Kurt Neumann (director)

Kurt Neumann (5 April 1908 – 21 August 1958) was a German Hollywood film director who specialized in science fiction movies in his later career.[1]

Kurt Neumann
Born(1908-04-05)5 April 1908
Died21 August 1958(1958-08-21) (aged 50)
OccupationFilm director


Neumann came to the U.S. in the early talkie era, hired to direct German language versions of Hollywood films. Once he mastered English and established himself as technically proficient in filmmaking, Neumann directed such low-budget programmers as The Big Cage (1932), Secret of the Blue Room (1933) with Paul Lukas and Gloria Stuart, Hold 'Em Navy (1936), It Happened in New Orleans (1936) with child star Bobby Breen, Wide Open Faces (1937) with Joe E. Brown, Island of Lost Men and Ellery Queen: Master Detective in 1939.

Neumann was signed by producer Hal Roach in 1941 to direct a series of "streamliners", 45-minute features designed to fill out short double bills. Among these 4-reel comedies were About Face (1942), Brooklyn Orchid (1942), Taxi, Mister? (1943) and Yanks Ahoy (1943). Two Knights from Brooklyn (1949) is actually compiled from two of those streamliners, "The McGuerins from Brooklyn" and "Taxi, Mister"

In 1945, he joined the company of producer Sol Lesser, who engaged Neumann as coproducer and principal director of the Tarzan series produced by Lesser 1945–1954. The Tarzan films were produced for RKO and starred Johnny Weissmuller and later Gordon Scott.

Neumann became known as a specialist in science fiction movies owing to his producing and directing such productions as Rocketship X-M (1950) and The Fly (1958) about a scientist's transportation experiment that transforms him into a fly creature. Neumann directed other sci-fi and horror films such as Kronos (1957) and She-Devil (1957), and directed non-scifi films such as The Ring (1952) an independent feature co-starring Rita Moreno, Carnival Story (1954), Mohawk (1956), and The Deerslayer (1957).

Contrary to some published reports, Neumann did not die as a result of suicide, but, rather, from natural causes in Los Angeles on 21 August 1958, five weeks after the release of The Fly. He was entombed at Utter McKinley Cemetery in Los Angeles.[2]

Partial filmography

(Neumann credited as director unless otherwise noted)


  1. Allmovie entry
  2. "Kurt neumann, director, dies in mystery." (1958, Aug 22). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File)
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