Joseph Herman "Joe" Pasternak was a Hungarian-born American film producer in Hollywood. Pasternak spent the Hollywood "Golden Age" of musicals at MGM Studios, producing many successful musicals with singing stars like Deanna Durbin, Kathryn Grayson and Jane Powell, as well as swimmer/bathing beauty Esther Williams' films, he produced Judy Garland's final MGM film, Summer Stock, released in 1950. Pasternak worked in the film industry for 45 years, from the silent era until shortly past the end of the classical Hollywood cinema in the early 1960s, he was born to a Jewish family in Austria-Hungary. His father was a town clerk and Pasternak was one of eleven children. In 1920, he stayed with an uncle in Philadelphia, he worked in a factory, punching holes in leather belts, did a variety of other jobs. He studied acting in New York. In 1922, Pasternak gained a job as a busboy at Paramount's Astoria studio in Queens, New York City at $8 a week, he quit in 1923 to become an assistant for director Allan Dwan and worked his way up from fourth assistant at $16 a week to first assistant at $75 a week.
He worked as an assistant director on The Phantom of the Opera and It's the Old Army Game. He tried a two-reeler with El Brendel, it was seen by Wesley Ruggles who offered him a job at Universal Studios as an assistant director at $35 a week. In 1928, Universal sent Pasternak to Europe as an associate producer to work on German-language films for the international market. Pasternak produced a series of movies directed by, starring, William Dieterle: The Brandenburg Arch in 1929 with Paul Henckels and June Marlowe. Pasternak produced three films directed by Edmund Heuberger and starring Eddie Polo: Secret Police, Witnesses Wanted, Of Life and Death. Other Pasternak films included The Daredevil Reporter, written by Billy Wilder, starring Eddie Polo and directed by Ernst Laemmle. Directed by Erich Schönfelder. Pasternak shot Secret Agent and Johnny Steals Europe both with Harry Piel A Tremendously Rich Man with director Steve Sekely, Die unsichtbare Front and Pardon, tévedtem; when Hitler came to power in Germany, Pasternak moved to Hungary.
There he did a series of films starring Franciska Gaal: Romance in Budapest with Sekely. Universal recalled Pasternak, he brought back Henry Koster with him and the two men set about making the sort of movie they had in Europe. "No one's going to get sick or die in my pictures," Pasternak said at the time. "That's no form of entertainment."After seeing her in the short Every Sunday, Pasternak cast 14-year-old Canadian singer Deanna Durbin in Three Smart Girls, directed by Koster. The film reputedly saved Universal from bankruptcy, he followed it with two more Durbin films, One Hundred Men and a Girl, directed by Koster, Mad About Music, directed by Norman Taurog. In 1938, Pasternak did a comedy, Youth Takes a Fling was back with Durbin for That Certain Age, Three Smart Girls Grow Up. In all, Pasternak made ten films with Durbin.</ref> Pasternak soon discovered another talented soprano, Gloria Jean, who began her own series in 1939, starting with The Under-Pup. He produced Durbin again in First Love.
He had a large hit with the comedy Western Destry Rides Again, starring Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart, which helped revitalise Dietrich's career. Pasternak alternated between the three female stars – with Durbin he did It's a Date, Spring Parade, Nice Girl? and It Started with Eve. With Jean he did A Little Bit of a sort of sequel to The Under-Pup. With Dietrich he did Seven Sinners and The Flame of New Orleans. In June 1941, after finishing Eve, Pasterrnak left Universal. Although he still had two years to run on his contract, he had "differences of opinion" with the studio's management, by mutual consent the parties elected to terminate the contract. In June 1941, Pasternak announced he had joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a producer for a reported $3,500 a week. Several studios had been interested in placing him under contract, but Louis B. Mayer wanted Pasternak and allowed the producer several concessions. Mayer assigned young soprano Kathryn Grayson, who had only made one film for MGM, to Pasternak's unit so tha
George Melville Cooper was an English stage and television actor. His many notable screen roles include the High Sheriff of Nottingham in The Adventures of Robin Hood, Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice and the wedding-rehearsal supervisor Mr. Tringle in Father of the Bride. George Melville Cooper was born on 15 October 1896 in Aston, Warwickshire to W. C. J. and Frances Cooper. He was brought up in Britain and attended public schools, including King Edward's School in Birmingham, he began to develop an interest in acting as a teenager. At the age of eighteen, he made his professional stage debut in a production at Stratford-upon-Avon, his budding acting career was interrupted by his military service in the Scottish regiment during the First World War, in which he was captured on the Western Front and held prisoner by the Germans for a brief time. After the war, Cooper resumed his stage career, appearing in numerous stage productions, including The Farmer's Wife, Back to Methuselah, The Third Finger and Journey's End.
He transitioned to film work in the early 1930s, appearing in Black Coffee with Austin Trevor and Adrianne Allen, Alexander Korda's The Private Life of Don Juan with Douglas Fairbanks and Merle Oberon and The Scarlet Pimpernel with Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon. In 1934, after receiving good reviews for his performance in The Private Life of Don Juan, Cooper moved to the United States. In Hollywood, Cooper was cast as a snobbish, ineffectual society type or as a confidence trickster, his more memorable roles in the 1930s include M. W. Picard in The Great Garrick with Olivia de Havilland, Bingham the butler in Four's a Crowd with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, Boulin in Dramatic School with Luise Rainer and Paulette Goddard, the cowardly Sheriff of Nottingham in The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. During the 1940s, Cooper continued to appear in some of the more popular films of the decade, including Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca with Joan Fontaine and Prejudice with Greer Garson, The Lady Eve and You Belong to Me with Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda, This Above All with Joan Fontaine, Random Harvest with Greer Garson, Henry Hathaway's 13 Rue Madeleine with James Cagney and The Red Danube with Walter Pidgeon.
Cooper appeared in Harvey, with James Stewart. In the 1950s, he continued to appear in popular feature films, such as Father of the Bride, It Should Happen to You, Around the World in 80 Days, his second supporting role in an Academy Award winning film. In addition to his film work throughout the decade, Cooper appeared in numerous television series, including Musical Comedy Time, Fireside Theatre, Kraft Television Theatre, Robert Montgomery Presents, Broadway Television Theatre, Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, Lux Video Theatre, The Red Skelton Show, Studio 57, Playhouse 90, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Shirley Temple's Storybook. Cooper's final television appearance was on The Best of the Post. Towards the end of his career, Cooper focused on stage work and appeared in such productions as Much Ado About Nothing, Escapade, My Fair Lady and Hostile Witness. Cooper's final acting role was Brassett in the revival of Charley's Aunt, which closed on 11 July 1970. After a brief first marriage to Gladys Grice that ended in divorce, Cooper married actress Rita Page.
Their marriage produced one child and ended with her death in London on 19 December 1954. Cooper's third marriage to Elizabeth Sutherland lasted until his death. Cooper died of cancer on 13 March 1973 in California, he was buried in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. Melville Cooper on IMDb Melville Cooper at the Internet Broadway Database Melville Cooper at Find a Grave
I Married a Witch
I Married a Witch is a 1942 American fantasy romantic comedy film, directed by René Clair, starring Veronica Lake as a witch whose plan for revenge goes comically awry, with Fredric March as her foil. The film features Robert Benchley, Susan Hayward and Cecil Kellaway; the screenplay by Robert Pirosh and Marc Connelly and uncredited other writers, including Dalton Trumbo, is based on the novel The Passionate Witch by Thorne Smith, who died before he could finish it. Two witches in colonial Salem and her father Daniel, are burned at the stake after being denounced by Puritan Jonathan Wooley, their ashes were buried beneath a tree to imprison their evil spirits. In revenge, Jennifer curses Wooley and all his male descendants, dooming them always to marry the wrong woman. Centuries pass. Generation after generation, Wooley men marry shrewish women. In 1942, lightning splits the tree, freeing the spirits of Jennifer and Daniel, they discover Wallace Wooley, living nearby and running for governor, on the eve of marrying the ambitious and spoiled Estelle Masterson, whose father J.
B. just happens to be Wooley's chief political backer. Jennifer and Daniel manifest themselves as white vertical smoky'trails' hiding in empty, or sometimes not-so-empty, bottles of alcohol. Jennifer persuades Daniel to create a human body for her. Daniel needs a fire to perform the spell, so he burns down a building, appropriately enough, the Pilgrim Hotel; this serves dual purposes, as Jennifer uses it to get the passing Wallace to rescue her from the flames. Jennifer tries hard to seduce Wallace without magic. Though he is attracted to her, he refuses to put off his marriage, she concocts a love potion. Wallace revives her by giving her the drink. Daniel conjures himself a body, he and Jennifer crash the wedding, though they are at cross purposes. Daniel tries to prevent his daughter from helping one of them, his attempts at interference land him in jail, too drunk to remember the spell to turn Wallace into a frog. Meanwhile, Estelle finds the couple embracing and the wedding is called off. Outraged, J.
B. promises to denounce the candidate in all his newspapers. Wallace admits that he loves Jennifer, they elope. Jennifer works overtime with her witchcraft to rescue Wallace's political career, she conjures up little clouds of brainwashing white smoke that "convince" every voter to support Wallace, he is elected in a landslide, where his opponent doesn't vote for himself. The unanimous vote for him convinces Wallace. In disgust, Daniel strips his daughter of her magical powers, vows to return her to the tree that imprisoned them. In a panic, Jennifer interrupts Wallace's victory speech; the taxi they get into to get away is driven by Daniel, who takes them in an airborne ride back to the tree. At the stroke of midnight, Wallace is left with Jennifer's lifeless body, while two plumes of smoke watch. Before they return to the tree, Jennifer asks to watch Wallace's torment. While Daniel gloats, Jennifer reclaims her body, explaining to Wallace, "Love is stronger than witchcraft." She puts the top back on the bottle of liquor her father is hiding in, keeping him drunk and powerless.
Years Wallace and Jennifer have children, the housekeeper enters to complain about their youngest daughter, who enters riding a broom. Fredric March as Jonathan Wooley, Nathaniel Wooley, Samuel Wooley, principally Wallace Wooley Veronica Lake as Jennifer Cecil Kellaway as Daniel Susan Hayward as Estelle Masterson Robert Benchley as Dr. Dudley White, Wooley's friend Elizabeth Patterson as Margaret, Wooley's housekeeper Eily Malyon as Tabitha Wooley Robert Warwick as J. B. Masterson Mary Field as Nancy Wooley Nora Cecil as Harriet Wooley Ann Carter as Jennifer Wooley Aldrich Bowker as Justice of the PeaceCast notes: Preston Sturges served as producer on this film, until he left due to artistic differences with the director, some regular members of his unofficial "stock company" of character actors appear in it, including Al Bridge, Chester Conklin, Robert Greig, Esther Howard, Charles R. Moore, Emory Parnell; the novel upon which the film is based was written by Thorne Smith, who died in 1934.
His papers included an unfinished novel entitled The Passionate Witch. Three-quarters complete, its resolution was written by his friend Norman Matson and was published in July 1941; the book became a best seller. I Married a Witch was produced by Paramount Pictures, had the working title of He Married a Witch. Director René Clair was looking for a new project after his first American film, The Flame of New Orleans, his agent sent him a copy of The Passionate Witch. Clair took it to Preston Sturges in favor at Paramount, who convinced Clair and the studio that it would be a good vehicle for Veronica Lake, with Sturges as producer. Paramount bought the film rights in October 1941. Dalton Trumbo was signed to write the script. Robert Pirosh was called in to work on the script with Trumbo. Trumbo left the project after clashing with Sturges. Sturges himself left the film before it was completed due to artistic differences with director René Clair, did not want to receive a screen credit. Clair, who contributed to the dialogue worked with writer Robert Pirosh.
Joel McCrea was announced to play the male lead in December 1941. However, by February in 1942, he withdrew from the project.
Edward Quillan was an American film actor and singer whose career began as a child on the vaudeville stages and silent film and continued through the age of television in the 1980s. Born in Philadelphia, into a family of vaudeville performers, Quillan made his stage debut at the age of seven alongside his parents, Scottish-born Joseph Quillan and his wife Sarah, as well as his siblings in their act titled'The Rising Generation'. By the early 1920s he was called upon by film director Mack Sennett to perform a screen test for Mack Sennett Studios. Sennett signed Quillan to a contract in 1922. Quillan's first film appearance was in the 1922 comedy short Up and at'Em, his next performance was in the 1926 comedy short The Love Sundae opposite actress Alice Day. His next ten film appearances were all comedy shorts, he would spend most of the remaining years of the 1920s in comedy shorts featuring actresses Ruth Taylor and Madeline Hurlock. In 1928, Quillan starred in the comedy A Little Bit of Everything, notable because it featured his siblings Marie and John in starring roles.
Marie Quillan would embark on a film career of her own and appear opposite her brother once more, in the 1929 comedy Nosy Neighbors. Quillan's first feature-length film was the 1928 comedy-drama Show Folks opposite actress Lina Basquette, in which Quillan appropriately plays a vaudeville dancer; the film was a modest success and featured actress Carole Lombard. Quillan's breakout role was in the 1929 Cecil B. DeMille directed The Godless Girl; the film starred Marie Prevost and Noah Beery, Sr.. His subsequent exposure from the film landed him a contract with Pathé studios. Quillan would remain a popular leading and secondary actor throughout the sound film era and would appear in such notable films as 1935's Mutiny on the Bounty with Clark Gable, Charles Laughton, Franchot Tone, 1939's Young Mr. Lincoln opposite Henry Fonda and Alice Brady, as'Connie Rivers' in John Ford's 1940 film adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel The Grapes of Wrath opposite Henry Fonda, in 1943's Alaska Highway and It Ain't Hay opposite the comedic duo Abbott and Costello.
Quillan's breezy screen personality was seen in "B" musicals and serials during the 1940s. In 1948 Columbia Pictures producer Jules White teamed Quillan with veteran movie comic Wally Vernon for a series of comedy short subjects. White emphasized extreme physical comedy in these films, Vernon and Quillan made a good team, enthusiastically engaging in pratfalling, kick-in-the-pants slapstick; the series ran through 1956. Beginning in the late 1950s, Quillan began to make the transition to the medium of television and by the 1960s could be seen appearing as a guest actor in such series as The Andy Griffith Show, Petticoat Junction, Perry Mason, five appearances on the camp-horror comedy series The Addams Family, he was a regular on the Anthony Franciosa sitcom Valentine's Day from 1964 to 1965, from 1968 through 1971 he appeared as "Eddie Edson" on the television drama Julia opposite actress Diahann Carroll. Through the 1950s and 1960s, Quillan continued to appear in motion pictures, but in smaller roles and in bit parts.
One notable appearance of the era was his role of'Sandy' in the 1954 Vincente Minnelli directed musical Brigadoon, starring Gene Kelly, Van Johnson and Cyd Charisse. Quillan appeared in the uncredited role of'Mr. Cassidy' in the 1969 Gene Kelly film adaptation of Hello, Dolly!, starring Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau and featuring Louis Armstrong. Quillan appeared in My Three Sons as Mr Hewlett and appeared on the western television adventure series The Rifleman as Angus Evans, he appeared twice in the fourth season: in “Mark's Rifle” and “Conflict”. Quillan was cast as Hill Beachy in the 1961 episode, "Trial by Fear" on the syndicated anthology series, Death Valley Days, hosted by Stanley Andrews. In the story line, Beachy seeks to prove that two hoodlums murdered his fellow businessman, Lloyd Magruder. In the 1970s, Quillan made guest appearances on such varied television series as Mannix, Here's Lucy and the Man and Baretta. After meeting and befriending actor and director Michael Landon, he played numerous bit roles in the popular television series Little House on the Prairie.
Quillan performed in the Landon-directed series Highway to Heaven and Father Murphy during the 1980s. Quillan made his last television appearance in a 1987 episode of the television crime-mystery series Matlock. Quillan died of cancer in North Hollywood, California in 1990 and was interred at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, Los Angeles, California. Eddie Quillan on IMDb Eddie Quillan at The International Silent Movie Eddie Quillan at The New York Times Movies Eddie Quillan at Find a Grave
Samuel Horwitz, known professionally as Shemp Howard, was an American comedian and actor. He was called "Shemp", he is best known as the third stooge in the Three Stooges, a role he played when the act began in the early 1920s, while it was still associated with Ted Healy and known as "Ted Healy and his Stooges". Between his times with the Stooges, he had a successful solo career as a film comedian. Howard was born Shmuel Horwitz in Manhattan, New York on March 11, 1895, raised in Brooklyn, he was the third-born of the five Horwitz brothers, sons of their Lithuanian Jewish parents Solomon Horwitz and Jennie Horwitz. Irving and Jack were his older brothers. Howard's first name, was anglicized to Samuel, his parents and brothers called him Sam. Shemp's brother, Moe Howard, started in show business on stage and in films. Moe and Shemp tried their hands as minstrel-show-style "blackface" comedians with an act they called "Howard and Howard—A Study In Black". At the same time, they worked without makeup.
By 1922, Moe had teamed up with boyhood-friend-turned-vaudeville star Ted Healy in a "roughhouse" act. One day Moe yelled at him from the stage. Quick-witted Shemp yelled right back, walked up onto the stage. From on he was part of the act known as "Ted Healy and His Stooges"; the Howard brothers were the original Stooges. On stage, Healy sang and told jokes while his three noisy stooges got in his way, Healy retaliated with physical and verbal abuse. Shemp played a bumbling fireman in the Stooges' first film, Soup to Nuts, the only film where he played one of Healy's gang. After a disagreement with Healy in August 1930, Moe and Shemp left to launch their own act, "Howard, Fine & Howard," and joined the RKO vaudeville circuit, they premiered at Los Angeles's Paramount Theatre on August 28, 1930. In 1931 they added "Three Lost Soles" to the act's name, took on Jack Walsh as their straight man. Moe and Shemp continued until July 1932, when Ted Healy approached them to team up again for the Shuberts's Broadway revue "Passing Show of 1932," and they accepted the offer.
In spite of their past differences, Moe knew an association with the nationally known Healy would provide opportunities the three comics were not getting on their own. On August 16, 1932, in a contract dispute, Healy walked out of the Shuberts's revue during rehearsals. Three days tired of what he considered Healy's domineering handling of the Stooges' career, Shemp left Healy's act to remain with "Passing Show," which closed in September during roadshow performances and after pan reviews in Detroit and Cincinnati. Shemp played on the road for a few months, he landed at Brooklyn's Vitaphone Studios for movie appearance opportunities in May 1933. When he split from Healy, Shemp was replaced by his and Moe's younger brother Jerry Howard. Shemp Howard, like many New York-based performers, found work at the Vitaphone studio in Brooklyn. Playing bit roles in Vitaphone's Roscoe Arbuckle comedies, showing off his comical appearance, he was given speaking roles and supporting parts immediately, he was featured with Vitaphone comics Jack Haley, Ben Blue and Gus Shy co-starred with Harry Gribbon, Daphne Pollard and Johnnie Berkes, starred in his own two-reel comedies.
A Gribbon-Howard short, Art Trouble features then-unknown James Stewart in his first film role. The independently-produced Convention Girl featured Shemp in a rare straight role as a blackmailer and would-be murderer. Shemp stuck to the script, he livened up scenes with ad-libbed dialogue and wisecracks. In late 1935, Vitaphone was licensed to produce short comedies based on the "Joe Palooka" comic strip. Shemp was cast as "Knobby Walsh," and though only a supporting character, he became the series's comic focus, with Johnny Berkes and Lee Weber as his foils, he co-starred in the first seven shorts, released in 1936–1937. Nine of them were produced, the last two done after Shemp's departure from Vitaphone. Away from Vitaphone, Howard unsuccessfully attempted to lead his own group of "stooges" in the Van Beuren musical comedy short The Knife of the Party, it was a rare failure in an otherwise successful solo career. In 1937 he followed his brothers's lead, moved to the West Coast, landed supporting-actor roles at several studios, predominantly Columbia Pictures and Universal.
He worked at Universal from August 1940 to August 1943, performing with such comics as W. C. Fields, he lent comic relief to The Thin Man murder mysteries. He appeared in several Universal B-musicals of the early 1940s, including Strictly in the Groove, How's About It?, Moonlight and Cactus and San Antonio Rose, in the latter of which he was paired with Lon Chaney, Jr. as a faux Abbott and Costello. Most of these projects took advantage of his improvisational skills, he was teamed with comedians Billy Gilbert and Maxie Rosenbloom for three B-comedy features in 1944–45. He played a few serious parts, such as his supporting role in Pittsburgh starring Marlene Dietrich and John Wayne. During 1938–1939 and 1944–1946, Howard appeared in Columbia's two-reel comedies, co-starring with Columbia regulars A
The Ghost Goes West
The Ghost Goes West is a 1935 British romantic comedy/fantasy film starring Robert Donat, Jean Parker, Eugene Pallette, directed by René Clair, his first English-language film. The film contrasts an Old World ghost dealing with American vulgarity; this production combines a Hungarian-born British producer, a French director, an American writer in a British film. This movie was the biggest grossing movie of its year in Great Britain. Peggy Martin, the daughter of a rich American businessman, persuades him to purchase a Scottish castle from Donald Glourie, dismantle it and move it to Florida. Along with the castle goes its ghost. Murdoch Glourie haunts the castle after dying a coward's death in the 18th century. To find rest, he must get a descendant of the enemy Clan MacClaggan to admit that one Glourie is worth fifty MacClaggans. Robert Donat as Murdoch Glourie and Donald Glourie Jean Parker as Peggy Martin Eugene Pallette as Mr. Martin Elsa Lanchester as Miss Shepperton Ralph Bunker as Ed Bigelow, Martin's rival Patricia Hilliard as Shepherdess Everley Gregg as Mrs. Martin Victor Rietti as the Scientist Morton Selten as The Glourie Chili Bouchier as Cleopatra Mark Daly as Murdoch's Groom Herbert Lomas as Fergus Elliott Mason as Mrs. MacNiff Hay Petrie as The McLaggen Quentin McPhearson as Mackaye Writing for The Spectator in 1935, Graham Greene praised the film.
He wrote of how the "camera sense" of René Clair manifested itself in the film's "feeling of mobility, of visual freedom" and highlighted Clair's directorial genius. Greene praised the acting of Pallette and Donat, describing Pallette's portrayal of an American millionaire as the finest performance of his career, Donat's acting style as imbued with "invincible naturalness"; the Ghost Goes West was the 13th most popular film at the British box office in 1935–36. The film was voted the best British movie of 1936. Both the original treatment and the cutting continuity of the finished film were published in Successful Film Writing as Illustrated by'the Ghost Goes West' by Seton Margrave. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd. 1936. List of ghost films The Ghost Goes West at AllMovie The Ghost Goes West at the TCM Movie Database The Ghost Goes West on IMDb The Ghost Goes West at the American Film Institute Catalog The Ghost Goes West on Screen Guild Theater: 21 August 1944
René Clair born René-Lucien Chomette, was a French filmmaker and writer. He first established his reputation in the 1920s as a director of silent films in which comedy was mingled with fantasy, he went on to make some of the most innovative early sound films in France, before going abroad to work in the UK and USA for more than a decade. Returning to France after World War II, he continued to make films that were characterised by their elegance and wit presenting a nostalgic view of French life in earlier years, he was elected to the Académie française in 1960. Clair's best known films include The Italian Straw Hat, Under the Roofs of Paris, Le Million, À nous la liberté, I Married a Witch, And Then There Were None. René Clair was born and grew up in Paris in the district of Les Halles, whose lively and picturesque character made a lasting impression on him, his father was a soap merchant. He attended the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. In 1914 he was studying philosophy. In 1917, at the age of 18, he served as an ambulance driver in World War I, before being invalided out with a spinal injury.
He was affected by the horrors of war that he witnessed and gave expression to this in writing a volume of poetry called La Tête de l'homme. Back in Paris after the war, he started a career as a journalist at the left-wing newspaper L'Intransigeant. Having met the music-hall singer Damia and written some songs for her, Clair was persuaded by her to visit Gaumont studios in 1920 where a film was being cast and he agreed to take on a leading role in Le Lys de la vie, he adopted the stage-name of René Clair, several other acting jobs followed, including Parisette for Louis Feuillade. In 1922 he extended his career as a journalist, becoming the editor of a new film supplement to a monthly magazine, Théâtre et Comœdia illustrés, he visited Belgium and after an introduction from his brother Henri, he became an assistant to the director Jacques de Baroncelli on several films. In 1924, with the support of the producer Henri Diamant-Berger, Clair got the opportunity to direct his own first film, Paris qui dort, a short comic fantasy.
Before it had been shown however, Clair was asked by Francis Picabia and Erik Satie to make a short film to be shown as part of their Dadaist ballet Relâche. Fantasy and dreams were components of his next two films, but in 1926 Clair took a new direction when he joined Alexandre Kamenka's Films Albatros company to film a dramatic story, La Proie du vent, which met with commercial success, he remained at Albatros for his last two silent films, Un chapeau de paille d'Italie and Les Deux Timides, in which he sought to translate the verbal comedy of two plays by Labiche into works of silent cinema. While at Albatros, Clair met the designer Lazare Meerson and the cameraman Georges Périnal who were to remain important collaborators with him for the next decade. By the end of the silent era, Clair was celebrated as one of the great names in cinema, alongside Griffith, Chaplin and Eisenstein; as the author of all of his own scripts, who paid close attention to every aspect of the making of a film, including the editing, Clair was one of the first French film-makers to establish for himself the full role of an auteur.
Clair was sceptical about the introduction of sound to films, called it "an unnatural creation". He realised the creative possibilities that it offered in his view, if the soundtrack was not used realistically. Between 1930 and 1933, Clair explored these ideas in his first four sound films, starting with Sous les toits de Paris. All of these films portrayed an affectionate and idealized view of working class life, they did much to create a popular romantic image of Paris, seen around the world; these films were made at the Epinay Studios for Films Sonores Tobis, a French subsidiary of the German-owned Tobis company. When Chaplin made Modern Times in 1936, it was noted that some parts of it bore a marked similarity to scenes in À nous la liberté, the production company Tobis launched a lawsuit for plagiarism against United Artists, the producers of Chaplin's film. Clair was embarrassed by this since he acknowledged his own debt to the spirit of Chaplin, he refused to be associated with the action.
After the immense success of these early sound films, Clair met with a major setback when his next film, Le Dernier Milliardaire, was a critical and commercial flop. While he was visiting London for the film's British première, he met Alexander Korda who offered him a contract to work in England, he accepted, began a lengthy period of exile from film-making in France. Clair's contract with Korda's London Films was for two years and it envisaged three films; because of his limited English, he collaborated with the American dramatist Robert E. Sherwood as script-writer for his first film, The Ghost Goes West, a comic fantasy about transatlantic culture clash. Clair and Sherwood became close friends. In January 1936, Clair visited America for two weeks, checking ou