Directors: Walsh, Raoul–Hollywood’s Prolific, Diverse, Underestimated Filmmaker

Raoul Walsh directed the first widescreen spectacle, The Big Trail (1930), an epic western shot on location.  The movie starred John Wayne, then unknown, whom Walsh discovered as prop boy Marion Morrison and renamed after the Revolutionary War General Mad Anthony Wayne; Walsh claimed to be reading book about him at the time.

He helmed The Bowery (1933), with Wallace Beery, George Raft, and Fay Wray, about Steve Brodie (Raft), allegedly the first man to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge.

An undistinguished period followed at Paramount, where Walsh was from 1935 to 1939.

Walsh’s career rose to new heights after he moved to Warner, where he made The Roaring Twenties (1939), with Cagney and Bogart;

Dark Command (1940), with John Wayne and Roy Rogers (at Republic Pictures);

They Drive by Night (1940), with George Raft, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino and Bogart;

High Sierra (1941), with Lupino and Bogart;

They Died with Their Boots On  (1941), with Errol Flynn as Custer;

The Strawberry Blonde (1941), with Cagney and Olivia de Havilland

Manpower (1941), with Edward G. Robinson, Marlene Dietrich and George Raft;

White Heat (1949), with Cagney (his masterpiece).

Walsh’s contract at Warner expired in 1953.

He directed several films afterwards, including three with Clark Gable: The Tall Men (1955), The King and Four Queens (1956) and Band of Angels (1957).

Walsh retired in 1964, and died of heart attack in 1980.

 

Filmography

The Pseudo Prodigal (1913), directorial debut
The Life of General Villa (1914)
Carmen (1915), with
The Silent Lie (1917) (aka: Camille of the Yukon)
Betrayed (1917)
The Conqueror (1917)
The Woman and the Law (1918), with Jack Connors, Miriam Cooper and Peggy Hopkins Joyce

Walsh replaced director Bretaigne Windust, who became ill, on The Enforcer and shot over half the film, but refused to take screen credit.

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