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Robert Siodmak

Robert Siodmak

Known For: Directing · Birthday: 1900-08-08

56 Movies


Robert Siodmak (; 8 August 1900 – 10 March 1973) was a German film director who also worked in the United States. He is best remembered as a thriller specialist and for a series of stylish, unpretentious Hollywood films noirs he made in the 1940s, such as The Killers (1946).

Early Life

Siodmak was born in Dresden, Germany, the son of Rosa Philippine (née Blum) and Ignatz Siodmak and the brother of Curt, Verner and Roland. His parents were both from Jewish families in Leipzig (the myth of his American birth in Memphis, Tennessee was necessary for him to obtain a visa in Paris during World War II). He worked as a stage director and a banker before becoming editor and scenarist for Curtis Bernhardt in 1925 (Bernhardt directed a film of Siodmak's story Conflict in 1945). At twenty-six he was hired by his cousin, producer Seymour Nebenzal, to assemble original silent movies from stock footage of old films. Siodmak worked at this for two years before he persuaded Nebenzal to finance his first feature, the silent masterpiece, Menschen am Sonntag (People on Sunday) in 1929. The script was co-written by Billy Wilder and Siodmak's brother Curt Siodmak, later the screenwriter of The Wolf Man (1941). It was the last German silent and also included such future Hollywood artists as Fred Zinnemann, Edgar G. Ulmer, and Eugen Schufftan. His next film—the first at UFA to use sound—was the 1930 comedy Abschied for writers Emeric Pressburger and Irma von Cube, followed by Der Mann, der seinen Mörder sucht, another comedy, yet quite different and unusual, a likely product of Billy Wilder's imagination. But in his next film, the crime thriller Stürme der Leidenschaft, with Emil Jannings and Anna Sten, Siodmak found a style that would become his own. With the rise of Nazism and following an attack in the press by Hitler's minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels in 1933 after viewing Brennendes Geheimnis (The Burning Secret), Siodmak left Germany for Paris. His creativity flourished, as he worked for the next six years in a variety of film genres, from comedy (Le sexe faible and La Vie Parisienne ) to musical (La crise est finie, with Danielle Darrieux) to drama (Mister Flow, Cargaison blanche, Mollenard—compare Gabrielle Dorziat's shrewish wife with that of Rosalind Ivan in The Suspect— and Pièges, with Maurice Chevalier and Erich Von Stroheim). While in France, he was well on his way to becoming successor to Rene Clair, until Hitler again forced him out. Siodmak arrived in California in 1939, where he made 23 movies, many of them widely popular thrillers and crime melodramas, which critics today regard as classics of film noir.

Movies & TV Series

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