Friday, October 28, 2011


Finished this very entertaining and informative book on one of Hollywood's greatest directors by Marilyn Ann Moss. Book straightens out a lot of facts from fiction as Raoul was known to embellish, re-write and edit parts of his life.
He had some spaghetti western connections. He directed THE SHERIFF OF FRACTURED JAW which was one of the first westerns filmed in Spain and he directed Rik Battaglia and other sw participants such as Rosalba Neri, Folco Lolli, Sergio Fantoni, Renato Baldini and Gabriele Tinte in ESTHER AND THE KING in Rome. The great Mario Bava was Director of Photography on this film and Walsh really liked him and they got along quite well. Walsh also directed most of the battle scenes for Robert Wise's HELEN OF TROY.

Not only did Walsh direct a lot of classic films... westerns and many non-westerns (WHITE HEAT, for one, with James Cagney) but he also discovered and re-named Marion Michael Morrison...John Wayne and had him star in THE BIG TRAIL. Moss uncovered some evidence that John Ford was so pissed at Wayne working for Walsh that he had him black-balled into "C" western territory for years. Ford was vicious at Wayne many times during this period and for what-ever reasons Wayne put up with it. Walsh also put Kirk Douglas into his first western....ALONG THE GREAT DIVIDE.
Walsh over the years liked to remake his own films and the best example of this is he remade the classic Humphrey Bogart/ HIGH SIERRA as the great western COLORADO TERRITORY with Joel McCrea.

Walsh had a good relationship with Jack Warner and often, because he needed the cash (he had a weakness for horses and also was always behind in alimony) would take over troubled productions without credit, and he didn't mind doing this as long as he was well compensated. He completely took over and totally directed one film and, yet, let the novice director keep his credit. HE was a nice guy....very rare for Hollywood. He loved directing action scenes and often was called in by Jack Warner to direct them for many films. He had a unique directing style. Once he called "action" he would turn around and not watch the scene....only listening to it. If he liked the way it sounded and the camera man would say everyone hit their marks he would yell "print." Some say he developed a very keen sense of hearing to compensate for the lost of one eye. The loss of the eye cost him the lead in the first sound western as well as the directing job of IN OLD ARIZONA.

Iconic character actor L.Q. Jones is oft quoted in the book. L.Q. whose real name is Justice McQueen adopted the name of the character he played in Walsh's BATTLE CRY.....L.Q. Jones.

Good read. Walsh went from directing silent films to directing "talkies" well into the 60's when he was 77.