- Category : 1893-births
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 5/2 - Heretical / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Uncertainty 1
German-born screenwriter and film director, whose two best known films are Jew Süss (1934) and The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936), both productions for British studios.
Mendes began his career as an actor in Vienna and Berlin in Max Reinhardt's company. After directing his first two films in Berlin, he settled in the United States in the early 1920s and remained there until 1933, directing more than a dozen features, mostly frothy comedies, while under contract to Paramount. His films included the last silent film made in the USA, The Four Feathers (1929) and the murder mystery Payment Deferred (1933) starring British actor Charles Laughton.
After Adolf Hitler came to power, Mendes, who was Jewish, travelled to Britain to work at Gaumont-British Pictures, directing films with Michael Balcon producing. Under that banner, he directed Jew Süss (1934) starring Conrad Veidt, who had also emigrated from Germany. Mendes' 1934 film version of Feuchtwanger's novel received strong attention at the time, and was considered an important and early film in exposing the origins of the antisemitism of the new Nazi government.
Mendes best-known film, The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936), based on the H.G. Wells short story was made for Alexander Korda's London Films, for which Wells co-wrote the adaptation. After returning to Hollywood in the late 1930s, he directed five more studio films.
Mendes married three times. He retired from films in 1946 and returned to London, where he remained until his death on 25 February 1974 at age 79.