Harrington, Curtis 1926-2007

views updated

Harrington, Curtis 1926-2007


See index for CA sketch: Born September 17, 1926, in Los Angeles, CA; died May 6, 2007, in Los Angeles, CA. Film director and author. Harrington was known for his stylish and cutting-edge take on the horror and suspense movie genres. Many of his friends and colleagues noted that his horror films showed the psychological depth of his earlier experimental movies. He became interested in film while still a teenager when he started making his own short movies. After attending Occidental College and the University of California at Los Angeles, he completed a B.A. at the University of Southern California in 1947. He continued filming short, experimental pieces in the 1940s and 1950s, and among his early screenplays are Fragment of Seeking (1946), On the Edge (1949), and The Wormwood Star (1957). During the 1950s, he was also credited with reintroducing the world to James Whale, the director of the original Frankenstein movie and the subject of scholarly papers Harrington published. Breaking into the business, he was an executive assistant for Jerry Wald Productions and then an associate producer for Twentieth Century-Fox from 1958 to 1962. He wrote the 1958 film Mardi Gras for Twentieth Century-Fox, but his first big commercial production was Night Tide (1961). In the film, starring lifelong friend Dennis Hopper in his first leading role, the writer and director demonstrated his talent for combining horror, mood, and psychological depth to a much-maligned horror genre. Through the 1960s and 1970s, Harrington films were praised as cutting-edge works in horror and suspense. Among his other well-known movies are Games (1967), What's the Matter with Helen? (1971), The Killing Kind (1973), and Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell (1978), also known as Dog of Darkness. Some of his films, especially those made for television such as The Killer Bees (1974), were considered much less accomplished; he also directed episodes for such television series as Charlie's Angels, Baretta, Dynasty, and Wonder Woman. In 2002 he made a final bow by acting in, directing, and producing the short film Usher, based on the Edgar Allan Poe story "The Fall of the House of Usher," that was critically well received.



Chicago Tribune, May 11, 2007, Section 3, p. 8.

Los Angeles Times, My 10, 2007, p. B8.

New York Times, May 10, 2007, p. A23.

Times (London, England), May 22, 2007, p. 67.

About this article

Harrington, Curtis 1926-2007

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article