Poll

What's your favorite film by William A. Wellman?

Wings
0 (0%)
Beggars of Life
0 (0%)
Other Men's Women
0 (0%)
The Public Enemy
1 (5%)
Night Nurse
0 (0%)
So Big!
0 (0%)
The Purchase Price
0 (0%)
Heroes for Sale
0 (0%)
Midnight Mary
0 (0%)
Wild Boys of the Road
1 (5%)
Female
0 (0%)
Viva Villa!
0 (0%)
The Call of the Wild
0 (0%)
Small Town Girl
0 (0%)
A Star Is Born (1937)
1 (5%)
Nothing Sacred
0 (0%)
Beau Geste
0 (0%)
Roxie Hart
0 (0%)
Lady of Burlesque
0 (0%)
The Ox-Bow Incident
8 (40%)
Buffalo Bill
0 (0%)
Story of G.I. Joe
1 (5%)
Magic Town
0 (0%)
Yellow Sky
0 (0%)
Battleground
0 (0%)
The Next Voice You Hear...
0 (0%)
The Happy Years
0 (0%)
Across the Wide Missouri
0 (0%)
Westward the Women
0 (0%)
Island in the Sky
0 (0%)
The High and the Mighty
0 (0%)
Track of the Cat
0 (0%)
Blood Alley
0 (0%)
Darby's Rangers
0 (0%)
other (please specify)
0 (0%)
haven't seen any
8 (40%)
don't like any
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 19

Author Topic: Wellman, William A.  (Read 7760 times)

MartinTeller

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Wellman, William A.
« on: October 19, 2010, 10:50:12 AM »
1. The Ox-Bow Incident
2. Night Nurse
3. The Public Enemy


Awfully busy guy who I know very little about.  I'm mildly interested in checking out more of his pre-code work, especially with Stanwyck.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 04:34:29 PM by 1SO »

sdedalus

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Re: Directors Best Poll - William A. Wellman
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2010, 02:26:02 PM »
1. The Public Enemy
2. Battleground
3. The Ox-Bow Incident
4. Wings
5. The Story of GI Joe
6. Beau Geste
7. A Star is Born
8. Track of the Cat
9. Nothing Sacred
10. Night Nurse

Very even.  I like all of these about the same amount.
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Re: Directors Best Poll - William A. Wellman
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2010, 02:48:04 PM »
Story of G.I. Joe
Great Robert Mitchum performance

Bill Thompson

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Re: Directors Best Poll - William A. Wellman
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2010, 03:30:57 PM »
Master Work
1) The Ox-Bow Incident
Good
2) Story If G.I. Joe

worm@work

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Re: Directors Best Poll - William A. Wellman
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2010, 02:28:29 AM »
I've only watched The Public Enemy. Really want to watch Beau Geste and The Ox-Bow Incident.

roujin

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Re: Directors Best Poll - William A. Wellman
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2011, 11:37:40 PM »
Wild Boys of the Road William A. Wellman, 1933

Nothing less than emotional devastation. The relationship between the two main boys is fantastic. Thoroughly heartwarming and believable. Love how all the kids bonded together and their reactions and their feelings and their emotions. I realize I make no sense. I'm okay with that. I'm okay with a lot of things these days. When they're on the railroad and it's raining and everyone is huddled together, it finally felt like a home. Frankie Darro is loyal, intense, fearless, emotional, lost half the time. One of the great performances. And here I am typing, feeling nothing, imagining everything.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 03:07:55 PM by 1SO »

Antares

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Re: Directors Best Poll - William A. Wellman
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2011, 09:56:28 AM »
Definitely his best Pre-Code film
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Verite

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Re: Directors Best Poll - William A. Wellman
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2012, 10:07:26 PM »
re: The Story of G.I. Joe

Quote from: James Agee
[...] you can show a wave of action, even very complex and cryptic action, more excitingly and instructively rather than less if you don't pause continually to explain it to the audience, and if you don't delete the inexplicable.  There is a wonderfully discreet and powerful use, for that matter, of purely "meaningless" bits---such as a shot in which Ernie Pyle (Burgess Meredith) sits by the road while some soldiers straggle past---which have as great meaning as anything could have, being as immediate and as unlimited by thought or prejudice as what the eye might see on the spot, in a casual glance.

--printed on September 15, 1945 in The Nation
« Last Edit: July 28, 2012, 10:18:39 PM by Verite »
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pixote

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Re: Directors Best Poll - William A. Wellman
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2012, 04:10:14 PM »

The Ox-Bow Incident
William Wellman, 1943

Walter Van Tilburg Clark's source novel for this film is the most precisely written piece of fiction I've ever read. His language is wonderfully exact and his vision of the internal and external details of his story is amazingly complete. He's able to slow time down without interrupting the momentum of the narrative and move about between all the many characters in each scene, describing in his appealing prose every pertinent nuance of look and gesture and motivation and psychology. The Ox-Box Incident is easily one of my Top 100 favorite books of all time.

It is also, as things stand, one of my Top 100 favorite movies of all time, making this latest viewing of the film doubly burdened, fighting not only to prove it's a worthy adaptation of Clark's book and also fighting to prove that it's still worthy of a place on my Top 100. I hate watching a movie with these sorts of external qualifiers attached to it, but there's really no way to escape it, I guess.

Luckily, Wellman's film is pretty great. I'm having trouble deciding just how great exactly, but great for sure. It's at its best in the quiet moments, when it just lets the tension of the mob squeeze the air, all the drama playing out on their silent movie-quality faces. Marc Lawrence's face is particularly wonderful. He could easily have been a star in the silent era. In fact, it's almost a shame Clark didn't write his book earlier, because a silent film adaptation of it might have played even more to its strengths.

Henry Fonda's lead performance, like the film itself, has moments of such absolute greatness that they shade the lesser (but still good) moments with disappointment.  The entire cast is strong and really well chosen, and the crew is equally great. I believe this is the best photography I've seen from Arthur Miller and likely as good I score as I've heard from Cyril Mockridge (though, admittedly, it's not like his work on My Darling Clementine and The Fighting Sullivans is fresh in my memory). The real star here, I have to assume, is Wellman himself, who seems to have brought out the best in everyone around him on this picture. He makes so many inspired artistic choices here that I'm finally about to forgive him for phoning it in on The High and the Mighty.

One thing that really works against the movie, at least at key moments, is the sound stage nature of the production. There are some key moments that really cry out for a natural setting. The feral mob seems too out of place in the clean and composed interiors masking as exteriors. I was generally forgiving of that, though, since so many of the resulting shots are so exquisite. I'm so glad I watched this off TCM and not off a DVD because I would have gone crazy with screenshots. I especially liked the ways the faces of the mob would sometimes be cut off at the edge of the frame, in a way you don't see too often in Hollywood films of the era. I now wish I had screenshots to illustrate what I'm talking about, lol, because I found it to be really effective.

At seventy-five minutes, the film is almost too short. I would have been happy to linger longer on a few of the shots and scenes and feel the tension drawn out even further. And I maybe would have traded away the encounter being Fonda and his old flame, since that scene seemed a bit out of place, at least in movie form. But that's a minor quibble amid all the greatness.

Grade: A-

pixote
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 04:13:32 PM by pixote »
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pixote

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Re: Directors Best Poll - William A. Wellman
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2012, 04:16:58 PM »
Quote from: IMDb Trivia
Head of 20th Century Fox, Darryl F. Zanuck, overcame his objections to the contentious nature of the film by insisting that it be made cheaply on studio sets.

Jerk.

pixote
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