Hubert Cornfield, 77, a director and screenwriter best known for the edgy 1962 film “Pressure Point,” starring Bobby Darin and Sidney Poitier, and the 1968 crime drama “The Night of the Following Day,” with Marlon Brando, died Sunday in Los Angeles of heart failure.
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Cornfield moved with his family to France and then to the United States just before World War II. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He worked as a freelance graphic designer and had several low-level studio jobs before beginning what is generally viewed as a successful career as a “B” filmmaker with the 1955 film “Sudden Danger.”
He graduated to more challenging productions in the 1960s, one of them the Stanley Kramer-produced “Pressure Point,” the story of a psychiatrist, played by Poitier, working with an imprisoned racist, played by Darin. Alluding to the presence of Kramer in the production team, one critic called it a cross between “The Defiant Ones” and “Judgment at Nuremberg,” both directed by Kramer.
Cornfield’s other major film, “The Night of the Following Day,” is the tale of the disintegration of a gang that kidnaps a young heiress in France. Despite the presence of Brando and Richard Boone in the cast, critics were generally unimpressed with the movie.
Cornfield returned to France where he made his last movie, “Les Grands Moyens,” in 1975.