STANLEY KRAMER BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Stanley Earl Kramer was born September 29, 1913 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York. From a young age, Kramer had connections with the movie business: his mother had a secretarial position at Paramount Pictures and his uncle worked in distribution at Universal Pictures and then became an agent in Hollywood. In his last year of school at New York University, 20th Century Fox offered him a paid intern position in their story department. Kramer took the job and moved to Hollywood to begin learning all he could about the film industry. He worked as an assistant producer on the films “Lady for a Day” (1933), “Flying Down to Rio” (1933), and “So Ends Our Night” (1941), as well as an editor and writer for a couple different studios. In 1942 he finally worked up to associate producer for “The Moon and Sixpence”. As his momentum was beginning to build, he was drafted to serve in an Army film unit in New York. Here he met screenwriter Carl Foreman.
In 1948, Kramer and Foreman, as well as Herbie Baker and George Glass, formed the independent production company Screen Plays Inc. Although his first feature, “So This is New York” (1948) was a complete flop, Kramer persevered and came out with a total hit next, “Champion” (1949). It left the Oscars with six separate nominations and the Best Editing award. Kramer’s following production efforts all proved to be commercial sensations, too. They also turned out to be socially responsible features that opened the eyes of their viewers. “Home of the Brave” (1949), a World War II set racial prejudice drama, and “The Men” (1950), a provocative story about paraplegic veterans, both set the tone for the producer’s newfound social stigma busting and affixation as a top Hollywood dog.
In 1951, Columbia Pictures president Harry Cohn offered Kramer the chance to form a production unit at his studio. He would be given free reign over film choice and a very large budget. The producer accepted the position, and hurried to finish his final independent production, the four Oscar winning westerner “High Noon” (1952) starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. Kramer’s work at Columbia, while not lacking of critical attention or merit, didn’t quite fair as well with the public as his independent efforts. Pictures like “Death of a Salesman” (1951), “The Sniper” (1952), “The Member of the Wedding” (1952), “The Juggler” (1953), “The Wild One” (1953), and “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T” (1953) were unusual and hard for the viewers to understand, and consequently lost money. In 1953, Kramer and Cohn decided on an early termination of their five year contract, and the producer was given his final assignment.
His last film as a Columbia worker, “The Caine Mutiny” (1954) starring Humphrey Bogart, actually covered all of the losses he had accumulated. With the end of his contract, Kramer went back to independent production. He began with his directorial debut, “Not as a Stranger” (1955), a medical drama that found financial success. He decided to continue directing his productions, following with “The Pride and the Passion” (1957), which failed. Next, he released “The Defiant Ones” (1958), a tale of two convicts – one black and one white – who must rely on each other for survival upon their escape from prison. The picture marked the beginning of Kramer’s most fruitful years as a producer and director of difficult, and sometimes complex, subjects. He undertook the topic of the bomb in “On the Beach” (1959). Then he fictionalized two trials of the past in “Inherit the Wind” (1960), which focused on the 1925 'monkey trial' or teaching of evolution in schools, and “Judgment at Nuremburg” (1961), which followed the prosecution of Nazi war criminals.
In 1963, he took a break from his heavy messaged pictures by putting out the slapstick comedy “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World”. Kramer returned to his serious filmmaking two years following, with the Katherine Ann Porter adaptation of “Ship of Fools” (1965). In 1967, the director/producer released “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” starring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier, a story about interracial marriage. The comedy won two Academy Awards and was nominated for eight more.
During the 1970s, Kramer failed to find the same successes he had had prior. His later films, including “Bless the Beasts and Children” (1971), “Oklahoma Crude” (1973), “The Domino Principle” (1977), and his final “The Runner Stumbles” (1979) ranged from poorly made to disastrous failures. In the 80's, Kramer moved to Bellevue, Washington. In the 90s, he returned to Hollywood with the intent to begin making movies again. However, his goal never came to be and on February 19, 2001 in Los Angeles, California, he died from pneumonia. For his contributions to the motion picture industry, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In fact, his star was the first to ever be put down on the famous walk.
1979 The Runner Stumbles
1977 The Domino Principle
1975 Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
1975 Judgment: The Court Martial of Lieutenant William Calley
1974 Judgement: The Court Martial of the Tiger of Malaya - General Yamashita
1974 Judgement: The Trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
1973 Oklahoma Crude
1971 Bless the Beasts & Children
1969 The Secret of Santa Vittoria
1967 Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
1965 Ship of Fools
1963 It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
1963 A Child Is Waiting
1962 Pressure Point
1961 Judgment at Nuremberg
1960 Inherit the Wind
1959 On the Beach
1958 The Defiant Ones
1957 The Pride and the Passion
1955 Not as a Stranger
1954 The Caine Mutiny
1953 The Wild One
1953 The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.
1953 The Juggler
1952 Eight Iron Men
1952 The Member of the Wedding
1952 The Happy Time
1952 The Four Poster
1952 High Noon
1952 The Sniper
1952 My Six Convicts
1951 Death of a Salesman
1950 The Men
1950 Cyrano de Bergerac
1949 Home of the Brave
1948 So This Is New York
1942 The Moon and Sixpence
1941 So Ends Our Night
1933 Flying Down to Rio
1933 Lady for a Day