Michael Schlesinger is widely considered the dean of classic film distribution, having worked for more than 25 years at MGM/UA, Paramount and Sony (Columbia). Among the movies he returned to theatres, many in restored or reconstructed versions, are Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Citizen Kane (1941), White Dog (1982), The Conformist (1970), A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid (1973), 1900 (1976), Taxi Driver (1976), Major Dundee (1965), The Boy Friend (1971), Broadway Bill (1934), The Ten Commandments (1956), Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970), Mystery Of The Wax Museum (1933), Wild Rovers (1971), Darling Lili (1970), the westerns of Budd Boetticher, the Columbia shorts of Buster Keaton, and many, many others. He also worked for Sony’s Home Entertainment division, making numerous rare features, shorts and cartoons from the Columbia library available on any home video format for the first time.
He was responsible for the completion of Orson Welles’ long-unfinished It’s All True (1993), which was named Best Documentary by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association in 1993. He wrote, produced and voice-directed the well-reviewed Americanization of Godzilla 2000 (1999), which even Toho acknowledged was a great improvement over their original version. He acquired, marketed and distributed for Sony the instant-cult favorite The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra (2001), and has since produced its sequel and two other pictures by writer/director/actor Larry Blamire. All four have each won at least one award from various film festivals, and a third “Lost Skeleton” movie is preparing for production in 2014.
In 2012 he wrote, produced and directed It’s A Frame-Up! (2013), a faux 1930s comedy short (in black-and-white) starring the fictitious vaudeville team of Biffle and Shooster. It has received rave reviews, and further adventures of the zany duo will go before the camera this summer.
Most recently, he worked on Criterion’s acclaimed 50th anniversary release of Stanley Kramer’s classic It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963), and was the lead speaker on its commentary track.
He is an unofficial consultant to the annual TCM Classic Film Festival, and each year presents a film in the “Discoveries” section; in 2014, it will be the 60th anniversary premiere of the newly-restored version of Nicholas Ray’s bizarre western JOHNNY GUITAR (1954), starring Joan Crawford.
He is also a trustee of the American Cinemathéque, twice President of the Society For Cinephiles and a member of the Film Noir Foundation’s Advisory Council. In 1990 he was honored by the Pacific Film Archive and in 2008 he delivered the commencement address to the Selznick class at George Eastman House. He has won two Rondo Awards for his contributions to the horror/fantasy/sci-fi genre. He has never appeared on Law and Order.
Mr. Schlesinger lives in Los Angeles with his imaginary wife, Salma Hayek.