Family & Companions
Borzage switched from acting to directing in 1916, bringing to the screen a dedication to romanticism that became his trademark. Although undoubtedly sentimental--and criticized by some for it--his films, from "Humoresque" (1920) through "Moonrise" (1948), were not only undeniably popular but, at their best, were also the moving, highly artful and visually enthralling work of an instantly recognizable filmmaker, a genuine auteur.
Borzage was a pioneer in the use of techniques, such as soft focus, that have become standards of romantic filmmaking. He was the first ever recipient of a best director Oscar, for "Seventh Heaven" (1927), he won the award again for "Bad Girl" (1931). A sensitive explorer of the pains and joys of love, and a true believer in its enduring power, Borzage made films in a surprisingly wide range of genres, from the romantic comedy to the war film. In addition to the aforementioned, he left his indelibe stamp on such distinguished films as "Lazybones" (1925), "Lucky Star" (1929), "A Farewell to Arms" (1932), "Little Man, What Now?" (1934), "Desire" (1936), "History Is Made at Night" (1937), "Three Comrades" (1938), "The Mortal Storm" (1940), and "I've Always Loved You" (1946).
Director (Feature Film)
Cast (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Production Companies (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
At age 13, worked in a silver mine to pay for a correspondence course on acting (date approximate)
Joined a traveling troupe of actors as a prop man; eventually began acting with the company and was made a leading man before age 20
Joined Thomas Ince's film company as an actor
Short film acting debut in "When Lee Surrenders"
Medium-length film acting debut in "The Ambassador's Envoy"
Feature film acting debut in "The Battle of Gettysburg"
Film directorial debut, "The Pitch o' Chance"
Directed 15 films, nearly all distributed by American Mutual Company
Helmed nine films, most produced by Allan Dwan
Breakthrough feature as director, "Humoresque", scripted by Frances Marion; film no longer extant
Made silent version of "Secrets", starring Norma Talmadge
Early surving feature, "Lazybones", scripted by Frances Marion
Helmed "Seventh Heaven"; won first of two Best Director Academy Awards; also first award presented in this category; paired Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell on screen
Reteamed Gaynor and Farrell in "Street Angel"
Third pairing of Gaynor and Farrell, "Lucky Star"
Made first talking picture, "They Had to See Paris"
Was director of "Liliom"
Helmed the adaptation of "A Farewell to Arms", starring Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes
Won second Oscar for directing "Bad Girl"
Guided Mary Pickford in her final screen appearance in remake of "Secrets"
First film with Margaret Sullavan, "Little Man, Now What?"
Directed Marlene Dietrich in "Desire"
Helmed "Three Comrades", starring Margaret Sullavan
Made two films starring Joan Crawford, "Mannequin" and "The Shining Hour"
Last film with Sullavan, "The Mortal Storm", third in unofficial trilogy of films set in Germany
Third feature with Joan Crawford, "Strange Cargo"
Left MGM and worked freelance until after WWII
Steered David Niven and Ginger Rogers in the biopic of Dolly Madison, "The Magnificent Doll"
Signed six-film contract with Republic Pictures
Directed Republic's first Technicolor feature "I've Always Loved You"
Helmed "Moonrise"; last film for nearly a decade
Returned to feature directing with "China Doll"
Last film, "The Big Fisherman", a three-hour biblical epic based on Lloyd C Douglas' novel