Raoul Walsh was one of cinema's earliest geniuses, but because his life encompassed such a large portion of film history, I'm willing to bet no one like him will ever exist again. This relatively new documentary focuses on Walsh's life, from the beginning of his career until his death. Born in New York in the 1880s, Walsh had a close attachment to his mother and had his first "major" role in the classic 1915 film Birth of a Nation. I put major in quotes because he only appears briefly, but it's the first time he acted in something so well known. He plays John Wilkes Booth, and after killing President Lincoln, breaks one of legs after jumping onto the theater stage from a great height. Ironically, this happened to the real Booth himself. During world war 1, Walsh worked on some other movies and was attracted to Lillian Gish, but this was a precarious move of his since she was close to DW Griffith, who made Birth of a Nation (which she stars in). In the 1920s, Walsh puts together one of the most groundbreaking movies to ever exist. The Thief of Baghdad, starring Douglas Fairbanks, boasted extremely impressive scenery for its time, as well as having sets way larger than what most people were used to. Even almost a century later, it is awe-inspiring. By the time of the pre-code era, Walsh manages to direct films that are very well made and entertaining, such as Klondike Annie starring Mae West. Although the era of film censorship was right around the corner, Walsh was still able to make movies with innuendoes in them. He just wasn't allowed to explicitly show certain things. In the 30s and 40s, Walsh and acclaimed actor Errol Flynn go together like bread and butter. Many movies they made together, such as Desperate Journey, focused on world war 2 and had a slightly unrealistic portrayal of how easy the war was for the Allied side. Some less notable movies made by him around this time include Manpower, a tale of powerline workers starring Edward G Robinson and George Raft. Raft seemed to get into fights almost every time he was on the set of a movie, and this time was no different. Luckily, Walsh knew exactly how to get him to behave, which most other people couldn't accomplish. At the end of the 1940s, Walsh makes what is probably the best movie he's ever done: White Heat. For this film, he was directing James Cagney (someone he worked with quite a few times previously) in his portrayal of a psychopathic gangster who really cares about his mother. Maybe this movie turned out so great because Walsh himself was close to his mother as well. When it was released, Raoul said he knew he'd never get another script as good as White Heat's ever again. Because of this, I'm inclined to say it's his best movie. By the early 50s, Walsh is well respected by most people who care about movies, but because he's quite old by this point, making films is getting to be more of a challenge. In 1951, he directs Captain Horatio Hornblower, a color production detailing the adventures of the title character (played by Gregory Peck) as he sails around during the Napoleonic Wars. A few years later, he directs The Tall Men, which is a western about Clark Gable, Jane Russell, and Robert Ryan trying to orchestrate a cattle drive across several states. The last movie Walsh made was 1964's A Distant Trumpet; another western. Although not as polished as many of his other endeavors, it is still directed by one of the movie industry's most important people. Walsh died at the end of 1980 at 93. Even though he's gone, there will never be another person like him. His long life oversaw a huge stretch of film history, and he influenced the future of movies themselves by directing such monumental pictures as The Roaring Twenties, White Heat, and The Thief of Baghdad just to name a few. I thought this documentary was a good overview of someone who had shaped the movie industry throughout the golden age of film. Aside from his technical accomplishments, the film also goes over some of Walsh's distinctions, such as how he lost his right eye in a driving accident after running over a rabbit. This didn't stop him from directing. It even shows how Walsh was once an actor himself, as he appeared in a 20s silent film with famed actress Gloria Swanson. He was even a daredevil, and risked his life in order to travel to Mexico and film the revolutionary Pancho Villa. He captured footage of Villa's men executing federal soldiers, but this is now lost forever. There are lots of other details in this documentary about Walsh's life and experiences, but it's too much to list here. Overall, I thought this film was a really solid look at how Walsh contributed so much to movies and how he lived through many defining points of cinema history.
The True Adventures of Raoul Walsh
Biography / Documentary
The True Adventures of Raoul Walsh
Biography / Documentary
Loading video, please wait...
This is the first feature-length documentary on legendary director Raoul Walsh. In this 'memoir,' Walsh 'recounts' his career from the silent film era to the tumultuous 1960s. The documentary makes stunning use of rare, personal and production photos and footage, revealing Walsh's extraordinary, adventurous life on and off the set. From his apprenticeship with D.W. Griffith to his discovery of John Wayne and Rock Hudson, from the innovative 'The Thief of Bagdad' (1924) to the widescreen 'The Big Trail' (1930), from his classic work with Cagney, Bogart and Flynn to his mastery of every genre (musicals, comedies, Westerns, gangster, war), Walsh made Hollywood history. His life is nothing less than the story of Hollywood itself. Here's a full-bodied account of one of Hollywood's greatest legends.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
June 03, 2022 at 01:54 PM