Edward Ludwig (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 07, 2022

Probably Hollywood’s most-traveled director is Edward Ludwig, the man who directed Edward G. Robinson in “The Last Gangster,’ and who has given the screen such pictures as “Manhattan Madness,” “The Man Who Reclaimed His Head” and many other notable screen plays. Former stage actor, assistant director, “gag man,” writer, Ludwig is one of the foremost exponents of fine pictorial work in directing. He learned camera technique by actual experience, operating cameras for his own instruction, and maintains in his home every modern form of professional camera.

He loves travel, and between pictures likes to roam to some new foreign spot. As a result, he has been in Balta, Odessa, St. Petersburg, Paris, Liverpool, Berlin, London, Montreal and all their neighboring country, as well as Asia and the South Seas.

Becomes Playwright

Ludwig was born in Odessa, Russia, October 7, the son of Jacob Ludwig, silversmith, and his wife Edith. From his father, as a boy, he heard details of cities in other lands, their architectural history and design, and in later life went over the route described in his father’s accounts. When he was a youth the family moved to New York, and Ludwig entered Manhattan Commercial College, studying law and banking. His early ambition was to be a criminal lawyer, probably inspired by a flair for the dramatic. But with a literary bent he began writing articles for magazines, and then wrote a book on early Russia, published in that country. He tried his hand at playwriting, which led to his becoming a stage actor in New York to learn the technique of putting a play together. From this he went to a New York studio in the early days, acting first as an assistant director, then becoming gag man, writer, finally director. From slapstick and farce he went into dramatic pictures, and finally came to Hollywood.

Camera Expert

Ludwig is a deep student of history and literature, an avid reader of Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Dickens; Spinoza of the philosophers; among playwrights most admires O’Neill and Steinbeck; among artists, Gainsborough and Rembrandt; is a talented performer on the pipe organ, plays an excellent game of golf, and likes biographies and travel fiction.

Unlike many persons, he does not believe in “hunches,” but says that he is a firm believer in the accuracy of intuition.

In the earlier days of his directing, while studying camera effects and technique, he often operated his own camera, thus gaining his wide knowledge of lens principles.

Master of Montage

Among his pictures are “The Last Gangster,” “Manhattan Madness,” “The Man Who Reclaimed His Head,” “Three Kids and a Queen,” “A Woman’s Man,” “Friends of Mr. Sweeney,” “Old Man Rhythm” and many others ranging from short comedies of the silent days to modern feature pictures.

Among his close friends are Edward G. Robinson, Paul Lukas, Lou Ostrow, Lionel Stander, Ivan Lebedeff and members of the older Russian colony in Hollywood.

Film producers say that he has, more than most directors, the Russian idea of montage and pictorial expression of drama, as advocated by Eisenstein and other modern directors of Russian pictures. He also, being a musician, participates actively in preparation and recording of the dramatic musical scores of productions he directs.

His picture career covers a total period of twenty-two years.

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937