Korda: Britain's Only Movie Mogul

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9780283063503: Korda: Britain's Only Movie Mogul
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Sir Alexander Korda was one of the world's most important and charismatic movie moguls. In Britain, with films like Rembrandt, The Thief of Bagdad, The Four Feathers and The Third Man, he made movies that in their scale, glamour and sophistication equalled and often surpassed Hollywood. He worked closely with such legends as Samuel Goldwyn, David Selznick and Louis B. Mayer, and guided to stardom screen icons that included Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and Charles Laughton. But for colour and incident none of these great showbusiness lives came even close to matching his own.
Born in 1893 into a remote farming village on Hungary's Great Plain, he was by the end of the First World War running the country's largest film studio, but lost everything in the revolution and counter-revolution that followed. Forced into exile, he set out on an odyssey of the world's movie capitals that took in a decadent and hyperinflationary Berlin, a Hollywood nervously grappling with the talkies, and Paris, where, with Marcel Pagnol, he made Marius, one of the first great sound classics of French cinema.
Settling in London with chameleon ease in the early 1930s, he quickly carved for himself a place at the heart of British culture and society. But behind the public facade of flamboyant film impresario, he played a hidden role that has never been previously documented as one of Britain's most important intelligence agents. A staunch ally of anti-appeasers Winston Churchill and Sir Robert Vansittart, he used his company London Films as a front for the ultra-secret 'Z' organization, and later played a key role in Britain's vital propaganda battle to bring the United States into the Second World War.
Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished material, including the reminiscences and diaries of people who knew Korda, Charles Drazin's biography goes behind the myths to reveal the many sides of one of the twentieth century's most intriguing figures.

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Charles Drazin is the acclaimed author of The Third Man and The Finest Years: British Cinema of the 1940s.

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