Introduction: John Frankenheimer (03:37)
This episode of “The Directors” examines the work of Frankenheimer, who is known for socially conscious action movies including, “Bird Man of Alcatraz,” “Seven Days in May,” and “The Manchurian Candidate.”
Early Life and Career (02:42)
Frankenheimer was born in Queens, New York in 1930. He received some of his earliest filmmaking experience making training films for the U.S. Air Force. He later worked for CBS where he rose through the ranks to direct.
“The Young Stranger" (01:45)
Frankenheimer’s first feature film in 1957 was a failure. He waited four years and then directed “The Young Savages," starring Burt Lancaster; the duo would work together on several films.
"Bird Man of Alcatraz” (04:02)
Frankenheimer’s “All Fall Down” was a flop, despite an all-star cast that included Warren Beatty, Angela Lansbury, Eva Marie Saint, and Karl Malden. The director bounced back with the breakthrough prison drama starring Lancaster.
“The Manchurian Candidate” (02:20)
Frankenheimer’s film was so impactful that Its title became a common figure of speech. The film is a satirical in its exploration of America’s preoccupation with communist invasion.
“Seven Days in May" (02:00)
Frankenheimer's film revolves around a political conspiracy. It stars Lancaster and Kirk Douglas in the story of a military cabal’s plans to overthrow the United States government. Its planned 1963 release was delayed because of the Kennedy assassination.
"The Train" (04:08)
Frankenheimer worked with Lancaster on the World War II drama based on a true story about Nazis trying to smuggle stolen art out of Paris. The director veered into the realm of science fiction with “Seconds,” starring Rock Hudson.
“Grand Prix" (02:38)
In 1966, Frankenheimer directed the film starring James Garner; he found racing cars fascinating. The director’s innovative camerawork changed how racing films were shot.
"Gypsy Moths" (03:04)
The 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy traumatized Frankenheimer. He moved to Paris where he worked on “The Fixer” and “The Extraordinary Seaman” before teaming up with Lancaster for the final time.
"The Horsemen" (02:12)
Frankenheimer worked with Gregory Peck on “I Walk the Line." He then teamed Omar Sharif with Jack Palance for his 1971 drama. The film’s quality belies its lackluster performance at the box office.
Early 1970s Films (05:21)
Frankenheimer worked on an adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s play "Iceman Cometh"; it was panned despite good performances. He directed “Story of a Love Story” and “99 and 44/100% Dead.” His sequel to “The French Connection," starring Gene Hackman, became a hit.
Dramatic Thrillers (04:14)
Frankenheimer directed the 1977 film “Black Sunday.” He continued to work on thrillers, including the 1990 Cold War story, “The Fourth War.”
TV and Box Office Success (03:15)
In the mid-1990s directed several critically acclaimed movies for HBO and TNT, including the award-winning “Against the Wall.” He returned to the big screen with “The Island of Dr. Moreau” and “Ronin.”
Frankenheimer's Last Films (02:25)
Frankenheimer directed Ben Affleck in “Reindeer Games” before his final movie “Path to War.” His innovative camerawork and psychologically complex thrillers left a lasting legacy.
Credits: John Frankenheimer (00:40)
Credits: John Frankenheimer
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