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William Wellman month


lzcutter
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I have loved William Wellman and his movies since seeing the initial release of "Men Who Made the Movies" and the segment devoted to him back in the mid-1970s.

 

It was a pleasure to see it again last night and the first night of films was great. Loved listening to Bill, Jr talk about his dad.

 

The last time I saw Bill, Jr at a screening of The High and the Mighty last spring he had a thick head of that famous Wellman hair and bore a striking resemblance to his father.

 

Looking forward to next week's offerings.

 

In the meantime, I can't be the only one who enjoyed the evening, can I?

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I loved the documentary aired last night. Wellman was quite a guy!! It was a bit surprising to hear that Wild Bill didn't think much of Battleground (at least when compared with his other WWII film, The Story of G.I. Joe).

 

Wild Boys of the Road was a terrific film that I finally got to see. It was hard-hitting and very memorable. Hopefully, I'll be able to see a few more pre-code films as well as Nothing Sacred later this month. That has been on my must-see list for a while.

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Yes, his preference for STORY OF GI JOE vs BATTLEGROUND was interesting, but at least he gave some reasons - not that I could evaluate or appreciate them! I have always loved the whistling ending to BATTLEGROUND when the bloodied troops wanted to show off to the green replacements, as if to say, "no big deal for real soldiers to take". I never thought it was an acquiescence to Hollywood.

 

But Wellman knew what really happened on-set, so his comments seem better founded than my viewer's perceptions.

 

William Holden, patting his feathered alpine hat before he disappears down the hole in the floor - now THAT seems a bit of Hollywood flair. Just a bit, eh?

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Last night I enjoyed watching the William Wellman documentary. I was surprized that no mention was made of the screwball comedy "Nothing Sacred" or "The High And The Mighty". Mr. Wellman`s young son played the role of the boy traveling alone to see his mother in San Francisco.I am fortunate to have taped many of Mr. Wellman`s movies including "Call Of The Wild", "The Light That Failed", and "Ladies Of Burlesque". A few months ago I purchased a a used copy of "Magic Town". Brian Donley was nominated for an Academy Award as best supporting actor in "Beau Geste". I wonder why he was disliked by his castmates. Frankie Darrio who played young Matt in "The Public Enemy" also played the lead in "Wild Boys Of The Road."

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A couple of years ago, I broke down and ordered MAGIC TOWN out of England because it was only available on DVD in Europe (as a Region-2 DVD).

 

There aren't a lot more films that so singularly American as Magic Town, yet were only available in Europe on DVD. It's now out of print, I believe, or very hard to find. THE GLASS KEY, MR. LUCKY, PEABODY & MERMAID, and 1993's RUBY IN PARADISE - the same thing. American films but only available in Europe on Region-2 DVDs, and I think all of them are 'out of print'.

 

Well, this is clearly another topic!

 

Back to Senor Wellman... there are still a large number of his films that could be done in several boxsets, each with some of his lesser known films but founded on at least one famous one.

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Yes, his preference for STORY OF GI JOE vs BATTLEGROUND was interesting, but at least he gave some reasons - not that I could evaluate or appreciate them! I have always loved the whistling ending to BATTLEGROUND when the bloodied troops wanted to show off to the green replacements, as if to say, "no big deal for real soldiers to take". I never thought it was an acquiescence to Hollywood.

 

BATTLEGROUND has no "whistling ending"; Sgt. Kinney's exhausted, bloody survivors launch into their cadence count, "You hadda good home but you left...YOU'RE RIGHT!...Jody was home whenya left...YOU'RE RIGHT!...Your baby was there when you left...YOU'RE RIGHT! Sound off! ONE,TWO! Sound off! THREE, FOUR! Cadence count! ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, ONE, TWO...THREE, FOUR!" as the platoon marches away from the front, past their fresh, untried replacements.

 

 

But Wellman knew what really happened on-set, so his comments seem better founded than my viewer's perceptions.

 

William Holden, patting his feathered alpine hat before he disappears down the hole in the floor - now THAT seems a bit of Hollywood flair. Just a bit, eh?

 

You're confusing Wellman with Billy Wilder, who directed, and co-wrote STALAG 17.

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If Richard Schickel has several more hours of William Wellman's highly entertaining ramblings to shift through, I'd love to see them sometime. This was the best episode of The Men Who Made the Movies that I've ever seen and seemed substantially better than the version from the '70s. I too wish that more time could've been spent discussing such films as Roxie Hart, Midnight Mary, The Hatchet Man, The Happy Years, and Gallant Journey.

 

Gallant Journey, when it was shown a few months ago on TCM, conveyed a wonderfully poetic feeling for flight. The movie also featured what I suspect were a blend of actual filmed and magnificently evocative matte paintings of the sky. Even though these were in black and white, one could almost feel the wind on your face and the smell of fresh air. The latter movie made me wonder what Wellman might have done if given the opportunity to translate to the screen the books of Antoine de Saint Exup?ry about flying, such as Wind, Sand and Stars and Night Flight.

 

Btw, all of the films mentioned above but Roxie Hart are featured this month on TCM. The Hatchet Man is one that sounds so odd that it has piqued my interest. Has anyone else seen this movie, featuring Edward G. Robinson as a Chinese hit man!!?

 

Here's a complete list of the Wellman movies being shown during December:

http://tinyurl.com/2ekm7k

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I've just noticed that the TCM spot on my Time Warner digital cable Free On Demand channel this week is featuring the William Wellman documentary that aired earlier this week. It is one of the programs available along with an airing of Wellman's flawed but interesting Across the Wide Missouri(1951). This movie has some magnificent scenery, having been filmed on location in the Durango, Colorado area. I like the performance of a shaggy Clark Gable very much, along with Mar?a Elena Marqu?s, Ricardo Montalban and Alan Napier in this story of the mountain men. An almost unrecognizable Adolphe Menjou gets to show off a massive beard, his French, speaks a sort of native patois, and plays the bagpipes. And we thought he was just a haberdasher's dream.

 

Of course, along with the entertaining elements of this movie, it seems to have been heavily edited--perhaps to the detriment of the dramatic impact of the good story.

 

The inclusion of these and other TCM offerings by area cable providers around the country may vary, though, if one visits your local cable provider's website and requests that more TCM items be featured, it may have some impact. TCM, unfortunately, seems to have little say in what programs from TCM are chosen by the cable companies for the On Demand service.

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I've always liked Wellman's films, especially Nothing Sacred which is one of the best comedies I've ever seen.

 

Some mentioned *Magic Town* and that is another I would like to see aired. AMC used to broadcast it and I think it deserves to be dusted off again.

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I enjoyed WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD; it had an almost improvisional air about it, and there seemed to be "in-jokes" -- the Cagney film at the theatre (which one was it?) Coonan doing a little dance; popular tunes from Warner's musicals used ironically ("We're In The Money"). Vivid pre-code (prostitution, dismemberment, rape) has a fresh feel to it, despite the hokey moralistic ending with that too-good-to-be-true Judge delivering the New Deal social message. (Not that I necessarily wanted the kids skulking in alleyways a la I WAS A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG, but, something a bit more ambiguous than the implied happy ending)

 

I've always thought THE OX-BOW INCIDENT one of the greatest American films. And if this isn't Wellman's best, I don't know what is.

 

Message was edited by: Bronxgirl48

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I hadn't seen that documentary since it was on NYC Channel 13 back in 1973. It made me want to see Wild Boys of the Road which I finally saw (barely) on some old TV with rabbit ears on a UHF station a year or so later. It was great to really see it Tuesday night from start to finish.

William Wellman Jr has shown up at the last few Lone Pine Film Festivals. He's a heckuva nice guy. It's great to listen to his stories about his and his dad's careers. You can tell he really loved his dad. The first festival he showed up at I think was in 1997 and his mom was with him! Geez, I wish I had known she was in Wild Boys of the Road! Bet she could tell a story or two. WW Sr had filmed 'Yellow Sky' up in Lone Pine.

As far as Brian Donlevy being hated by his Beau Geste castmates, I've read a few articles that said he tried to get into character by always acting like his character, Sgt. Markoff, while on location. So everyone thought he was a real SOB. I guess it worked, he got the Oscar nomination.

 

Message was edited by: lonepine

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> I loved WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD; it had an almost improvisional air about it, and there seemed to be "in-jokes" -- the Cagney film at the theatre (which one was it?)

 

I was going to ask that question myself! My guess would be Picture Snatcher, which will be airing in January as part of the "Star of the Month" tribute to Cagney.

 

> Coonan doing a little dance; popular tunes from Warner's musicals used ironically ("We're In The Money"). Vivid pre-code (prostitution, dismemberment, rape) has a fresh feel to it, despite the hokey moralistic ending with that too-good-to-be-true Judge delivering the New Deal social message. (Not that I necessarily wanted the kids skulking in alleyways a la I WAS A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG, but, something a bit more ambiguous than the implied happy ending)

 

I'm glad I'm not the only person who was disappointed by the ending. At least they didn't have Lewis Stone playing Judge Hardy in the finale.

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I'm enjoying the month of Wellman films, he directed alot great movies, including pre-codes(which is one my favorite period of movies). I'm glad that I finally got to see WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD & HEROES FOR SALE,which were as great as I heard that they were.

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"I'm in a world of bliss with all these cool pre-code and early 30's films!!! Woohooo!" - markbeckhuaf

 

I've been wondering where you've been. The least you could do is send a postcard. I've never gotten one from Bliss before. (Bet the stamp would be worth a pretty penny.)

 

But I kinda thought December's films would keep too occupied to hang out here.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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It could be worse: I remember another forum that would automatically censor a certain part of Alfred Hitchcock's name....

 

Of course, there may be ways to get around this board's restriction on the word "bitсh", if the nanny software doesn't recognize foreign alphabets....

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I'm enjoying the William Wellman tribute this month. Unfortunately i missed the documentary

shown on TCM Dec 5th, i hope they replay it before the month is out. When TCM debuted

THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY his son who played the sleeping child in the plane throughout

the film,spoke of his dad, his recollections of his movie debut. I have several favorites:

1. The lady of bursleque starring Barbara Stanwyck

2. The high and the mighty starring John Wayne

3. A star is born starring Fredrick Marsh & Janet Gaynor My favorite version!!!!!!!!!!!!

4. The Plane in the sky starring John Wayne.

5. The next voice you hear starring James Whitmore & Nancy Reagan) before she was Mrs

this is my most favorite film of Wellmans !!!!!!!! he was a genius with this film THIS IS A

MUST SEE FILM .

 

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITES FILMS OF WILLIAM WELLMAN.

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Ha...ha...ha....Thanxxx Fedya. I did that on purpose though. Now for Wellman tonight..."Night Nurse" with early Stanwyck, early Gable and early Blondell. Ohhh, what the future holds for them. And the scene with Blondell & Stanwyck sharing a cot. Boy oh boy pre-code. Hot-cha!!

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