kramer's budget was pared down to the bone, no more than two and a half million dollars, and a maximum running time of two hours, which Kramer negotiated upward very slightly; even at 125 minutes, nothing in the book that wasn't absolutely essential to the plot could be included in the movie. The resulting film, directed by Edward Dmytryk, was a hit, both critically and commercially, earning 11 million dollars in profits, wiping clear all of Kramer's losses in the studio books.

With the end of his Columbia contract, Kramer went back into independent production and decided to try the director's chair for size as well. He began with the serious, albeit soap opera-ish medical drama Not As a Stranger (1955), starring Robert Mitchum, Olivia de Havilland, and Frank Sinatra, which proved a box-office bonanza and reinforced his box-office credentials; its 135-minute running time was also a foretaste of the dimensions of future Kramer productions. He followed this up with the commercially satisfying, high-profile war drama The Pride and the Passion, starring Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, and Sophia Loren. By 1957, Kramer once again felt comfortable spreading his wings into controversial areas of filmmaking. In the wake of the Red Scare and the resulting blacklisting of hundreds of movie industry employees, producers since the end of the 1940s had tended to shy away from material that was overly controversial or challenging to audience's assumptions. Despite his outspokenly liberal convictions, Kramer had never been touched by the blacklist or the Red Scare; his films had been picketed on occasion during the early '50s, but none of the accusations of his being a subversive had stuck; Kramer had never been of interest to the investigators in Washington, principally because he had never been a member of the Communist Party and had distanced himself from others who were, such as Foreman -- that fact made him suspect in leftist circles, but it allowed him to keep making movies.

When he re-emerged as a voice of cinematic liberalism in 1958, he had the field nearly to himself. Kramer's political sensibilities first manifested themselves anew with The Defiant Ones (1958), which starred Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis in a tale of two convicts, one white and one black, forced to rely on each other for survival when they escape from a brutal southern chain gang. Its release and subsequent success heralded the most fruitful and acclaimed period of Kramer's career, as a producer (and usually director as well) of bold, ambitious, big-budgeted movies with high-profile casts, on difficult, serious subjects: On the Beach (1959), a depiction of what life might be like for the survivors left after a nuclear war; Inherit the Wind (1960), starring Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, and Gene Kelly, based on the play about the notorious 1925 trial of a Tennessee schoolteacher for violating a state law barring the teaching of evolution; and Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), the account of the late-era Nazi war crimes trials. He was able to convince the U.S. Navy to provide limited assistance in the shooting of On the Beach, despite their initially regarding him as a dangerous radical. Inherit the Wind elicited pickets protesting its supposedly anti-religious point of view, at many of the theaters that ran it, much as Death of a Salesman had brought out right-wing pickets a decade earlier. He also produced but did not direct a pair of smaller-budgeted dramas that were equally extraordinary for Hollywood: Pressure Point (1962), about the treatment of mental illness, with Sidney Poitier cast as a psychiatrist trying to help Bobby Darin, portraying a virulent racist; and A Child Is Waiting (1963), directed by John Cassavetes and starring Burt Lancaster, Judy Garland, Gena Rowlands, and Steven Hill, about the treatment of mentally handicapped children. During this period, Kramer became the living symbol of newly emboldened Hollywood liberalism -- itself a new phenomenon in an industry previously dominated by conservatives and reactionaries -- and even quietly gave work to blacklisted screenwriter Nedrick Young in The Defiant Ones.

(Afiche del film conocido en español como "Heredarás el viento". En la imagen Spencer Tracy y Fredric March)

In 1963, Kramer decided to break up his string of message-driven dramas by directing and producing It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), an all-star, three-hour-long slapstick chase comedy. Although funny in many stretches, the movie -- which heralded a string of big-budget, epic length comedies, including The Great Race and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, and also anticipated the 1980s stunt-driven smash-up comedies such as Hal Needham's Cannonball Run -- greatly challenged fans and critics alike with its sheer length; it was difficult to fathom the need for such a gargantuan production, even with the availability of a cast, including Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, Sid Caesar, Jonathan Winters, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, Dick Shawn, and Terry-Thomas, that would have been the envy of any three producers. A seriously devoted, major cult following has coalesced around the film, but many people who enjoy it on a more casual basis tend to think of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World as a grotesquely proportioned movie. It was profitable but, ironically enough, it may also be Kramer's most controversial movie today on purely aesthetic grounds. It also marked his commercial high point -- he seemed to lose ground as the 1960s wore on; his 1965 release Ship of Fools was a well-intentioned but static filming of a best-selling novel, and although it broke even, it seemed to leave Kramer increasingly pegged by the public as a maker of elephantine screen subjects more than anything else.

In 1967, Kramer released the movie of which he was most proud, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. It was notable at the time, both for its subject matter -- about the impending interracial marriage of characters portrayed by Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton -- and as the final screen teaming of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. As a modestly proportioned 108-minute romantic comedy, it also seemed intended in part as an answer to criticisms over the self-consciously oversized nature of Kramer's movies. It made a lot of money and earned Hepburn an Academy Award as Best Actress and, just as Home of the Brave and The Defiant Ones had broken some Hollywood racial taboos in previous decades, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner broached a racially-charged subject that no major studio had ever really taken on though it should be pointed out that Larry Peerce had done a low-budget film, One Potato, Two Potato, on the same subject in 1964. For all of its would-be daring, however, the movie also opened Kramer's basic sense of topicality to criticism.

(Los últimos años, junto al actor Peter Falk, en la foto de la derecha)

The film seemed dated in its casting (mostly made up of veteran performers going back to the 1930s or earlier) and pacing, and its genteel, upper-middle class setting came off as grotesquely out of sync with a reality in which black neighborhoods in America's inner cities were burning to the ground. When Kramer did try to bring his films' visions and content up to date, as with R.P.M. (1970), which dealt with political strife on America's college campuses, he still seemed hopelessly removed from the reality he sought to address. During the 1970s, he made some interesting but unsuccessful films, including Bless the Beasts and Children (1971) and Oklahoma Crude (1973). By then, Kramer was treated as a quaintly liberal anachronism by the film community and was thought of, along with most of his pictures, as a relic of a more stable, tamer era in American life. In 1977, Kramer relocated his family to Seattle, and he spent most of the next decade -- apart from his poorly received film drama The Runner Stumbles (1979) -- out of the movie business, writing and teaching. He returned to Hollywood in the early '90s with the intention of making movies again, but his plans never came to fruition. In 1997, four years before his death, he published his autobiography, A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, in which his fervent liberalism was undiminished, but where he also inadvertently revealed precisely how out of touch he'd gotten in the previous two decades, writing admiringly of college protesters and student activists -- with some sadness, one had to wonder precisely to which campus activists he was referring, in the present tense, during the mid-'90s.

Filmography

As director

  • Not as a Stranger (1955)
  • The Defiant Ones (1958)
  • On the Beach (1959)
  • Inherit the Wind (1960)
  • Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
  • It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
  • Ship of Fools (1965)
  • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
  • The Runner Stumbles by Milan Stitt (1979)

As producer

  • Champion (1949)
  • Home of the Brave (1949)
  • The Men (1950)
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)
  • Death of a Salesman (1951)
  • High Noon (1952)
  • The Wild One (1954)
  • The Caine Mutiny (1954)

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