Browning, Tod


Browning, Tod
orig. Charles Albert Browning

born July 12, 1880, Louisville, Ky., U.S.
died Oct. 6, 1962, Malibu, Calif.

U.S. film director.

He was a circus performer and vaudeville comic before joining the Biograph film studio in 1915. He wrote several screenplays, then directed melodramas and adventure films (1917–25). He directed the macabre film The Unholy Three (1925), starring Lon Chaney, followed by Dracula (1931) and Freaks (1932), which established his reputation for films of horror and the grotesque.

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▪ American director
original name  Charles Albert Browning 
born July 12, 1880, Louisville, Ky., U.S.
died October 6, 1962, Malibu, Calif.

      American director who specialized in films of the grotesque and macabre, many of which continue to retain their full shock value.

      Browning, the son of professional baseball player Pete Browning, ran away from home at age 16 and found steady employment in circuses and carnivals as a clown, contortionist, magician's assistant, and barker. After working in vaudeville as a blackface comedian, he was hired for the long-running burlesque revue The Whirl of Mirth, in which he appeared in sketches based on popular comic-strip characters of the period. In 1913 he was signed by Biograph Films (Biograph Company), where under the supervision of D.W. Griffith (Griffith, D W) he was featured in a series of knockabout comedies. He went on to costar in the Bill the Office Boy comedy series for Mutual Films, and in 1915 he made his directorial debut with the one-reel silent The Lucky Transfer.

      Browning was seriously injured in an auto accident in June 1915. His acting career over, he returned to films as a writer and director, graduating to feature-length productions with Jim Bludso (1917). The following year he joined Universal Studios, where he directed such Priscilla Dean vehicles as The Virgin of Stamboul (1920) and Outside the Law (1921), the latter film representing his first collaboration with actor Lon Chaney, Sr. (Chaney, Lon) In 1925 he moved to MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.), where he wrote and directed a series of bizarre, almost surrealistic melodramas, again with the versatile Chaney as his star. Among the team's best efforts were The Unholy Three (1925), a story of a trio of crooked carnival performers; The Unknown (1927), starring Chaney as an “armless wonder” who plots a grisly revenge against a romantic rival; and London After Midnight (1927; now lost), with Chaney in a dual role as a Scotland Yard inspector and a sinister vampire.

      After making the transition to talking pictures with The Thirteenth Chair (1929), Browning was set to direct the film version of Dracula, with Lon Chaney in the title role. Chaney's sudden death in 1930 forced the director to find a substitute in the form of Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi, who had played a key supporting role in Thirteenth Chair. The success of Dracula (1931) enabled Browning to flourish throughout the early 1930s, but his string of successes came to an abrupt end with Freaks (1932), a truly grotesque revenge melodrama featuring a cast of genuine dwarfs, Siamese twins, human skeletons, bearded ladies, microcephalics, and limbless sideshow performers. Though it would later be hailed as the director's masterpiece, Freaks was greeted with almost universal revulsion upon its original release; critics used such negatives as “ghastly” and “repellent,” while the British censors successfully banned the picture in that country for more than three decades. Freaks all but finished Browning's Hollywood career; he would direct only four more films—including Mark of the Vampire, a fascinating 1935 remake of London After Midnight—before his retirement in 1939. Exiling himself to his home in Malibu, he went into virtual seclusion after the death of his wife, actress Alice Wilson, in 1944.

Additional Reading
David J. Skal and Elias Savada, Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning (1995).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Browning, Tod — orig. Charles Albert Browning (12 jul. 1880, Louisville, Ky., EE.UU.–6 oct. 1962, Malibú, Cal.). Director de cine estadounidense. Fue artista de circo y humorista de vodevil antes de incorporarse al estudio cinematográfico Biograph en 1915.… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Browning, Tod —    см. Браунинг, Тод …   Режиссерская энциклопедия. Кино США

  • Browning — Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert * * * (as used in expressions) Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Tod Charles Albert Browning …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Tod Browning — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Browning. Tod Browning Données clés Nom de naissance Charles Albert Browning, Jr. Naissance 12 juillet 1880 Louisville (Kentucky) États Unis …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tod Browning — Infobox actor name = Tod Browning imagesize = caption = birthname = Charles Albert Browning, Jr. birthdate = birth date|1880|7|12 birthplace = city state|Louisville|Kentucky, U.S. deathdate = death date and age|1962|10|6|1880|7|12 deathplace =… …   Wikipedia

  • Tod Browning — Nombre real Charles Albert Browning, Jr. Nacimiento 12 de julio de 1882 Louisville, Kentucky,  Estados Unidos …   Wikipedia Español

  • Browning — may refer to: * Browning (chemical process), the chemical process of browning food * Browning (slang), a light skinned woman or man of African or East Indian descent. A term that is used in Jamaica. * Browning (partial cooking), the cooking… …   Wikipedia

  • Browning — ist der Name mehrerer Personen: Christopher Browning (* 1944), US amerikanischer Historiker Daniele Browning (* 1981), jamaikanische Sprinterin David Browning (1931–1956), US amerikanischer Wasserspringer Edmond Lee Browning (* 1929), US… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tod (Begriffsklärung) — Tod steht für: Tod, der Verlust der Lebensfunktionen eines Lebewesens Tod (Antike), die Bestattungsformen und Philosophie frühgriechischer Zeit Tod in der Medizin, das Ende des Lebens eines Individuums Tod, eine Figur der Scheibenwelt Romane von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tod Browning — Charles Albert Browning (* 12. Juli 1882 in Louisville, Kentucky; † 6. Oktober 1962 in Santa Monica, Kalifornien) war ein US amerikanischer Filmregisseur, der vor allem durch einige Beiträge zum klassischen Horrorfilm der 1920er und 1930er Jahre… …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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