American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre Presents...
Making Movie History for 80 Years!

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The American Cinematheque is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization.
The Film Programs of the American Cinematheque are presented at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Randall Michelson. Detail of Egyptian Theatre Ceiling.

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<<< November 2002 >>>

Farewell To Andre

We’re deeply saddened by the recent death of director Andre de Toth, a longtime friend of the American Cinematheque and a member of the Board of Trustees, who passed away at his home in Burbank on Sunday, October 27th - just a few blocks from Warner Bros. Studios, where Andre made some of his best known films, including HOUSE OF WAX, SPRINGFIELD RIFLE and CRIMEWAVE (and where Andre’s wife Ann worked for many years as Executive Assistant to former Warner Bros.’ CEO Robert Daley.)  In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king, goes the old saying - and Andre was a very special kind of royalty, a Hungarian genius of the old school who cut his cinematic eye-teeth with the Kordas in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s working on THE JUNGLE BOOK and THE THIEF OF BAGDAD, before immigrating to the U.S., where he kick-started his career by directing one of the first (and most prescient) movies about the menace of Nazism, NONE SHALL ESCAPE in 1944.   To the end of his life Andre was immensely proud of the fact that he had sounded the alarm bells about the Nazi death camps before almost anyone else in Hollywood.  In an industry known as much for compromise as for achievement, Andre was one of the rare few who really stuck to his guns - he continually made films about dark, disturbing subjects such as adultery (PITFALL), drug addiction (MONKEY ON MY BACK), spiritual and physical violence (DAY OF THE OUTLAW), the sheer insanity of war (PLAY DIRTY), without ever talking down to his audience, or attempting to sugarcoat the painful reality of the subject at hand.  In person and on film, Andre was direct, honest, and to the point - his one good eye acted as a powerful and inescapable lens, focusing on the raw, emotional truth of the story.  Put The Drama In Front Of The Camera was a favorite saying of Andre’s, one he firmly believed in.   Andre also had a wicked and mischievous sense of humor - he pulled me aside once, just before the beginning of a post-screening discussion of one his films, and whispered in my ear, “Remember, whatever I say, I’m your friend.”  It was that sense of humor, coupled with a natural camera-eye and his pared-to-the-bone instincts, that earned him the admiration of directors like Martin Scorsese, Bertrand Tavernier and Curtis Hanson, film scholars like Todd McCarthy and Anthony Slide (who co-authored Andre’s wonderful book “De Toth On De Toth”), and film programmers like Andre’s dear friend Thierry Fremaux of the Institut Lumiere in Lyons, France.  For those who love movies, Andre was the real thing, a director’s director, the last of a rare breed of Old World craftsmen and artists.  To the end of his life, Andre enjoyed nothing better than having a cup of coffee at his favorite café, Priscilla’s, in Burbank; he insisted on sitting outside, where he could enjoy the fresh air, hear other people talking, dreaming, arguing about the movies.  I think it reminded him of his days growing up in Hungary, the cafes and coffee-shops in Budapest before the war.

-- Dennis Bartok, American Cinematheque