Curtiz's Noah's Ark (1929) set the standard for an utter lack of concern for the well-being of actors; several extras died during the climactic flood sequence, reportedly because Curtiz, hoping to incur genuine panic in his performers, had failed to inform them that they'd be deluged with tons of water.
His first cinematic effort, Az Utolsó Bohém (1912) was also the first feature-length film ever made in Hungary.
Curtiz was nominated to the Academy Award for best director four times. The nominations were for:
-Angels with Dirty Faces (Nominated on 1938).
-Four Daughters (1938).
-Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942).
He only won the Oscar for Casablanca.
He ran away from home when he was seventeen years old to work on a circus.
He was married three times:
First with Lucy Doraine, an actress, (1918-1923).
Later with Lili Damita, also an actress, (1925-1926).
And finally with Bess Meredyth, an actress and screenwriter, (1929-1962).
Another time he was chewing out an assistant for neglecting to do a job assigned to him, and yelled, "The next time I want an idiot to do this, I'll do it myself!".
Like it was perviously said, he had trouble with English language. During filming of The Charge of the Light Brigade, he wanted many riderless horses in the background during the final charge. His instructions were, "Bring on the empty horses", later the title of the autobiography of one of the stars of the film, David Niven was just that.
Fought in the Hungarian army during World War I.
Jodie Foster used to own a home that Curtiz built in 1934. The house was originally a guest house on the large estate that he owned. It is copied from small quaint Cotswold cottages found in the midlands in England. In 1995 she put the home up for sale for $1.1 million.
Directed 10 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Paul Muni, John Garfield, James Cagney, Walter Huston, Humphrey Bogart, Claude Rains, Joan Crawford, Ann Blyth, Eve Arden and William Powell. Cagney and Crawford won Oscars for their performances in one of Curtiz' movies.
His thick Hungarian accent often made it difficult for cast and crew members to understand his English. During the filming of Casablanca, for instance, he asked a set dresser for a "poodle" and later it was discovered than, in fact, he wanted a "poodle" of water.
Could be intensely absorbed, to the point of distraction. Once was hurt falling out of a moving car because he wanted to write down an idea. He was driving at the time.
Brother of assistant director David Curtiz.
Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, CA., in the Whispering Pines section.
Curtiz: The scenario isn't the exact truth, but we have the facts to prove it.
Curtiz: It's dull from beginning to end. But it's loaded with entertainment.
Curtiz: Don't talk to me while I'm interrupting!!
Curtiz: (Berating David Niven on the set) You think you know f*ck everything and I know f*ck nothing. Well let me tell you, I know f*ck all!!
Curtiz: The only things you regret are the things you don't do.