Directed by Mitchell Leisen

Directed by Mitchell Leisen

10 Episodes

Though Mitchell Leisen’s name is less well-remembered today than those of his flashier Paramount colleagues Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges—both of whom Leisen helmed scripts by before they got their own shot in the director’s chair—he was a true cinematic artist who brought an unmistakeable elegance, sophistication, and genuine depth of feeling to every project he touched. One of the very few gay filmmakers to work as an A-list director in studio-era Hollywood, Leisen showed a facility for a wide range of genres, lending his impeccable taste and finesse to the outré pre-Code musical MURDER AT THE VANITIES, the sparkling romantic comedies EASY LIVING and REMEMBER THE NIGHT, the masterfully moving melodramas HOLD BACK THE DAWN and TO EACH HIS OWN, and the unsung protofeminist noir NO MAN OF HER OWN. He was also one of the golden age’s foremost directors of women, with stars like Barbara Stanwyck, Jean Arthur, Olivia de Havilland, Carole Lombard, and Claudette Colbert all giving some of their finest, most radiant performances under his sensitive, unerringly refined direction.

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Directed by Mitchell Leisen
  • Mitchell Leisen Teaser

    Episode 1

  • Death Takes a Holiday

    Episode 2

    Directed by Mitchell Leisen • 1934 • United States
    Starring Fredric March, Evelyn Venable, Guy Standing

    One of the most fascinating films of the pre-Code era, this mesmerizing fantasy stars Fredric March as the personification of Death. Unable to understand why mortals fear him, he assumes the f...

  • Murder at the Vanities

    Episode 3

    Directed by Mitchell Leisen • 1934 • United States
    Starring Carl Brisson, Victor McLaglen, Jack Oakie

    A grisly murder, nearly nude chorines, and a razzle-dazzle ode to marijuana all feature in this outrageous musical mystery, one of the most jaw-dropping examples of what Hollywood could get away...

  • Easy Living

    Episode 4

    Directed by Mitchell Leisen • 1937 • United States
    Starring Jean Arthur, Edward Arnold, Ray Milland

    The madcap misunderstandings pile up in this Preston Sturges–penned screwball fairy tale that sparkles thanks to the light touch of director Mitchell Leisen. An effervescent Jean Arthur stars as t...

  • Midnight

    Episode 5

    Directed by Mitchell Leisen • 1939 • United States
    Starring Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche, John Barrymore

    Arriving at Paris’s Gare de l’Est train station with only her gold lamé gown on her back, penniless American ex-showgirl Eve Peabody (Claudette Colbert) must use her wiles in order to work h...

  • Remember the Night

    Episode 6

    Directed by Mitchell Leisen • 1940 • United States
    Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi

    Mitchell Leisen brings a poignant human tenderness to this pitch-perfect blend of comedy, romance, and holiday spirit. On trial for pilfering a bracelet from a New York jewelry store, compu...

  • Kitty

    Episode 7

    Directed by Mitchell Leisen • 1945 • United States
    Starring Paulette Goddard, Ray Milland, Patric Knowles

    Mitchell Leisen’s eye for opulent period detail is on full display in this visually resplendent take on the Pygmalion story. A delightfully saucy Paulette Goddard is the eighteenth-century L...

  • To Each His Own

    Episode 8

    Directed by Mitchell Leisen • 1946 • United States
    Starring Olivia de Havilland, Mary Anderson, Roland Culver

    Olivia de Havilland won a well-deserved Academy Award for her performance in this exquisitely moving melodrama. Spanning both World Wars, TO EACH HIS OWN follows the roller-coaster journ...

  • No Man of Her Own

    Episode 9

    Directed by Mitchell Leisen • 1950 • United States
    Starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Lund, Jane Cowl

    Mitchell Leisen took a detour into noir territory with this dark drama based on a novel by pulp existentialist Cornell Woolrich. Pregnant, unmarried, and without hope for the future, Helen Ferguson...

  • Darling, How Could You!

    Episode 10

    Directed by Mitchell Leisen • 1951 • United States
    Starring Joan Fontaine, John Lund, Mona Freeman

    The last film Mitchell Leisen directed at his longtime home studio of Paramount is a sprightly domestic comedy set in turn-of-the-century New York. Based on the play “Alice Sit-by-the-Fire” by Pete...