Adopted name of Hungarian film producer born György Pál Marczincsak (1908-1980), based in the USA since 1940. He is best known for his sf and fantasy films, for which he received a Nebula Special Award in 1976. Trained as an illustrator in Budapest, Pal decided to specialize in animation, and in 1931 moved to Germany, where he worked at the UFA studios. When Hitler came to power Pal went to Paris, where he soon became very successful with a series of animated commercials and entertainment films, his Puppetoons. After emigrating to the USA he set up a Puppetoon unit at Paramount Studios.
His first live-action film was The Great Rupert (1949) directed by Irving Pichel, starring Jimmy Durante and an animated squirrel. He then started work on Destination Moon (1950) directed by Pichel, which was so successful – it initiated the sf film boom of the 1950s – that Pal immediately chose another sf subject for his next film, When Worlds Collide (1951) directed by Rudolph Maté. This was followed by War of the Worlds (1953) directed by Byron Haskin, The Naked Jungle (1954) and Conquest of Space (1955), both directed by Haskin, Atlantis, the Lost Continent (1959) and The Time Machine (1960), both directed by Pal, and The Power (1968) directed by Haskin and Pal. He also made a number of pure fantasy films during this period, including Tom Thumb (1958) and 7 Faces of Dr Lao (1964). His last film was Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1974) directed by Michael Anderson. He is credited as co-author with Joe Morhaim of Time Machine II (1981), a sequel to H G Wells's The Time Machine (1895), seemingly written in connection with a film which was never made.
Pal's dominant interest in special effects often led to other aspects of his films, including scripts and acting, being neglected. Most of his productions, however, possess a colourful bravura that distracts attention from their shortcomings, and he has on occasion produced memorable images. [JB]
see also: Cinema; Moon; Rockets.
George Pal [born György Pál Marczincsak]
born Cegled, Kingdom of Hungary, Austro-Hungarian Empire: 1 February 1908
died Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California: 2 May 1980
Previous versions of this entry