A filmmaker fascinated by themes of deception and deceptive characters, the gifted screenwriter-turned-director Curtis Hanson chalked up an enviable track record of finely tuned sleepers ("small movies") an astonishing 30 years prior to his official recognition by Hollywood, with the Best Director-nominated L.A. Confidential (1997). Hanson thus proves that Tinseltown isn't always prompt at acknowledging and exploiting the talents of its finest.
Born March 24, 1945, in Reno, NV, Hanson made his directorial bow with The Arousers, a crime thriller that stars Tab Hunter as a PE teacher moonlighting as a serial killer. The film earned excellent reviews -- and a devoted cult following -- as an impressive B-picture that transcends its source material. Hanson more or less limited himself to screenwriting duties for the next 15 years or so, with a particularly outstanding behind-the-scenes turn on Daryl Duke's The Silent Partner (1978). Hanson loosely adapted Partner from the novel Think of a Number by Anders Bodelsen, and dramatically improved on that source material. With an absolutely ingenious premise, this shocking, gripping, and ultraviolent thriller went down among cineastes as one of the best "unknown" English-language suspensers of all time. It also netted a Genie for Best Picture in its native Canada, and drew raves for its twin lead performances by Elliott Gould and Christopher Plummer.