MAMOULIAN: LIFE ON STAGE AND SCREEN
by David Luhrssen
An Armenian national raised in Russia, Rouben Mamoulian came to New York in 1926, where he created a sensation with an all-black production of Porgy (1927). He then went on to direct the debut Broadway productions of three of the most popular shows in American musical theater: Porgy and Bess, Oklahoma, and Carousel.
Mamoulian began working in film just as the sound revolution was dramatically changing the medium, and he quickly established himself as an innovator. Not only did many of his unusual camera techniques become standard, but he also invented a device that eliminated the background noises created by cameras. Seen as a rebel earlier in his career, Mamoulian gradually gained respect in Hollywood, and the Directors Guild of America awarded him the prestigious D. W. Griffith Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1983.