John M. Stahl Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Family (1)  | Trivia (6)  | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Died in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameJacob Morris Strelitzsky
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (2)

John Stahl was the final executive in charge of Tiffany Pictures (located on the Talisman lot, later owned by Monogram Pictures), once a big fish in the pond of "Poverty Row", which in those days also included Columbia Pictures. With a B-movie history dating back to the silent era and after making 70 talkies, Tiffany imploded in 1932 in the midst of the deepening Depression and ended its days grinding out the "Chimp Comedies" series of shorts, in which chimps "lip-synched"--by means of having them chew bubble gum--to dubbed actors' voices scripted to corny plots. These simian shorts were popular as filler in second-run movie houses until the freakish novelty wore thin. A sad end to a studio once notable for a roster of stars that included Rex Lease, Ken Maynard, Conway Tearle, Bob Steele and Mae Murray.

Stahl moved over to MGM, producing and directing the notable flop Parnell (1937), widely considered the studio's worst effort to date. Despite this, he would continue in the business as a producer and director of some note until his death in 1950.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: jbacks3

John M. Stahl's career was suddenly illuminated, after his death, because of an "accident" by a French film historian, who classified Stahl as a director with a single masterpiece, "Back Street" (1932). A quick review of Stahl's career in search of a possible auteurist analysis revealed a surprising consistency from 1932 onwards. In general, Stahl, like Josef von Sternberg and Douglas Sirk, worked with materials that had little chance of success. Hence critics obsessed with plot, disapproved of his works. However, "Holy Matrimony" was a success, by any criteria; "Parnell" was undoubtedly one of Clark Gable's most prestigious films, in spite of its bad reputation as a disaster. Stahl's forte was sincerity and a vivid visual style. Who can forget Gene Tierney spreading on horseback her father's ashes in "Leave Her to Heaven", or Margaret Sullivan having a love date with her forgetful lover on the second floor of a duplex house, Irene Dunne having a bleak farewell dinner with a Charles Boyer, as a married man beyond reach, or Andrea Leed and her "Letter of Introduction" to Adolphe Menjou? Stahl was bold, without resorting to black humor: he gave a sincere and reverent treatment to "The Keys of the Kingdom" and, in "The Eve of St. Mark", demonstrated a deep understanding of the emotional consequences and implications of two shots, as opposed to intercutting close-ups of two characters; and there were times when he showed a vigorous conception of contrast. Thus, for example, in "Immortal Sergeant" we see Henry Fonda in the desert, with a mental image of Maureen O'Hara coming out of a pool, water falling from her body. It is bold cinema, almost crazy, but always preferable to the relative sanity of discretion.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Family (1)

Spouse Roxana McGowan (3 November 1931 - 12 January 1950)  (his death)
Frances Irene Reels (1914 - 10 November 1926)  (her death)
Minnie Goldberg (1907 - ?)  (divorced)  (1 child)

Trivia (6)

One of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
Awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6546 Hollywood Blvd..
Directed two actors to Oscar nominations: Gregory Peck (Best Actor, The Keys of the Kingdom (1944)) and Gene Tierney (Best Actress, Leave Her to Heaven (1945)).
Founder and president of John M. Stahl Productions, formed in 1921.
Died on 1/12/50, in Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital of a heart attack. He had been hospitalized since New Year's Day with pneumonia.
He has directed two films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Imitation of Life (1934) and Leave Her to Heaven (1945).

Salary (1)

Letter of Introduction (1938) $26,000

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