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Korda, (Sir) Alexander

KORDA, (Sir) Alexander



Producer and Director. Nationality: British. Born: Sándor László Kellner in Túrkeve, Hungary, 16 September 1893; became British Citizen 1936. Brother of the production designer Vincent Korda and the director Zoltan Korda. Education: Attended Jewish School in Túrkeve. Family: Married 1) the actress María Farkas (divorced 1930); 2) the actress Merle Oberon, 1939 (divorced 1945); 3) Alexandra Boycun, 1953. Career: Newspaper reporter in Budapest; secretary and assistant at Ungerleider Projectograph Distribution Company; 1914—exempted from military service on health grounds, directed educational films and others; 1917—bought Corvin Production Company and built studio in Budapest; 1919—escaped to Vienna after overthrow of the Béla Kun regime in Hungary, and began collaboration with Lajos Biro; formed Korda Productions with Maria Corda; 1927—signed contract with First National in Hollywood; 1930—contract with Fox cancelled after one film, went to Paris with Biro; 1931—signed contract with Paramount-British in London; 1932—formed London Film Productions, making "quota quickies"; The Private Life of Henry VIII brought international fame and long-term contract with United Artists; 1935—became partner in United Artists; 1939—established Alexander Korda Productions; 1940—went to U.S., formed production companies Romaine Film Productions and Gloria Pictures; 1944—left United Artists; 1946—took control of British Lion Distribution; took over Regina Productions in France with Marcel Carné, René Clair and Julien Duvivier; formed Tricolore Films to distribute films in the US; took over Shepperton Studios; 1949—withdrew from British Lion and announced the removal of his name from the credits on his productions; 1955—formed London Films Television Company, which was liquidated upon his deth and before any programmes were made; 1943—knighted. Died: In 1956.


Films as Producer:

1917

A csikós (The Horseherder) (Pásztory); A peleskei notárius (The Notary) (Pásztory); Piros bugyelláris (The Crimson Notebook); A riporterkirály (The King of Reporters) (Pásztory); A ketlekü asszony (The Woman in Two Minds)

1918

Károly Bakák (Z. Korda and Pásztory); A testör (The Guardsman) (Antalffy); A kis lord (The Little Lord) (Antalffy)

1932

Men of Tomorrow (Sagan and Z. Korda); That Night in London (Overnight) (Lee); Strange Evidence (Milton)

1933

Counsel's Opinion (Dwan); Cash (For Love or Money) (Z. Korda)

1934

Catherine the Great (The Rise of Catherine the Great) (Czinner); The Private Life of the Gannets (Huxley)

1935

Sanders of the River (Bosambo) (Z. Korda); Wharves and Strays (Browne); Moscow Nights (I Stand Condemned) (Asquith); The Ghost Goes West (Clair); Things to Come (Menzies)

1936

Fire over England (Howard); The Man Who Could Work Miracles (Mendes); Men Are Not Gods (Reisch); Miss Bracegirdle Does Her Duty (Garmes); Forget-Me-Not (Forever Yours) (Z. Korda); Fox Hunt (Gross and Hoppin)

1937

Dark Journey (Saville); Elephant Boy (Flaherty and Z. Korda); Farewell Again (Troopship) (Whelan); Action for Slander (Whelan); Knight without Armour (Feyder); The Squeaker (Murder on Diamond Row) (Howard); The Return of the Scarlet Pimpernel (Schwartz); Paradise for Two (The Gaiety Girls) (Freeland); Over the Moon (Freeland); 21 Days (21 Days Together; The First and the Last) (Dean)

1938

Prison without Bars (Hurst); The Challenge (Rosmer); The Drum (Drums) (Z. Korda); South Riding (Saville); The Divorce of Lady X (Whelan)

1939

Q Planes (Clouds over Europe) (Whelan); The Rebel Son (Granovsky and Brunel); The Spy in Black (U-Boat 29) (Powell); The Four Feathers (Z. Korda); The Lion Has Wings (Powell, Hurst and Brunel)

1940

The Conquest of the Air (Z. Korda, Esway, Taylor, Shaw,Saunders and Menzies); The Thief of Bagdad (Berger, Powell and Whelan); Old Bill and Son (Dalrymple)

1941

Lydia (Duvivier); New Wine (Schunzel)

1942

To Be or Not To Be (Lubitsch); Jungle Book (Z. Korda)

1943

The Biter Bit

1946

The Shop at Sly Corner (The Code of Scotland Yard) (King)

1947

A Man about the House (Arliss); Mine Own Executioner (Kimmins); Night Beat (Huth); Anna Karenina (Duvivier); Les Dessous des cartes (Cayatte)

1948

The Fallen Idol (Reed); The Winslow Boy (Asquith); Bonnie Prince Charlie (Kimmins); The Small Back Room (Powell and Pressburger); The Last Days of Dolwyn (Woman of Dolwyn) (Williams)

1949

Saints and Sinners (Arliss); That Dangerous Age (If This Be Sin) (Ratoff); Interrupted Journey (Birt); The Third Man (Reed); The Cure for Love (Donat); The Angel with the Trumpet (Bushell)

1950

State Secret (The Great Man Hunt) (Gilliat); The Happiest Days of Your Life (Launder); My Daughter Joy (Operation X) (Ratoff); The Wooden Horse (Lee); Seven Days to Noon (Boulting); Gone to Earth (Powell and Pressburger); The Bridge of Time (Eday and Boothby); The Wonder Kid (Hartel)

1951

Flesh and Blood (Kimmins); The Tales of Hoffman (Powell and Pressburger); Lady Godiva Rides Again (Launder); Mr. Denning Drives North (Kimmins); Outcast of the Islands (Reed); Cry, the Beloved Country (African Fury) (Z. Korda)

1952

Home at Seven (Murder on Monday) (Richardson); Who Goes There! (The Passionate Century) (Kimmins); Edinburgh (Eady); The Road to Canterbury (Eady); The Sound Barrier (Breaking the Sound Barrier) (Lean); The Holly and the Ivy (O'Ferrall); The Lost Hours (The Big Frame) (Macdonald); Folly to Be Wise (Launder); The Ringer (Hamilton)

1953

Twice upon a Time (Pressburger); The Man Between (Reed); The Heart of the Matter (O'Ferrall); Hobson's Choice (Lean); Three Cases of Murder (Toye, Eady, and O'Ferrall); The Captain's Paradise (Kimmins); The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan (Gilbert and Sullivan; The Great Gilbert and Sullivan) (Gilliat)

1954

Devil Girl from Mars (Macdonald); The Green Scarf (O'Ferrall); A Kid for Two Farthings (Reed); The Constant Husband (Gilliat); The Man Who Loved Redheads (French); Aunt Clara (Kimmins); The Teckman Mystery (Toye); The Belles of St. Trinian's (Launder)

1955

Raising a Riot (Toye); Summer Madness (Summertime) (Lean); The Deep Blue Sea (Litvak); Storm over the Nile (Z. Korda and Young); Richard III (Olivier); The Man Who Never Was (Neame); I Am a Camera (Cornelius)

1956

Smiley (Kimmins)



Films as Director:

1914

A becsapott újságíró (The Duped Journalist)

1915

Tutyu és Totyo (Tutyu and Totyo); Lyon Lea (Lea Lyon) (with Pásztory); A tiszti kardbojt (The Officer's Swordknot) (+ sc)

1916

Mágnás Miska (Miska the Magnate); A nevtö Szaszkia (The Laughing Saskia); Vergödö szívek (Struggling Hearts); Ciklámen (Cyclamen); Fehér éjszakák (White Nights; Fedora) (+ sc); A nagymama (The Grandmother) (+ sc); Mesék az írógépröl (Tales of the Typewriter) (+ sc); A ketszívü férfi (The Man with Two Hearts); Az egymillió fontos bankó (The Million Pound Note)

1917

A gólyakalifa (The Stork Caliph); Mágia (Magic); Harrison es Barrison (Harrison and Barrison); Faun

1918

Az aranyember (The Man with the Golden Touch); Mary Ann

1919

Ave Caesar!; Fehér Rosza (White Rose); Yamata; Se ki, se be (Neither in Nor Out); A 111-es (No. 111)

1920

Seine Majestat das Bettelkind (Prinz und Bettelknabe)

1922

Herren der Meere; Eine versunkene Welt (Die Tragödie eines verschollenen Fürstensohnes); Samson und Delila (Der Roman einer Opernsängerin) (+ co-sc)

1923

Das Unbekannte Morgen (+ co-sc)

1924

Jedermanns Frau (Jedermanns Weib); Tragodie im Haus Habsburg (Das Drama von Mayerling; Der Prinz der Legende)

1925

Der Tänzer Meiner Frau

1926

Eine Dubarry Von Heute

1927

The Stolen Bride; The Private Life of Helen of Troy

1928

The Yellow Lily; The Night Watch

1929

Love and the Devil; Her Private Life; The Squall

1930

Lilies of the Field; The Princess and the Plumber; Women Everywhere

1931

Rive Gauche; Marius (Zum Goldenen Anker)

1932

Service for Ladies (Reserved for Ladies)

1933

Wedding Rehearsal; The Private Life of Henry VIII ; The Girl from Maxim's

1934

The Private Life of Don Juan

1936

Rembrandt

1941

That Hamilton Woman (Lady Hamilton)

1945

Perfect Strangers (Vacation from Marriage)

1947

An Ideal Husband



Publications

By KORDA: articles—

Photoplay (New York), vol. 32, no. 6, November 1927.

Picturegoer, vol. 3, no. 154, May 1934.

Film Weekly, vol. 19, no. 456, 10 July 1937.


On KORDA: books—

Tabori, Paul, Alexander Korda, London, 1959.

Kulik, Karol, Alexander Korda—the Man Who Could Work Miracles, London, 1975.

Korda, Michael, Charmed Lives (autobiography), 1979.

Stockham, Martin, The Korda Collection: Alexander Korda's Film Classics, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1993.

Frayling, Christopher, Things to Come, London, 1995.


On KORDA: articles—

Picturegoer, vol. 5, no. 243, 18 January 1936.

Sight and Sound Supplement: Films of 1951 (London), 1951.

Sight and Sound (London), Spring 1956.

Quarterly Journal of Film, Radio and Television, vol. 11, no. 3, Spring 1957.

Screen (London), vol. 13, no. 2, Summer 1972 + filmo.

National Film Theatre booklet (London), February-March 1976.

Australian Journal of Screen Theory, no. 5–6, January-July 1979.

Films and Filming (London), no. 346, July 1983.

Film Dope (London), no. 31, January 1985 + filmo.

Historical Journal Of Film, Radio and Television (Abingdon), vol. 6, no. 2, October 1986.

Sight and Sound (London), vol. 55, no. 2, Spring 1986.

Watson, G., in Variety, 28 September 1992.

De Toth, A., in Positif, September 1993.

Schiff, Morty, "Marius," in Cineaste (New York), Winter 1993.

Ringer, Paula, "Alexander Korda: Producer, Director Propogandist," in Classic Images (Muscatine), May 1995.

Fischer, Dennis, "A World of Childhood Delights: The Thief of Baghdad," in Filmfax (Evanston), April-May 1997.

Wilinsky, Barbara, "First and Finest: British Films on U.S. Television in the Late 1940s," in Velvet Light Trap (Austin), Fall 1997.

Wollen, Peter, "The Vienna Project: The Third Man to be Rereleased," in Sight and Sound (London), July 1999.


* * *

After the last and greatest of the financial crises that punctuated his career, Alexander Korda was obliged to relinquish the chairmanship of his production company, British Lion. Rather tactlessly, the government receiver asked him to recommend a suitable successor. Korda considered, but failed to come up with any suggestions. "You see," he explained urbanely, "I don't grow on trees."

Irreplaceable Korda certainly was. When, in 1933, with the audacious and unexpected success of The Private Life of Henry VIII, he erupted on to the international scene, the staid British movie industry had never experienced anyone like him: a mogul on the grand scale, flamboyant, lavish, autocratic, and infinitely ambitious. Since his death in 1956, no other British producer has come within a mile of replacing him.

Cosmopolitan and cultured, Korda never took to the parochial world of Hollywood ("it was like Siberia"), but he readily absorbed the blockbuster mentality. "I can't afford to make cheap pictures," he observed once. Though in fact quite capable of making small-scale, intimate films (Rembrandt, Perfect Strangers), he instinctively gravitated towards grand themes, epic tales of history and heroism which were given the full spectacular treatment. At all times, even when money was short, he believed in thinking big. The finest and most expensive personnel were hired. Prestigious names such as Churchill and H.G. Wells were drafted in to write scripts. Denham, founded on the strength of Henry VIII, was the first British film studio built on a Hollywood scale.

Although Korda was also a director, his achievements in this field were rarely more than competent, and he often admitted to finding directing work dull. His real talent was as an impresario, inspiring others with his own glittering, slightly cockeyed vision. Teamwork was never his style ("you can work for Korda, but not with him," a colleague noted), but he knew how to flatter. Actors, writers, and directors—including the prickly von Sternberg—were disarmed by his professional understanding of their problems. To Britain, his adopted country, he offered a shrewdly inflated version of the national myth, Kiplingesque sagas subtly leavened with sophisticated Hungarian irreverence. His pre-war "Empire trilogy" (Sanders of the River, The Drum, The Four Feathers) make embarrassing viewing today, but in the 1930s provided reassurance to an insecure nation—as did Fire over England, with its ringing patriotic defiance of potential invaders.

During the war Korda continued in heroic vein with Lady Hamilton—"propaganda with a very thick coating of sugar," in his own estimation, but Churchill's favourite film. As post-war tastes changed, his penchant for high period style betrayed him: both Bonnie Prince Charlie and Anna Karenina fell woefully flat. The greatest success of his later years was The Third Man—romanticism still, but of the dark, downbeat variety. Not that failure ever narrowed the scope of his ambition. Among his final projects were a remake of The Four Feathers (Storm over the Nile) and Laurence Olivier's Richard III.

Korda's greatest asset as a producer was his legendary charm. He was, recalled the actor Jack Hawkins, "a man to whom it was impossible to say no," and hard-headed businessmen melted into compliance in his presence. The Prudential Assurance Company, belying its name, was beguiled into financing Denham, and watched helplessly as £2m (of pre-1939 money) vanished beyond recall. "His engaging personality and charm of manner must be resisted. His financial sense is non-existent and his promises (even when they are sincere) worthless," reported a Prudential executive—but by then it was far too late. Yet even after this debacle, when Korda's profligacy was public knowledge, he could coolly appropriate £1m from MGM to re-establish himself in London after the Second World War. Later still the British Government was persuaded to pour a further £2m into the ravenous jaws of British Lion.

It would be wrong to dismiss Korda as little more than a glorified con man. True, he could be accused of making rootless, international films lacking in any indigenous style, and of inducing delusions of grandeur among other British producers (most notably J. Arthur Rank). He was largely, if not entirely, responsible for making cinema such a suspect investment that the British movie industry has remained chronically underfunded to this day. On all these counts, the downfall of a company like Goldcrest can be traced directly back to Korda's disastrous precedent.

But against that, he brought to British cinema qualities it badly needed: vitality, imagination, sophistication, and style. At their best, there is an ebullience of conception about Korda's films for which he himself (always a great initiator of projects) deserves full credit. The generosity of his nature and the excitement engendered by his presence, inspired everyone who came into contact with him. Ralph Richardson spoke of the "gleam of light from the steel of his personality that gave one courage." A prestigious array of actors—Richardson, Charles Laughton, Olivier, Leslie Howard, Vivien Leigh, Merle Oberon—owed their screen careers to his encouragement, and it was his flair for teaming that introduced Graham Greene to Carol Reed, and Michael Powell to Emeric Pressburger. Without Korda, the British film industry might well have been a more soundly-based structure, but it would have been a duller one, too.

—Philip Kemp

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"Korda, (Sir) Alexander." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/korda-sir-alexander

Korda, Alexander

KORDA, Alexander



Nationality: Hungarian/British. Born: Sándor László Kellner in Puszta Turpósztó, Hungary, 16 September 1893; adopted surname Korda, from journalistic pseudonym "Sursum Corda" (meaning "lift up your hearts"), 1910. Education: Attended schools in Kisújszállás, Mezötúr, and Budapest, until 1909. Family: Married 1) Maria Farkas (actress Maria Corda), 1919 (divorced 1930), one son; 2) Merle Oberon, 1939 (divorced 1945); 3) Alexander Boycun, 1953. Career: Worked at Pathé studios, Paris, 1911; title writer and secretary, Pictograph films, Budapest, and founder of film journal Pesti mozi, 1912; directed first film, 1914; formed Corvin production company with Miklós Pásztory, built studio near Budapest, 1917; arrested under Horthy regime, fled to Vienna, 1919; formed Corda Film Consortium, 1920 (dissolved 1922); formed Korda-Films, Berlin, 1923; with wife, contracted to First National, Hollywood, 1927; hired by Paramount French subsidiary, 1930; moved to British Paramount, London, 1931; founder, London Films, 1932; built Denham Studios, also made partner in United Artists, 1935 (sold interest, 1944); lost control of Denham Studios, 1938; formed Alexander Korda Productions, retained position as head of London Films, 1939; based in Hollywood, 1940–43; entered partnership with MGM, 1943 (dissolved, 1946); reorganized London Films, bought controlling interest in British Lion (distributors), 1946; founder, British Film Academy (now British Academy of Film and Television Arts), 1947. Awards: Knighthood, 1942. Died: In London, 23 January 1956.

Films as Director:

1914

A becsapott újságíró (The Duped Journalist) (co-d); Tutyu és Totyo (Tutyu and Totyo) (co-d)

1915

Lyon Lea (Lea Lyon) (co-d); A tiszti kardbojt (The Officer's Swordknot) (+ sc)

1916

Fehér éjszakák (White Nights) or Fedora (+ sc); A nagymama (The Grandmother) (+ sc); Mesék az írógépröl (Tales of the Typewriter) (+ sc); A kétszívü férfi (The Man with Two Hearts); Az egymillió fontos bankó (The One–Million–Pound Note) (+ sc); Ciklámen (Cyclamen); Vergödö szívek (Struggling Hearts); A nevetö Szaszkia (The Laughing Saskia); Mágnás Miska (Miska the Magnate)

1917

Szent Péter esernyöje (St. Peter's Umbrella) (+ pr); A gólyakalifa (The Stork Caliph) (+ pr); Mágia (Magic) (+ pr); Harrison és Barrison (Harrison and Barrison) (+ pr)

1918

Faun (+ pr); Az aranyember (The Man with the Golden Touch) (+ pr); Mary Ann (+ pr)

1919

Ave Caesar! (+ pr); Fehér rózsa (White Rose) (+ pr); Yamata (+ pr); Se ki, se be (Neither in Nor Out) (+ pr); A 111-es (Number 111) (+ pr)

1920

Seine Majestät das Bettelkind (Prinz und Bettelknabe; The Prince and the Pauper)

1922

Heeren der Meere (Masters of the Sea); Eine Versunkene Welt (Die Tragödie eines Verschollenen Fürstensohnes) (A Vanished World); Samson und Delilah (Samson and Delilah) (+ pr)

1923

Das unbekannte Morgen (The Unknown Tomorrow) (+ pr)

1924

Jedermanns Frau (Jedermanns Weib) (Everybody's Woman) (+ pr); Tragödie im Hause Habsburg (Das Drama von Mayerling) (Tragedy in the House of Hapsburg) (+ pr)

1925

Der Tänzer meiner Frau (Dancing Mad)

1926

Madame wünscht keine Kinder (Madame Wants No Children)

1927

Eine Dubarry von heute (A Modern Dubarry); The Stolen Bride; The Private Life of Helen of Troy

1928

Yellow Lily; Night Watch

1929

Love and the Devil; The Squall; Her Private Life

1930

Lilies of the Field; Women Everywhere; The Princess and the Plumber

1931

Die Manner um Lucie (+ pr); Rive Gauche (French version of Die Manner um Lucie) (+ pr); Marius; Zum Goldenen Anker (German version of Marius)

1932

Service for Ladies (Reserved for Ladies) (+ pr)

1933

Wedding Rehearsal (+ pr); The Private Life of Henry VIII (+ pr); The Girl from Maxim's (+ co-pr)

1934

La Dame de Chez Maxim (French version) (+ pr); The Private Life of Don Juan (+ pr)

1936

Rembrandt (+ pr)

1941

That Hamilton Woman (Lady Hamilton) (+ pr)

1945

Perfect Strangers (Vacation from Marriage) (+ pr)

1947

An Ideal Husband (+ pr)



Publications


On KORDA: books—

Balcon, Michael, and others, Twenty Years of British Films, 1925–45, London, 1947.

Brunel, Adrian, Nice Work: The Story of Thirty Years in British FilmProduction, London, 1949.

Tabori, Paul, Alexander Korda, London, 1959.

Cowie, Peter, Korda, in Anthologie du Cinéma no. 6, Paris, 1965.

Nemeskurty, István, Word and Image: A History of the HungarianCinema, Budapest, 1968.

Kulik, Karol, Alexander Korda: The Man Who Could Work Miracles, London, 1975.

Korda, Michael, Charmed Lives: A Family Romance, New York, 1979.

Stockham, Martin, The Korda Collection: Alexander Korda's FilmClassics, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1993.


On KORDA: articles—

Watts, Stephen, "Alexander Korda and the International Film," in Cinema Quarterly, Autumn 1933.

Lejeune, C.A., "Alexander Korda: A Sketch," in Sight and Sound (London), Spring 1935.

Harman, Jympson, "'Alex': A Study of Korda," in British FilmYearbook 1949–50, London, 1949.

Price, Peter, "The Impresario Urge," in Sight and Sound (London), November 1950.

Campbell, Colin, "The Producer: Sir Alexander Korda," in Sight andSound (London), Summer 1951.

Gilliat, Sidney, and others, "Sir Alexander Korda," in Sight andSound (London), Spring 1956.

Richards, Jeffrey, "Korda's Empire: Politics and Films in Sanders ofthe River, The Drum, and The Four Feathers," in AustralianJournal of Screen Theory (Kensington, New South Wales), no. 5–6, 1980.

Taylor, John Russell, "Tales of the Hollywood Raj. Alexander Korda: Showman or Spy?," in Films and Filming (London), July 1983.

"Alexander Korda," in Film Dope (London), January 1985.

Street, Sarah, "Denham Studios: The Golden Jubilee of Korda's Folly," in Sight and Sound (London), Spring 1986.

Street, Sarah, "Alexander Korda, Prudential Assurance and British Film Finance in the 1930s," in Historical Journal of Film, Radioand TV (Abingdon, Oxon), October 1986.

Clarke, S., "Profile: London Films," in Variety (New York), vol. 348, no. 10, 28 September 1992.

Ringer, Paula, "Alexander Korda: Producer, Director, Propagan-dist," in Classic Images (Muscatine, Illinois), no. 239, May 1995.

Fischer, Dennis, "A World of Childhood Delights: The Thief ofBagdad," in Filmfax (Evanston, Illinois), no. 60, April-May 1997.

Wilinsky, Barbara, "First and Finest: British Films on U.S. Television in the Late 1940s," in Velvet Light Trap (Austin, Texas), no. 40, Fall 1997.


On KORDA: films—

Vas, Robert, The Golden Years of Alexander Korda, BBC TV documentary, 1968.

* * *

Alexander Korda may be Britain's most controversial film figure, but there is no doubt that his name stands everywhere for the most splendid vision of cinema as it could be, if one had money and power. Both of these Korda had, although several times he was close to bankruptcy, living on pure Hungarian charm and know-how. He at least had a dream that came near reality on several occasions.

Korda had two younger brothers, Zoltan, who worked with him as a director, and Vincent, who was an art director; both were outstanding in their fields. Alexander worked as a journalist and film magazine editor before he directed his first film in Hungary in 1914. He had labored long in the cinematic fields of Vienna and Berlin when finally in 1926 his film production of A Modern Dubarry earned him a contract in Hollywood with First National, where his initial film was the extravagantly beautiful The Private Life of Helen of Troy, starring his wife Maria Corda as Helen. It brought him instant recognition. He directed four features starring Billie Dove (who should have played Helen of Troy for him): The Stolen Bride, The Night Watch, The Yellow Lily, and Her Private Life, a remake of Zoë Akins's play, which Corinne Griffith had filmed earlier under its stage title, Declassé. Korda also directed a sound feature starring Griffith, Lilies of the Field. Alexander Korda could soon write his own ticket.

He did just that in 1931, leaving Hollywood to return to England where he set up his own production company, London Film Productions. There he was almost fully occupied with production details, and only directed eight of the many films which his company produced. It was an exciting era for an ambitious producer like Korda. His company's product was so lavish that he seemed in a fair way not only to rival Hollywood but to surpass it. His first big success was The Private Life of Henry VIII, starring Charles Laughton as Henry and with Merle Oberon making her debut as the unfortunate Anne Boleyn. Korda then married Oberon and started to set the stage for her stardom. Hers was not the only career Korda established, for he had much to do with the film careers of Laurence Olivier, Vivian Leigh, Robert Donat, and Leslie Howard, among others. He was the power behind it all, the man who set up financial deals for pictures that starred these actors.

While the pictures he directed, like Rembrandt, That Hamilton Woman, and Vacation from Marriage, were done in exquisite taste, Korda was also involved in the production of such pictures as Catherine the Great, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Elephant Boy, The Ghost Goes West, Drums, The Four Feathers, The Thief of Bagdad, The Fallen Idol, and The Third Man. Three times Korda built and rebuilt his company, and the third time it was with national aid. Even after the Korda empire collapsed he was able to secure new financial alliances which allowed him to keep producing until his death in 1956. His name stood for glory, and when, after 1947, his name ceased to appear as part of the film credits, the lustre surrounding a London Films production vanished.

—DeWitt Bodeen

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"Korda, Alexander." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Korda, Alexander." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/korda-alexander