Paul Muni aka Frederich Meshilem Weisenfreund, who won an ‘Academy Award’ out of 5 nominations, was known for his intense, powerful performances and creative makeup skills.
Muni began his acting career at 12 alongside his actor-parents in Chicago’s Yiddish theater. He made his screen debut in drama-film ‘The Valiant’ (1929) fetching Academy Award nomination for very first film. The same year he appeared in pre-code drama-film ‘Seven Faces’ wherein he played 7 different roles using makeup techniques; however, both films proved commercial disappointments.
Muni played lead as Italian drug cartel kingpin ‘Antonio ‘Tony’ Carmonte’ in gangster-film ‘Scarface’ (1932) inspired from life of Al Capone. The acclaimed and hit movie brought him popularity.
Muni’s pre-code crime-drama film ‘I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang’ (1932) with his portrayal of a wrongfully convicted man brought him Academy Award nomination. He next starred as a go-getter country-boy in drama-film ‘The World Changes’ (1933), a demoted newspaper editor in crime-drama film ‘Hi, Nellie’ (1934), also starred in drama-film ‘Bordertown’ (1935) based on novel by Carroll Graham, crime-film ‘Black Fury’ (1935), then crime-film ‘Dr. Socrates’ (1935) as a physician.
Muni played the titular role of renowned scientist in the successful historical biographical-film ‘The Story of Louis Pasteur’ (1936), and won ‘Academy Award for Best Actor’ and ‘Volpi Cup.’ In ‘The Good Earth’ (1937), based on Pearl Buck’s novel, he played a Chinese farmer. The same year, he portrayed French novelist-playwright Emile Zola in biographical-film ‘The Life of Emile Zola’ which achieved critical and commercial success and fetched Muni an Academy Award nomination.
After playing titular role in historical drama-film ‘Juarez’ (1939) and appearing as a doctor in drama-film ‘We Are not Alone’ (1939), Muni concentrated more on his theater performances. Thereafter, he appeared in historical drama-film ‘Hudson’s Bay’ (1941), war-film ‘Commandos Strike at Dawn’ (1942) and a dramatized account of life of pianist-composer Chopin ‘A Song to Remember’ (1945).
Muni played a Russian in war-film ‘Counter-Attack’ (1945) followed by a light-hearted performance in fantasy-film ‘Angel on My Shoulder’ (1946). He also appeared in TV-series including ‘The Philco Television Playhouse’ (1948), ‘The Ford Television Theater’ (1953), ‘General Electric Theater’ (1956), ‘Playhouse 90’ (1958) and others.
Muni received Academy Award nomination for his last film appearance in ‘The Last Angry Man’ (1959). His Last screen appearance was in TV-series ‘Saints & Sinners’ (1962) before retiring due to failing eyesight and health.
An ambitious but insane and violent gangster manages to climb the ladder of success in the mob, while also trying to protect his sister from his life of crime.
A dedicated general practitioner named Dr Sam Abelman tries to help every sick and poor person in his neighborhood. Meanwhile, his journalist nephew tries to help him by profiling his life on television.
After moving to Chicago, an ambitious farmer manages to become a pioneer in the meat packing business, but as he continues to get richer, his success gets into his head.
A mild-mannered widower who lives in a small Norwegian village is enraged at the atrocities of the Nazis against his fellow peaceful villagers. He escapes to Britain and returns leading a commando force against the Nazis.
Joe is a simple immigrant who is working as a coal miner. He wants to buy a farm and marry Anna, the girl whom he is in love with, but things get complicated as he finds himself in the middle of a dispute between the workers and the mine owners.
During the Second World War, French fighter pilot Lt. Claude Maury gains a bad reputation because of his daredevil attitude, as during his missions, most of his gunners are killed or wounded. Only Lt Jean Herbillion volunteers to fly with him, but Maury is unaware of the fact that Herbillion is having an affair with his wife.
Hudson’s Bay is a historical film, which revolves around the adventures of a French Canadian Explorer Pierra Espirit Radisson. Along with his associate Gooseberry, Radisson plans to build a vast fur business in the Hudson Bay area.
Paul Muni Awards
|The Story of Louis Pasteur||Best Actor in a Leading Role||1937|