Robert Z. Leonard

Robert Zigler Leonard ( October 7, 1889 in Chicago, Illinois; † August 27, 1968 in Beverly Hills, California ) was an American film director.


He was married from 1918 to 1925 with the actress and dancer Mae Murray, who was the star of his films during this period. Leonard worked with great success initially at Metro Pictures Corporation and, after its merger with any other party at MGM. He was the director of many prestigious productions and was next to Clarence Brown as one of the directors house that dealt particularly well with the female superstars of the studio. He worked with Greta Garbo, Norma Shearer, and Joan Crawford. For a time he was responsible for the films of Marion Davies, who coped with Leonard, she called Pop, excellent. While Davies does not quite reach the level of their cooperation with King Vidor, but the contemporary press particularly praised her comedies with Leonard as It's a Wise Child and Peg o ' My Heart. Especially often he worked with the singing LeinwandpaarJeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, whose first success Naughty Marietta 1935 he brought a lot of effort on the canvas. The production of Maytime of 1937, the film adaptation of a popular operetta, with the two stars in the lead roles and John Barrymore in a meaty supporting role, the last film Irving Thalberg nudged as a producer, and the most successful stripe of the year worldwide.

Leonard was entrusted in 1936 the most expensive studio production since Ben Hur: the prolix told life story of Broadway impresario Florence Ziegfeld that came in the rental under the aptly named The Great Ziegfeld. Inspired by William Powell and Myrna Loy played the latest discovery from Europe, Luise Rainer, with that received for their good 15 - minute performance to everyone's surprise the Oscar as best actress. The central Revue number A Pretty Girl is like a Melody, which lasts almost five minutes, is considered the most spectacular staging of all MGM musicals. Among the best known films of Leonard adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier in 1940, and the weekend was at the Waldorf, the costly remake of people in the hotel with an all-star cast from the year 1945., 1946, he turned The Secret Heart, use a rich melodrama with Claudette Colbert in the title role, which was a great financial success. Louis B. Mayer in 1947 Leonard confided to the young Elizabeth Taylor, who had to cope with the difficult transition from child star to adult subject in the film Cynthiaden. Only towards the end of the 1950s was to end his career after he last at Lollobrigida's the most beautiful woman in the world led in 1955 directing.


Few directors have such a long time equally successful as Leonard, who, however, on the part of critics rarely received the recognition he received at the box office. His specialty was lavishly produced star vehicle, which the then typical MGM look represented almost perfectly: bright illumination of the scenes, often with a skylight, nice equipment, exquisite costumes and conservative camera setting most of the shots, with a few pans and transitions. Individual directorial ideas and its own distinctive handwriting, however, were neither desired nor sought under the stern Studio regime and the excessive pressure exerted at MGM Nachdrehens of scenes in response to test screenings, so-called previews, before a test audience.

Occasionally, however, also showed Leonard innovative ideas, the highly oriented in the German Expressionism of light in Susan Lenox - Her Fall and Rise with Greta Garbo. However, this was more the exception. Thanks to the growing enthusiasm for the world's MacDonald - Eddy strip his name was read in recent years more frequently also in intellectual magazines. Today, Leonard is far more still regarded as George Cukor as the leading woman director of his era. As with Victor Fleming 's name was Leonard often not mentioned in the credits of his films. He was married in second marriage with the silent film actress Gertrude Olmsted.

Filmography (selection)