On Cukor

Overview

Film director George Cukor (1899-1983) gets the American Masters treatment in this documentary from the acclaimed PBS series. Few directors from Hollywood's Golden Age can match the list of Cukor's achievements, which included What Price Hollywood, David Copperfield, Camille, Holiday, The Philadelphia Story, The Women, A Double Life, Adam's Rib, Born Yesterday, Pat and Mike, and the 1954 version of A Star Is Born, essentially the same story as What Price Hollywood. Even after the studio system broke up, Cukor ...
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Overview

Film director George Cukor (1899-1983) gets the American Masters treatment in this documentary from the acclaimed PBS series. Few directors from Hollywood's Golden Age can match the list of Cukor's achievements, which included What Price Hollywood, David Copperfield, Camille, Holiday, The Philadelphia Story, The Women, A Double Life, Adam's Rib, Born Yesterday, Pat and Mike, and the 1954 version of A Star Is Born, essentially the same story as What Price Hollywood. Even after the studio system broke up, Cukor continued making films right into the 1980s, though their quality began to vary widely. He did win his first and only Oscar in 1965 for My Fair Lady, though in retrospect, that film is not in the first rank of his filmography. Cukor's reputation in Hollywood was as a ladies' director, and few filmmakers can match his track record for drawing superb performances from actresses. The film does address the subtext of that reputation, Cukor's homosexuality, which was well-known in Hollywood during his lifetime, though not openly discussed in his public interviews. It allegedly led to his dismissal from directing Gone With the Wind after star Clark Gable insisted on having him replaced. Cukor was also one of the film community's most genial hosts, his dinner parties bringing together the most glamorous denizens of Hollywood. Both critics and historians, including Jeanine Basinger, David Denby, Richard Schickel, and Peter Bogdanovich, attest to Cukor's importance in motion pictures, and several of his collaborators and friends, including Angela Lansbury, Jack Lemmon, Mia Farrow, Fay Kanin, Shelley Winters, and Claire Bloom, offer insights into his working methods. Jean Simmons narrates.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
It seems unfair to try to cram a career as rich as George Cukor's into a 90-minute film, but On Cukor does do an admirable job of covering all the highlights. Cukor has long taken a back seat to fellow Golden Age filmmakers John Ford, Howard Hawks, and William Wyler, but this film makes it clear that his achievements compare favorably with theirs. Although there is an abundance of eloquent testimony from both observers of his career and friends and colleagues, it's unfortunate that commentary from the most famous team Cukor worked with, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, is missing. What's more, there isn't enough of a sense of Cukor the man here, which is understandable. Though Cukor was happy to host parties at his home, he was also discreet about his personal life, no doubt aware that any whiff of scandal connected to his homosexuality might jeopardize his career. The film discusses at some length the controversy over his firing from Gone With the Wind, but that incident didn't seem to affect his future in film. Some of his Hollywood friends and colleagues present here try to scratch beneath the surface, but it's clear that Cukor opened himself up to few people during his lifetime. He never wrote a memoir and left few papers that would give us more insight into him. Still, the films are a marvelous legacy.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/13/2001
  • UPC: 720917126234
  • Original Release: 2000
  • Rating:

  • Source: Winstar
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Peter Bogdanovich Interviewee
Mia Farrow Interviewee
Angela Lansbury Interviewee
Jack Lemmon Interviewee
Jean Simmons Voice Only
Shelley Winters Interviewee
Technical Credits
Peter Bogdanovich Director
Robert Trachtenberg Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Susan Lacy Executive Producer
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