Mitchell Leisen (b. October 6, 1898, Menominee, Michigan–d. October 28, 1972, Los Angeles) was an American director, art director, and costume designer.
He entered the film industry in the 1920s, beginning in the art and costume departments. He directed his first film in 1933 with Cradle Song and became known for his keen sense of aesthetics in the glossy Hollywood melodramas and screwball comedies he turned out.
His best known films include the Alberto Casella adaptation Death Takes a Holiday and Murder at the Vanities, a musical mystery story (both 1934), as well as Midnight (1939) and Hold Back the Dawn (1941), both scripted by Billy Wilder. Easy Living (1937), written by Preston Sturges and starring Jean Arthur, was another hit for the director, who also directed Remember the Night (1940), the last film written by Sturges before he started directing his scripts as well. The films Lady in the Dark (1944), To Each His Own (1946), and No Man of Her… read more
Anything written by Preston Sturges is absolutely essential, so everyone should seek this one out. The most interesting thing to me is that Sturges later blamed Mitchell Leisen, and the way that he apparently butchered Sturges' scripts, for driving Sturges into directing. I don't see much of anything wrong with Leisen's direction here, but its an interesting historical footnote.