Korda, Sir Alexander

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KORDA, SIR ALEXANDER

KORDA, SIR ALEXANDER (1893–1956), film producer. Born Sandor Laszlo Kellner in Hungary, Korda worked for Hungarian newspapers, but in 1915 became a stagehand in a Budapest film studio and went on to writing and directing. After World War i he moved to Vienna, Rome, the ufa studios in Berlin, and then to Hollywood. Korda settled in London in 1929 and sprang to fame when he made The Private Life of Henry viii in 1933, an enormously successful film that introduced Charles Laughton and Merle Oberon (who became Korda's second wife). He founded London Film Productions Ltd. in 1932, became a director of United Artists in 1935, and founded Alexander Korda Film Productions in 1939. During the 1930s, he produced a number of memorable movies including Catherine the Great (1934), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1935), and Rembrandt (1936). In 1942 he sold his interest in United Artists and became manager of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's London operators. Later films include The Thief of Baghdad (1940); The Third Man (1950), perhaps his most famous film; and Richard iii (1955). Korda produced 112 films. He was knighted for his services to the British film industry in 1942. Korda was one of the most famous of British film producers during British cinema's "golden age," and probably the one most like the legendary producers of Hollywood.

bibliography:

P. Tabori, Alexander Korda (Eng., 1959); I. Dalrymple, in: Quarterly of Film, Radio, tv, ii (Spring 1957), 294–309; Current Biography Yearbook 1956 (1957), 346; New York Times (Jan. 24, 1956), 31 (obituary). add. bibliography: odnb online; dbb, iii, 624–27; K. Kulik, Alexander Korda: The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1990).

[Mark Perlgut]

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