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Stanley Kramer DIRECTOR


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

1970       R.P.M.

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       Champion 

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   

Matinee Classics - The Pride and the Passion starring Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Sophia Loren, Theodore Bikel, John Wengraf, Jay Novello, Jose Nieto and Philip Van Zandt
Matinee Classics - Tootsie starring Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Bill Murray, Sydney Pollack, George Gaynes, Geena Davis, Doris Belack, Lynne Thigpen and Estelle Getty
Matinee Classics - Not as a Stranger starring Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford, Charles Bickford, Myron McCormick, Lon Chaney Jr., Jesse White, Harry Morgan and Lee Marvin
Matinee Classics - On the Beach starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, Anthony Perkins, Donna Anderson, John Tate and Guy Doleman
Matinee Classics - The Defiant Ones starring Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Charles McGraw, Lon Chaney Jr., King Donovan, Claude Akins, Lawrence Dobkin, Whit Bissell, Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer, Kevin Coughlin and Cara Williams

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