As part of the Actors’ Studio he revolutionized acting in the late 40s and 50s…he then went on to direct the most influential actors of their time–which set the bar for generations to come: Marlon Brando, James Dean, Eli Wallach, Marilyn Monroe, Lee Remick, Patricia Neal, Warren Beatty, Karl Malden, Carroll Baker, Natalie Wood…
Another aspect that contributed to the power and intensity of his films was his close collaboration with writers–he treated them with respect, and as the creative force that they each individually were: Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, William Inge, Budd Schulberg, John Steinbeck. Harold Pinter.
“Kazan remained controversial in some circles until his death for testimony he gave before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) in 1952, a period that many, such as journalist Michael Mills, feel was ‘the most controversial period in Hollywood history.’ ”
When the Academy awarded him an honor some years ago, before his death, director (a fellow Jew like Kazan) Spielberg refused to stand-up and applaud Kazan. He applauded quietly from his seat, so many years later the HUAC incident was still very palpable.
Regardless, Kazan will be remembered for being an “Actor’s Director” and revolutionizing the cinematic industry–an immigrant that came from nothing, with nothing, and built a legacy.
The American Dream in all its splendor
Cruz the Muse
“I gave my life to the Group Theatre, because in it I’m building something for myself. What I build, I am.”–Elia Kazan