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Jacques Tourneur

Tourneur sitting in a director's chair
Born November 12, 1904(1904-11-12)
Paris, France
Died December 19, 1977 (aged 73)
Bergerac, France
Occupation Director
Years active 1931 - 1965

Jacques Tourneur (November 12, 1904–December 19, 1977) was a French-American film director.



Born in Paris, France, he was the son of film director Maurice Tourneur.[1] At age 10, Jacques moved to the United States with his father.[1] He started a career in cinema while still attending high school as an extra and later as a script clerk in various silent films.[1] Both Maurice and Jacques returned to France after his father worked on the film The Mysterious Island in 1925.[1] Tourneur died in 1977 in Bergerac, Dordogne, France.


Jacques began work as a editor and assistant director. He made his debut as a director on French short film Tout ca ne vaut pas l'amour in 1931.[1]

Jacques Tourneur went back to Hollywood in 1934 where he had a contract with MGM Studios.[1] While working as the second unit director on the film A Tale of Two Cities he met film producer Val Lewton.[1] Tourneur made his feature debut as director in the 1939 film They All Come Out in 1939.[1] After Tourneur was dropped by MGM in 1941, he was picked up by Lewton to film several acclaimed low-budget horror films for RKO Studios including Cat People and I Walked with a Zombie.[1] Tourneur was promoted to the A-list at RKO, directing films including Out of the Past and Berlin Express.[1] In the 1950s, Tourneur became a freelance director, filming various genre films including The Flame and the Arrow, Stars In My Crown and Night of the Demon.[1] His last films both starred Vincent Price, with The Comedy of Terrors (1963) and War-Gods of the Deep (1965) for American International Pictures.[1]

After his final days working for film, Tourneur began directing television episodes.[1] Tourneur filmed episodes of Bonanza, The Twilight Zone and The Alaskans. Tourneur's final director credit was for an episode of T.H.E. Cat in 1966.[1] Tourneur then retired and returned to France.[1]


Feature films
Year Film Other notes
1931 Tout ça ne vaut pas l'amour
1933 Toto
Pour être aimé
1934 Les Filles de la concierge
1938 They All Come Out
1939 Nick Carter, Master Detective
1940 Phantom Raiders
1941 Doctors Don't Tell
1942 Cat People
1943 I Walked with a Zombie
The Leopard Man
1944 Days of Glory
Experiment Perilous
1946 Canyon Passage
1947 Out of the Past
1948 Berlin Express
1949 Easy Living
1950 Stars In My Crown
The Flame and the Arrow
1951 Circle of Danger
Anne of the Indies
1952 Way of a Gaucho
1953 Appointment in Honduras
1955 Stranger on Horseback
1956 Great Day in the Morning
1957 Nightfall
Night of the Demon
1958 The Fearmakers
1959 Timbuktu
Frontier Rangers
Giant of Marathon
1964 The Comedy of Terrors
1965 War-Gods of the Deep
Short films
Year Film Other notes
1936 The Jonker Diamond
Harnessed Rhythm
Master Will Shakespear
Killer Dog
1937 The Grand Bounce
The Boss Didn't Say Good Morning
The King Without a Crown
The Rainbow Pass
Romance of Radium
The Man in the Barn
What Do You Think?
1938 What Do You Think? (Number Three)
The Ship That Died
The Face Behind the Mask
What Do You Think?: Tupapaoo
Strange Glory
Think It Over
1939 Yankee Doodle Goes to Town
1942 The Incredible Stranger
The Magic Alphabet
1944 Reward Unlimited


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Earnshaw 2004, p. 102


  • Earnshaw, Tony (2004). Beating the Devil: The Making of Night of the Demon. Tomahawk Press. ISBN 0-9531926-1-x. 

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