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Korda, Vincent (1896-1979)

Art director

Main image of Korda, Vincent (1896-1979)

Vincent Korda trained as a painter at Budapest Academy of Art, and at the Academies of several other cities. Most often associated with his brothers Alexander and Zoltán Korda, he became famous in his own right as designer of such London Films productions as The Private Life of Henry VIII (d. Alexander Korda, 1933), The Thief of Bagdad (d. Michael Powell/Ludwig Berger/Tim Whelan, 1940), for the futuristic vision of Things to Come (d. William Cameron Menzies, 1936) and the solidly evoked world of Rembrandt (d. Alexander Korda, 1936).

As distinct from these period or fanciful achievements, he scored major successes with two films celebrating European cities: his production design for The Third Man (d. Carol Reed, 1949) colludes unforgettably with Robert Krasker's camera to recreate the ruined, melancholy beauty of postwar Vienna; and in Summer Madness (UK/US, d. David Lean, 1955) he has considerable help from Venice in providing a setting for the heroine's romantic awakening.

He was with Alexander Korda at MGM-British for Perfect Strangers (1945) and followed him to the re-formed London Films in 1946.

His credits all represent a high level of artistic flair and respected accomplishment; the least driven of the three brothers, he in fact had the longest career.

His first wife was actress Gertrude Musgrove, the mother of Michael Korda, who wrote the excellent Charmed Lives (1979), about the Korda family, and a shoddy bestseller, Queenie (1985), based transparently but scurrilously on the life of Auntie Merle Oberon.

Book: Accent on Design: Four European Art Directors by Catherine A.Surowiec (1992).

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Cinema

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Private Life of Henry VIII, The (1933)Private Life of Henry VIII, The (1933)

Charles Laughton stars as Henry VIII in British cinema's first US smash hit

Thumbnail image of Rembrandt (1936)Rembrandt (1936)

Charles Laughton stars in Korda's biopic of the great Dutch painter

Thumbnail image of Summer Madness (1955)Summer Madness (1955)

David Lean directs Katherine Hepburn in this Venice-set romantic comedy

Thumbnail image of Thief of Bagdad, The (1940)Thief of Bagdad, The (1940)

Michael Powell co-directed Korda's lavish Arabian Nights fantasy

Thumbnail image of Things to Come (1936)Things to Come (1936)

Britain's biggest sci-fi film of the 1930s, adapted from H.G.Wells

Thumbnail image of Third Man, The (1949)Third Man, The (1949)

Masterful thriller set in postwar Vienna - recently voted Britain's greatest film

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Thumbnail image of Magyars in MayfairMagyars in Mayfair

Hungary's contribution to British film and television

Thumbnail image of Producing The Third ManProducing The Third Man

Casting, shooting and editing a cinema classic

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Thumbnail image of Korda, Alexander (1893-1956)Korda, Alexander (1893-1956)

Director, Producer, Executive Producer

Thumbnail image of Korda, Zoltán (1895-1961)Korda, Zoltán (1895-1961)

Director, Producer