Raoul Walsh

The True Adventures of Hollywood's Legendary Director
Raoul Walsh: The True Adventures of Hollywood's Legendary Director. Univ. Pr. of Kentucky. (Screen Classics). Jun. 2011. c.512p. photogs. filmog. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780813133935. $40. FILM
Raoul Walsh, dubbed Hollywood's original iconoclast, was known for directing gritty gangster dramas, Westerns, sea stories, and war films driven by his love of storytelling and adventure. In this first major study of Walsh, Moss (Giant: George Stevens, A Life on Film) describes a colorful man who was present at Hollywood's creation (he played John Wilkes Booth in D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation). Although he had his differences with the Warner Brothers studio bosses, the company's socially conscious themes and fast-working methods particularly suited him. Walsh worked with Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, and Mae West and helped discover Rock Hudson, but some of the book's most interesting material concerns the seven films Walsh made with Errol Flynn and their brotherly relationship.
VERDICT Although Raoul Walsh is now a half-forgotten name in film history, many of his films are still fondly remembered, and this well-written and -researched biography—which benefits from the author's access to scholars and Walsh's family and friends—should help restore luster to his reputation. It should be popular with serious film students.
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