Andrew L. Stone

Active - 1927 - 1972  |   Born - Jul 16, 1902   |   Died - Jun 9, 1999   |   Genres - Crime, Comedy, Drama, Musical, Thriller

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As a student at the University of California, Andrew Stone got a leg up on most other aspiring filmmakers by getting a studio job while still in school. After starting as an employee of a San Francisco film distributor, he moved to Hollywood and took a job in a film lab in the mid '20s, and moved into the director's chair in 1927 as a maker of short films at Paramount. He began making features in 1928, but had alargely undistinguished career, sparked by a few pleasant musical subjects (The Hard-Boiled Canary [1941]) and one classic (Stormy Weather [1943]), along with one bizarre thriller, Julie (1956), in which Doris Day plays a stewardess forced to land a plane when her estranged husband shoots both pilots. In 1960, however, Stone and his wife Virginia embarked on an ambitious program of independent production with some fascinating results -- the first of their efforts, Cry Terror, starring James Mason and Rod Steiger, remains one of the most chilling crime thrillers of its generation. The Last Voyage, made the same year, required the partial sinking of an ocean liner to film its story of a family trapped in a ship disaster. But Stone ran into trouble at the beginning of the '70s with two successive flops, in the form of biographical films dealing with Edward Grieg and Johann Strauss, Song of Norway (1970) and The Great Waltz (1972), respectively, which effectively ended his career as a producer/director.

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