George Cukor: Hollywood’s Best Actor Director–Bergman, Ingrid (Gaslight)

George Cukor was without a doubt Hollywood’s best actor director–Joseph L. Mankiewicz, director of All About Eve

My work really begins and ends through the actors, the more successfully you work through the actors, the more your own work disappears–George Cukor

From the very beginning, Cukor had a wonderful eye for detecting acting talent, which explains the large number of discoveries, actors whose careers he had launched by taking chances and risks.

Known for his knack for producing a relaxed, conducive climate for creative work, Cukor explained, “I choose my actors well and get to know the quirks of their personalities.  Most of all, I share humor with them.

And once shooting begins, he leaves the door for surprises: “I keep my eyes open when they rehearse and perform, because you never know where the next stimulation comes from.”

Please read my bio of Cukor:

Ingrid Bergman

Talking about Cukor’s special qualities as a director, Ingrid Bergman concurred with Hepburn.  “I particularly remember directors, who’ve got a performance out of me that I couldn’t have got out by myself.  There are directors who can really give you marvelous ideas that you’ve never thought of.  Cukor was one of those.”

Cukor would err in this direction.  Says Ingrid Bergman: “He explains everything in such details, that sometimes you feel like saying, ‘Please, don’t say any more because my mind is so full of explanations.”

She elaborated: “If it were a little line like, ‘Have a cup of tea, Cukor would say, ‘What kind of a cup it was and what kind of tea it was,’ until you got so worried you couldn’t say the line.”

Ingrid, along with every actress who has worked with Cukor, singled out his meticulous attention to the smallest detail in each and every scene.