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Alexander Korda

 

Real name: Sándor Laszlo Kellner
Birthdate: 16 September 1893, Pusztatúrpásztó, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary)
Date of death: 23 January 1956, London, England. (heart attack)
Spouse:

  • 'Alexandra Boycun' (8 June 1953 - 1956) (his death)
  • 'Merle Oberon' (3 June 1939 - June 1945) (divorced)
  • 'María Corda (I)' (1919 - 1930) (divorced); 1 son

    Biography

    One of a large group of Hungarian refugees who found refuge in England in the 1930's, Sir 'Alexander Korda' was the first British film producer to receive a knighthood. He was a major, if controversial, figure and acted as a guiding force behind the British film industry of the 1930's and continued to influence British films until his death in 1956. He learnt his trade by working in studios in Austria, Germany and America and was a crafty and flamboyant businessman. He created his London Films production company in 1933 and one of their first films 'Private Life of Henry VIII, The (1933)' won an Oscar nomination as best picture and won the Best Actor Oscar for its star 'Charles Laughton' . Helped by his brothers 'Zoltan Korda' (director) and 'Vincent Korda' (art director) and other expatriate Hungarians, London Films produced some wonderful films (even if they weren't all a commercial success). His willingness to experiment and be daring allowed the flowering of talent such as 'Michael Powell' and 'Emeric Pressburger' and gave early breaks to people such as 'Laurence Olivier' , 'David Lean' and 'Carol Reed' to name but a few. Korda sold his library to television in the 1950's thus allowing his famous logo of Big Ben to be preserved. English director and producer of Hungarian origin. He began his career as a staff member of the Független Magyarország (Independent Hungary) In 1911-12 he reported from Paris. He established the genre of film critique as the critic of Movie News (Mozgófénykép Híradó). In 1912 he edited the film column of Life of the Stage (Színházi Élet). He is founder and editor of Pesti Mozi from October 1912 till May 1913 then that of A mozi (1913) and Mozihét (1915-18). His pseudonym is Sursum. He developed a notable theoretical oeuvre as a film critic. He directed his first film in 1914 together with Gyula Zilahy in his Tricolor company. In 1915 he shot for Nemzeti Co. then for Korona. In 1916 Jenő Janovics gave him an engagement in Kolozsvár (Cluj) at the staff of Corvin. The next year he established his independent studio in Budapest with the same name. In 1919 during the Commune he was the art director of film-making as a member of the directory. After the fall of the Commune he lived in Vienna. Sascha Kolowrat invited him to Sascha Co. asNM: Korda, Zoltan English director of Hungarian origin. From 1917 to 1924 he was the first assistant of the Corvin film factory. Until the departure of his elder brother, Sándor Korda he worked beside him. From 1924 he is a cameraman in Vienna and Berlin, later director for UFA. At the beginning of the sound picture period he settled down in England, UK. From 1940 to 1949 he shot in Hollywood. In 1950 he went to London, then returned to the U.S. He mostly achieved his success by exotic stories. He adapted R. Kipling topics several times.
    Author: Steve Crook Anonymous

    Filmography

    Picture People: Hobbies of the Stars (1941) [Himself]

    Trivia

  • Brother of 'Vincent Korda' and 'Zoltan Korda' .
  • 'Alexander Korda' was knighted for services to the film industry in 1942 by King George VI. The first film personality to be so honoured.
  • He attracted some flak for spending a lot of time in the United States during World War II but it now appears that he was (amongst other things) acting as a courier for 'Winston Churchill' .
  • son: Peter Vincent Korda (b.1921)

    Book(s) Biography

  • "Alexander Korda." Paul Tabori, 1966.

    Article(s)

  • "Sight and Sound" (UK), July 1999, Vol. 9, Iss. 7, pg. 16-19, by: Peter Wollen, "The Vienna project"