This comprehensive biography is the first to present Lewis Milestone's remarkable life -- a classic rags-to-riches American narrative -- in full and explores his many acclaimed films from the silent to the sound era. Creator of All Quiet on the Western Front, Of Mice and Men, the original Ocean's Eleven and Mutiny on the Bounty, Lewis Milestone (1895-1980) was one of the most significant, prolific, and influential directors of our time. A serious artist who believed in film's power not only to entertain, but also to convey messages of social importance, Milestone was known as a man of principle in an industry not always known for an abundance of virtue.
Born in Ukraine, Milestone came to America as a tough, resourceful Russian-speaking teenager and learned about film by editing footage from the front as a member of the Signal Corps of the US Army during World War I. During the course of his film career, which spanned more than 40 years, Milestone developed intense personal and professional relationships with such major Hollywood figures as Howard Hughes, Kirk Douglas, Marlene Dietrich, and Marlon Brando. Addressed are Milestone's successes -- he garnered 28 Academy Award nominations -- as well as his challenges. Using newly available archival material, this work also examines Milestone's experience during the Hollywood Blacklist period, when he was one of the first prominent Hollywood figures to fall under suspicion for his alleged Communist sympathies.
"This highly readable biography of Lewis Milestone delivers the definitive study of a leading Jewish émigré director in Hollywood from the 1920s to the 1960s who worked successfully across multiple genres. Robinson seamlessly layers the scholarly expertise of a noted film historian of Russia and the Soviet Union with a novelist's gift for narrative power and dramatic flair, bringing long overdue attention to Milestone's fascinating life and enduring artistic achievements." -- Catherine Portuges, University of Massachusetts Amherst