Gustav Machatý (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 07, 2022

Fifteen  years ago, on his first Hollywood adventure, Gustav Machatý trained and attended a studio comedy lion known as Humpy, and Machatý himself was called “Gus the Dutchman.” Carl Laemmle, Sr., had brought him from Prague, to “begin at the bottom.”

Machatý become a property man, then rose to serve as assistant to Tod Browning, the director. Bernard Hyman, now a producer at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, was interested in him, but Machatý decided he would do better in Europe.

He returned to Prague, where he was born. There, he discovered Marlene Dietrich and introduced her to Joseph Mai, then about to direct “Tragedy of Love.”

Miss Dietrich was given a screen test which resulted in her winning the leading feminine role in the picture. As soon as the production reached the screens of Europe’s theatres she was hailed as a new screen luminary.

Directed “Ecstasy”

Machatý directed “The Kreutzer Sonata,” “Nocturne,” “Erotikon” and later, the revolutionary film, “Ecstasy,” which won international fame for him and first prize at the Venice Film Exposition.

On his initial venture in Hollywood, Machatý introduced the late Rudolph Valentino to the exotic Pola Negri, which began a romance that attracted international attention.

With that experience behind him, the Czecho-Slovakian director, a Doctor of Philosophy and a distinguished figure in the European cinema, returned to Hollywood under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, to make his first American picture.

14 His Lucky Number

Machatý is a linguist and has traveled extensively in all parts of the world. Skiing is his favorite sport, he is superstitious about the numeral 14, which he considers lucky, and his favorite American pictures are Viva Villa! and “Sequoia.”

Machatý, the son of Otto Machatý, a banker of Prague, has lived in many parts of the world, having at various times established homes in Rome, New York City, Berlin, Paris, London and Prague.

He is a Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Prague and speaks Czech, Polish, French, German, Italian and English fluently. He has a brother, Otto, an engineer in Sidney, Australia, and a sister who is the wife of the Czecho-Slovak ambassador to Tokio.

Machatý is greatly interested in music and color in motion pictures, but believes it will be some time before color reaches its highest perfection. One of his closest friends is Franz Lehar, famous Viennese composer.

Noise His Aversion

He likes people who are intelligent, but who don’t attempt to flaunt their knowledge. He has one pet aversion : he hates noise. He does not put any faith in hunches, but rather reasons out every problem before tackling it. His favorite form of relaxation is sleep and he always spends 12 hours that way if it is possible.

He began his dramatic career while still in the university and later became a director and actor on the stage in Vienna and Prague at the age of 17.

His favorite modern author is Jacob Wassermann and he likes the paintings of Cézanne. He raises Great Dane dogs for pets. In addition to his other accomplishments, Machatý plays the piano expertly. If and when he retires from screen directorial work, he intends to take up writing as a means of livelihood. He attends the moving picture theaters several times a week as a means of studying production technique.

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