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Léonide Moguy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Léonide Moguy
Moguy in 1955
Born(1899-07-14)14 July 1899
Died21 April 1976(1976-04-21) (aged 76)
Paris, France
Moguy on set of Tomorrow Is Another Day in 1950

Léonide Moguy (14 July 1899 – 21 April 1976) was a Ukrainian, French and Italian film director, screenwriter and film editor.

Moguy was born Leonid Mohylevskyi (Леонід Могилевський) in Odesa, Russian Empire in 1899 in a Jewish family.[2] He lived in Soviet Ukraine until 1929, in the United States in the 1940s, and in Italy from 1949 until his death.[3] He was active in film between 1927 and 1961. His work has influenced American director Quentin Tarantino, who discovered him while writing the script for Inglourious Basterds, and named a character after him in Django Unchained.[4]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Whistle Stop (1946)
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  • Actor Dennis Christopher discusses his role in 1979's BREAKING AWAY in 2019.


Now, that's a bit of a problem. See, rumor has it... ...the Athenians have already turned you down. And if those philosophers and boy-lovers have found that kind of nerve, then-- - We must be diplomatic. - And, of course, Spartans... ...have their reputation to consider. Choose your next words carefully, Leonidas. They may be your last as king. "Earth and water." Madman. You're a madman. Earth and water. You'll find plenty of both down there. No man, Persian or Greek, no man threatens a messenger. You bring the crowns and heads of conquered kings to my city steps. You insult my queen. You threaten my people with slavery and death. Oh, I've chosen my words carefully, Persian. Perhaps you should have done the same. This is blasphemy. This is madness! Madness? This is Sparta!


Mohylevskyi was born in Odesa in a family of a merchandise worker. During World War I, he was a soldier of the 51st Lithuanian infantry regiment of the Imperial Russian Army in Simferopol. After the war, he was a medical student and worked part-time at the film studio of Dmytro Kharytonov who came from Moscow to Odesa.

Mohylevskyi did not become a doctor, however, graduating from Odesa Institute of National Economy in 1924, he became a lawyer. Soon, he was invited to work as a VUFKU legal advisor at Odesa Film Studio. Mohylevskyi showed interest not only in the letter of the law, but also in laws and principles of film editing as he assisted the director Mykola Saltykov.

In 1927, Mohylevskyi was the head of the Newsreel Department VUFKU, was a colleague of Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman. Together with Oleksandr Dovzhenko he initiated the creation of the first library of Ukrainian films. The department headed by Mohylevskyi began to issue Kinotyzhden, and later, Kinozhurnal VUFKU, a collection of fresh newsreels, “timely and urgent,” that became nearly the only source of news at that time.

Then, Mohylevskyi made two mashup films, How It Was (1927) and Documents of the Era (1928), in collaboration with the director Ya. Habovych. The latter was the most popular VUFKU mashup film based on 150,000 meters of newsreels dating back to 1917-1922.

Leonid Mohylevskyi used archive materials (“some positive fragments” and pre-revolutionary “rubbish”) stored in VUFKU archives or bought from other film studios or private persons as the basis for his film.

An active member of the society Friends of Soviet Cinema, Mohylevskyi edited 16 short films for them, such as Now! and Peak ticket (Піковий квиток) filmed by amateur Experimental Film Studio headed by Hlib Zatvornytskyi.


He moved to France and developed a reputation as a "play doctor" of films. He started directing and had a hit with 40 Little Mothers.[5]


Moguy moved to Hollywood in 1940. He made the film The Night is Ending (1943) at 20th Century Fox.[6] He stayed at Fox to make Paris After Dark then went to RKO to make Action in Arabia.[7]

He was meant to follow Action in Arabia with Experiment Perilous with Paul Henreid at RKO but the film was not made.[8] Instead he made Whistle Stop for United Artists.

"I didn't do the pictures I wanted to", he later said of this time.[9]


Moguy returned to France where he made Bethsabee (1947). In 1947 he announced he would direct the first Belgian-Hollywood co production, New York's Origin, a story of the Belgian refugees who established New York.[10] The film was not made.[11]

Instead he made Tomorrow Is Too Late (1950) which introduced Pier Angeli. They were reunited in Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951).[12]

He went on to make 100 Little Mothers (1952), Children of Love (1953), The Width of the Pavement (1956), Give Me My Chance (1957) and Man Wants To Live (1961).

Personal life

One of Moguy's early companions was the fashion designer Jacques Fath, a sometime actor who appeared in an early Moguy film.[13] Later in life, Moguy befriended German actress Ellen Farner; in her brief contribution to his biography's preface, Farner describes Moguy as "l'ami sublime," citing his humanity, charisma and intelligence, as well as his benevolent gaze.[14]

Selected filmography


  1. ^ Lebon, Éric Antoine. Léonide Moguy. Un citoyen du monde au pays du cinéma. L’Harmattan, 2018. ISBN 978-2-343-15364-3
  2. ^ Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 116.
  3. ^ Александр Васильев; Людмила Лопато (2011). Царица парижских кабаре. Альпина Паблишер. p. 157. ISBN 978-5-9614-2277-1.
  4. ^ Quentin Tarantino interview at Times Talks, excerpt on YouTube
  5. ^ Frank Daugherty (26 November 1943). "Damascus setting for film in which sanders will star". The Christian Science Monitor. ProQuest 514427000.
  6. ^ Schallert, E. (11 June 1943). "DRAMA AND FILM". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 165454619.
  7. ^ Scheuer, P. K. (14 September 1943). "SCREEN AND STAGE". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 165450660.
  8. ^ F. S. (12 December 1943). "HOLLYWOOD FOLLOWS THE HEADLINES". New York Times. ProQuest 106648562.
  9. ^ A. H. W. (6 April 1952). "BY WAY OF REPORT". New York Times. ProQuest 112527520.
  10. ^ Aneta, B. (21 August 1947). "Belgians claim founding of new york in picture". New York Times. ProQuest 107811127.
  11. ^ A.H. WEILER. (2 November 1947). "BY WAY OF REPORT". New York Times. ProQuest 108048548.
  12. ^ Scheuer, P. K. (7 September 1950). "'Size 12' fits at RKO; 'new stars' vote told; rettig possible peter". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 166143653.
  13. ^ Martin, Tracy (2011). Collectible Names and Designs in Women's Fashion : Past and Present. Barnsley: Remember When. p. 124. ISBN 9781844680801.
  14. ^ Lebon, Eric Antoine (2018). Léonide Moguy: Un Citoyen du Monde au Pays du Cinéma. p. 9. ISBN 978-2-343-15364-3.
  15. ^ "Documents of the Era".

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 6 February 2024, at 21:23
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