Aldrich, Robert

Aldrich, Robert
born Aug. 9, 1918, Cranston, R.I., U.S.
died Dec. 5, 1983, Los Angeles, Calif.

U.S. film director and producer.

He held various jobs at RKO from 1941, working under such directors as Jean Renoir and Charlie Chaplin. After directing his first feature film, The Big Leaguer (1953), he formed his own production company and earned a reputation for socially conscious yet often violent films, including Apache (1954), Kiss Me Deadly (1955), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), and The Dirty Dozen (1967).

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▪ American director
born Aug. 9, 1918, Cranston, R.I., U.S.
died Dec. 5, 1983, Los Angeles, Calif.

      American motion-picture director who earned his reputation with early realistic and socially conscious films.

      Aldrich entered the motion-picture industry as a production clerk at RKO in 1941 and was made assistant director and production manager at Enterprise Studios in the late 1940s. After working with such directors as Jean Renoir, Joseph Losey, and Charlie Chaplin, Aldrich directed his first feature film, The Big Leaguer, in 1953. His next film, Apache (1954), was an indictment of the treatment of American Indians and won him major recognition. Although Aldrich took controversial stands in his early movies, he escaped being blacklisted by the American film industry. During this period he completed a version of the Mickey Spillane thriller Kiss Me Deadly (1955).

      With this film Aldrich became his own producer, and his later films were, for the most part, either shockers or tough masculine films. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) and The Grissom Gang (1971) both contain either implicit or explicit violence and a degree of sadomasochism. Although he contended that violence is an integral part of all experience, Aldrich nonetheless was sharply criticized for portraying unnecessary degrees of depravity. His best-known films include The Big Knife (1955), Hush . . . Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), The Dirty Dozen (1967), The Killing of Sister George (1968), The Longest Yard (1974), and The Frisco Kid (1979).

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Universalium. 2010.

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