Rouben Mamoulian (pronounced: roo-BEN ma-mool-YAN was an Armenian-American film and theatre director.
Born in Tbilisi, Georgia to an Armenian family, Rouben relocated to England and started directing plays in London in 1922. He was brought to America the next year by Vladimir Rosing to teach at the Eastman School of Music and was involved in directing opera and theatre. In 1930, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
Mamoulian began his Broadway director career with a production of DuBose Heyward’s Porgy, which opened on October 10, 1927. He directed the revival of that show in 1929 along with George Gershwin’s operatic treatment, Porgy and Bess, which opened on October 10, 1935. Mamoulian was also the first to stage such notable Broadway works as Oklahoma!, Carousel and Lost in the Stars. He directed his first feature film in 1929, Applause, which was one of the earliest talkies. It was a landmark film owing to Mamoulian’s innovative use of camera movement and sound, and these qualities were carried through to his other films released in the 1930s. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde benefits from having been made before the Production Code came into full force, and is regularly considered the best version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale. Queen Christina was the last film Greta Garbo made with John Gilbert. The musical film Love Me Tonight was released in 1932.