Zinnemann, Fred

Zinnemann, Fred
born April 29, 1907, Vienna, Austria
died March 14, 1997, London, Eng.

Austrian-born U.S. film director.

After studying law in his native Vienna, he learned cinematography in Paris and worked in Berlin. In 1929 he moved to Hollywood, and in 1934 he codirected his first feature, The Wave, which was initially followed largely by documentaries and short subjects. His feature films, many of which focus on the crisis of moral courage, include The Search (1948), The Men (1950), the classic western High Noon (1952), From Here to Eternity (1953, Academy Award), Oklahoma! (1955), The Nun's Story (1959), A Man for All Seasons (1966, Academy Award), The Day of the Jackal (1973), and Julia (1977).

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▪ 1998

      Austrian-born American motion picture director (b. April 29, 1907, Vienna, Austria—d. March 14, 1997, London, Eng.), made films in a variety of genres, paying meticulous attention to both performance and atmosphere and often featuring characters facing a crisis of conscience and a challenge to their moral integrity. Among his masterpieces are High Noon (1952), From Here to Eternity (1953), and A Man for All Seasons (1966); the latter two won Academy Awards for best picture. Zinnemann studied (1925-27) law at the University of Vienna but abandoned that field to pursue a career in cinema. He studied film in Paris and worked as an assistant cameraman on silent films in Berlin before moving (1929) to the U.S. at the advent of sound pictures. Zinnemann's first Hollywood job was as an extra in All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), and in 1934 he co-directed his first feature, The Wave. Over the following several years, he made mostly documentaries and short subjects; That Mothers Might Live (1938) and Benjy (1951) both won Oscars. From early on, he was noted for boosting the careers of performers whose talent he had recognized. The Search (1948), which established Zinnemann as an important feature director, also marked the debut of Montgomery Clift, and Marlon Brando was introduced to film audiences in The Men (1950). In casting Deborah Kerr and Donna Reed against type in From Here to Eternity and Audrey Hepburn in The Nun's Story (1959), he allowed them to demonstrate their versatility. Other Zinnemann motion pictures include The Member of the Wedding (1953), Oklahoma! (1955), and The Day of the Jackal (1973). His last film was Five Days One Summer (1982).

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▪ American director
born April 29, 1907, Vienna, Austria
died March 14, 1997, London, Eng.

      Austrian-born American motion-picture director whose films are distinguished by realism of atmosphere and characterization.

      Zinnemann studied law at the University of Vienna (1925–27) and then decided he wanted to make movies. In pursuit of this career, he studied cinematography in Paris (1927–28). In 1929 he immigrated to the United States, becoming a citizen in 1937. In Hollywood he became an assistant to Robert Flaherty, a pioneer in documentary filmmaking. This experience influenced all of Zinnemann's subsequent feature films, which show a rigorous authenticity in subject matter and style. He spent the next decade making documentaries, earning two Academy Awards for them.

 He also began directing feature films, such as The Search (1947), a moving account of refugee children in Europe, which introduced the actor Montgomery Clift. In The Men (1950), Zinnemann employed paraplegic war veterans as actors and provided Marlon Brando with his screen debut. His classic High Noon (1952) was one of the first westerns in which the protagonist did not assume the epic proportions usual to this genre. Zinnemann's other films include The Member of the Wedding (1953); From Here to Eternity (1953), for which he received an Academy Award as best director; Oklahoma (1955); A Man For All Seasons (1966), for which he received yet another Academy Award; The Day of the Jackal (1973); and Five Days One Summer (1982). A recurrent theme in Zinnemann's movies is the crisis of moral courage, requiring an individual to face his conscience and choose between maintaining his personal integrity or conforming to external demands.
 

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Universalium. 2010.

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