Alexander Korda

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Alexander Korda (around 1920)

Sir Alexander Korda , born Sándor László Kellner or Sándor Korda (born September 16, 1893 in Pusztatúrpásztó , Hungary ; † January 23, 1956 in London ) was a Hungarian-British film producer and film director who for many years was one of the most important figures in the British film industry belonged to. He was the brother of the director Zoltan Korda and the film architect Vincent Korda and the uncle of the publisher and writer Michael Korda .


Alexander Korda, who worked in the film industry like his two older brothers, came from the Jewish Kellner family. He had previously worked as a journalist and joined the film industry in Budapest in 1912, where he wrote subtitles for silent films, among other things . From 1914 he directed his own films and soon became one of the most successful Hungarian directors. In 1917 he founded the Corvin production company.

After the collapse of the Danube monarchy , he was appointed commissioner for film affairs in the civil-social-democratic government under Mihály Károlyi . In the following socialist Soviet republic under Béla Kun , he kept the post of "director for film art" and pushed through the nationalization of the film industry. After the overthrow of the council government in August 1919, he was imprisoned, but under pressure from his wife Maria he was released after a short time and was able to leave for Austria. There he resumed his directorial work.

Korda's Viennese period began with a film adaptation of Mark Twain's Prince and Beggar Boy . He realized various major projects at Count Sascha Kolowrat-Krakowsky's Sascha-Film . His most elaborate work in 1922 was the twelve million crown biblical epic Samson and Delilah . He also built his wife, María Corda , to become the star of German-language films.

In 1923 Korda, who now translated his first name Sándor into Alexander, came to Berlin . Among other things, he shot a Dubarry from today with Hans Albers and Marlene Dietrich . In 1926 he accepted an offer to Hollywood , but returned to Europe four years later after various arguments with his studio.

He first went to France, where he directed two films, and settled in London in 1932. Here he was given a free hand in the staging and production of his films and built up Denham Film Studios . In 1933 his first global hit, the period film The Private Life of Henry VIII , appeared, which Charles Laughton helped achieve.

Korda then developed into the dominant figure in the British film industry. His brother Zoltan Korda's adventure and colonial films were particularly popular with audiences. As a producer, he sought young talent, in the 1930s he promoted young actors and directors such as Laurence Olivier , David Lean and Carol Reed . Occasionally, as in the biographies, he staged The Private Life of Don Juan (1934) with Douglas Fairbanks senior. and Rembrandt with again Charles Laughton. Also, Vivien Leigh , Ralph Richardson and Flora Robson got their start in his production company, London Film Productions .

In 1940, when he was busy with his lavish production The Thief of Baghdad , he went to the USA because of the threat of war and had his work completed there. The trick-technically sophisticated film, staged by three directors, was awarded three Oscars.

In the USA, after Lord Nelson's Last Love (1941) with Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier , Korda concentrated almost exclusively on his production activities . In 1942, the native Hungarian was the first personality in the film world to be beaten by the English royal family to become a Knight Bachelor ("Sir"). With Samuel Goldwyn , head of the United Artists , Korda had founded the Korda-Goldwyn Corporation .

After the end of the war he lived in London again and continued to produce significant works, including The Third Man (1949) with Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles . In the post-war period he was mostly limited to his role as Executive Producer of London Films .

After his first marriage to Maria Corda, he married the Indian-born English actress Merle Oberon . His third wife was Alexandra Boycun. His son Peter Vincent Korda was born in 1921.

Sir Alexander Korda died in 1956 at the age of 62 after a heart attack . He was in the Golders Green Crematorium in London Borough of Barnet cremated and scattered there on a field.

Filmography (selection)

Silent films

Sound films

Films as a producer


Web links

Commons : Alexander Korda  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. according to the biography on
  2. according to Kay Less : The film's great personal dictionary
  3. ^ London Film Production. Schweizer Film = Film Suisse: official organ of Switzerland, accessed on June 11, 2020 .
  4. ^ Korda-Goldwyn Corporation. Retrieved June 8, 2020 .
  5. Alexander Korda in the Find a Grave database . Retrieved September 7, 2017.