Robert Florey

Robert Florey

Robert Florey (14 September 1900, Paris - 16 May 1979, Santa Monica, California) was a French screenwriter, director of short films, and actor who moved to Hollywood in 1921. In 1950, Florey was made a knight in the French Légion d'honneur.

Florey worked as assistant director to Josef von Sternberg and others before making his feature directing debut in 1926. He directed more than 50 movies through 1950, from the first Marx Brothers movie "The Cocoanuts" (1929), to the Bette Davis melodrama "Ex-Lady", to horror movies such as "Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1932) starring Bela Lugosi, and skillful film noir "The Crooked Way" (1949) and the first Hollywood film about the Vietnam war, "Rogues' Regiment" (1948) with Dick Powell and Vincent Price .

Florey made a significant but uncredited contribution to the script of the classic 1931 film adaptation of Mary Shelley's novel "Frankenstein". Florey was also originally slated to direct "Frankenstein" but was assigned by Universal Pictures to direct "Murders in the Rue Morgue" instead. Florey, with the help of cinematographer Karl Freund and elaborate sets representing 19th century Paris, made "Murders" into an American version of German expressionist films such as "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920).

For many film historians, Florey's finest work is in these low-budget programmers and B movies. Florey hit a peak at Paramount in the late 30s with films including "Hollywood Boulevard" (1936), "King of Gamblers" (1937), and "Dangerous to Know" (1938), all distinguished by their fast pace, cynical tone, and striking use of moody, semi-expressionistic camera angles and lighting effects. His thriller, "Daughter of Shanghai", starring "Anna May Wong" (one of three films Florey did with her) was added to the National Film Registry in 2006.

Other notable films include two experimental short films "The Life and Death of 9413--a Hollywood Extra" (1928) co-directed with Slavko Vorkapich, "Skyscraper Symphony" (1929), and the horror classic "The Beast with Five Fingers" (1946). He was also assistant director to Charlie Chaplin on Chaplin's film "Monsieur Verdoux" (1947).

Florey was one of the first seasoned feature directors to turn to television in the 1950s, working in the new medium for over a decade and producing shows for "The Outer Limits", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", and "The Twilight Zone".

He also wrote a number of books, including "Pola Negri" (1927) and "Charlie Chaplin" (1927), "Hollywood d'hier et d'aujord'hui" (1948), "La Lanterne magique" (1966), and "Hollywood annee zero" (1972).


Brian Taves, Robert Florey, The French Expressionist (Scarecrow Press, 1986)

External links

* [ Robert Florey at the Internet Movie Database]

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