An Armenian national raised in Russia, Rouben Mamoulian (1897--1987) studied in the influential Stanislavski studio, renowned as the source of the "method" acting technique. Shortly after immigrating to New York in 1926, he created a sensation with an all-black production of Porgy (1927). He then went on to direct the debut Broadway productions of three of the most popular shows in the history of American musical theater: Porgy and Bess (1935), Oklahoma! (1943), and Carousel (1945). Mamoulian began working in film just as the sound revolution was dramatically changing the technical capabilities of the medium, and he quickly established himself as an innovator. Not only did many of his unusual camera techniques become standard, but he also invented a device that eliminated the background noises created by cameras and dollies. Seen as a rebel earlier in his career, Mamoulian gradually gained respect in Hollywood, and the Directors Guild of America awarded him the prestigious D. W. Griffith Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1983.
In this meticulously researched biography, David Luhrssen paints the influential director as a socially conscious artist who sought to successfully combine art and commercial entertainment. Luhrssen not only reveals the fascinating personal story of an important yet neglected figure, but he also offers a tantalizing glimpse into the extraordinarily vibrant American film and theater industries during the twenties, thirties, and forties.
"David Luhrssen has done yeoman work in researching the neglected theatrical aspect of Mamoulian's career, recreating it with a graceful and often colorful style. Luhrssen does equal justice to Mamoulian's films, giving full attention to his unique style and the technological and artistic advances he helped bring about. This important book helps restore the limelight to an influential artist who has been unjustly overlooked in recent years." -- Joseph McBride, author of What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career
" Mamoulian: Life on Stage and Screen, by David Luhrssen paints the influential stage and film director as a socially conscious artist who sought to successfully combine art and commercial entertainment -- which he did." -- Thomas Gladysz, Huffington Post
"Luhrssen's Mamoulian: Life on Stage and Screen provides an in-depth consideration of Mamoulian's remarkable contributions to stage and screen." -- Film Threat
"Luhrssen not only reveals the fascinating personal story of an important yet neglected figure, but he also offers a tantalizing glimpse into the extraordinary vibrant American film and theater industries during the twenties, thirties, and fortires." -- Yerevan Magazine
" Mamoulian: Life on Stage and Screen paints the influential stage an dfilm director as a socially conscious artist who sought to successfully combine art and commercial entertainment -- which he did." -- Huffington Post
"Luhrssen's book is written with passion and benefits from meticulous research. Despite the widely respected erudition of its subject its style is modest and accessible so curious newcomers to the subject should not feel deterred from giving it a try.... It is highly recommended." -- Eye For Film
"Today, one sees both worlds anew while watching Mamoulian's movies--and while reading Luhrssen's vivid, sensitive account of the magnificent mind that dreamed those worlds into being." -- Shepherd Express
"Much thanks and gratitude goes out for Luhrssen on bringing forth Mamoulian's contributions in Hollywood to the 21st century. Without this text, neither I nor many of my contemporaries would be able to appreciate Mamoulian's work." -- S. Danielle Galian
" Mamoulian: Life on Stage and Screen by David Luhrssen. Biography by Mamoulian arts and entertainment editor and longtime film critic gives an overdue spotlight to Rouben Mamoulian, who as a director shaped some of Broadway and Hollywood's most notable achievements from the 1920s through the '50s, including Applause (1929), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932), Becky Sharp (1935), Queen Christina (1935), The Mark of Zorro (1940), Oklahoma! (1943) and Carousel (1945)." -- Sunday Journal Sentinel