Joseph Leo Mankiewicz (February 11, 1909 – February 5, 1993) was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He started out as a writer at Paramount for movies featuring, among others, Jack Oakie and W.C. Fields. When he moved to MGM in the mid-30's, he became a producer, producing such well-known works as The Philadelphia Story and Woman of the Year. In the mid-40s, he moved to 20th Century Fox and became a director, best known for such films as A Letter to Three Wives and All About Eve. In the early 50s, he left Fox and became independent, and later became infamous as the director of the Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton version of Cleopatra. His final film was 1972's Sleuth.Younger brother of Herman Mankiewicz (best known for co-writing Citizen Kane), cousin of Tom Mankiewicz (who wrote several James Bond films), and great-uncle of Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz.
Films directed by Mankiewicz with pages on TV Tropes include:
- The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
- A Letter to Three Wives (1949)
- All About Eve (1950) – his signature film.
- 5 Fingers (1952)
- Julius Caesar (1953) – featuring Marlon Brando as Mark Antony.
- The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
- Guys and Dolls (1955)
- The Quiet American (1958)
- Cleopatra (1963) – the film that nearly broke a studio.
- Sleuth (1972)
Mankiewicz's films include the following tropes:
- Deadpan Snarker: One of the trademarks of his films, Addison DeWitt being the most notable example.
- Flashback: Mankiewicz was fond of this as a storytelling device; A Letter to Three Wives and All About Eve use it to particularly good effect.
- Writer on Board: One of the main criticisms of his work was his overuse of this trope.