Kurt Neumann

Kurt Neumann

Director | Producer | Writer

Kurt Neumann (5 April 1908, Nuremberg, Germany - 21 August 1958, Los Angeles) was a german Hollywood film director who specialized in science fiction movies in his later career. Neumann came to the US in the early talkie era, hired to direct German language versions of Hollywood films.

Once he mastered English and established himself as technically proficient in filmmaking, Neumann directed such low-budget programmers as The Big Cage (1932), Secret of the Blue Room (1933) with Paul Lukas and Gloria Stuart, Hold 'Em Navy (1936), It Happened in New Orleans (1936) with child star Bobby Breen, Wide Open Faces (1937) with Joe E. Brown, and Ellery Queen: Master Detective (1939).

Neumann was signed by producer Hal Roach in 1941 to direct a series of "streamliners", 45-minute features designed to fill out short double bills. Among these 4-reel comedies were About Face (1942), Brooklyn Orchid (1942), Taxi, Mister? (1943) and Yanks Ahoy (1943).

In 1945, he joined the company of producer Sol Lesser, who engaged Neumann as coproducer and principal director of the Tarzan series produced by Lesser 1945-1954. The Tarzan films were produced for RKO and starred Johnny Weissmuller and later Gordon Scott.

Neumann became known as a specialist in science fiction movies due to his producing and directing such productions as Rocketship X-M (1950) and The Fly (1958). Neumann directed other sci-fi and horror films such as Kronos (1957) and She-Devil (1957), and directed non-scifi films such as The Ring (1952) an independent feature co-starring Rita Moreno, Carnival Story (1954), Mohawk (1956), and The Deerslayer (1957)

Contrary to some published reports, Neumann did not die as a result of suicide, but, rather, from natural causes in Los Angeles on 21 August 1958, shortly after a preview screening of The Fly but before the official premiere. Thus, Neumann never knew what a boxoffice hit The Fly was. He was entombed at Utter McKinley Cemetery in Los Angeles.

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