Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Great Moments In Movie Staches

Some of you probably picture Judy Garland getting slapped in the face on the stage of the Academy Awards or perhaps Barbra Streisand's afro when you hear the words "A Star is Born" -- which we'll be hearing a lot of this fall / winter thanks to the good reception that Bradley Cooper's movie has gotten so far -- but me, my first thought is of the 1937 version's director William Wellman's mustache, because quality stache. He's definitely on the list of Hottest Directors of All Time, right? Total looker. 

I also love the fact that he got started in Hollywood because Douglas Fairbanks was OBSESSED with him - Fairbanks saw him playing hockey and told him, wink wink nudge nudge, he was attractive enough to be an actor and got him his first gig. (Wellman didn't last long as an actor though because he reportedly found the profession "unmanly.") Fairbanks also let him use his polo field as a landing strip since Wellman was a WWI pilot who kept up the habit after the war (a skill that came in handy when he went on to direct Best Picture winner Wings). 

Although he liked making his airplane movies it's pretty astonishing, the breadth of genres that Wellman tore through over the course of his forty year career - sure he pranced about in uniforms with Gary Cooper but he also gave Barbara Stanwyck some of her finest roles in decidedly feminine pictures like Night Nurse and Lady of Burlesque (not to mention he co-directed the barn-burner of a pre-code feminist film that is Ruth Chatterton's Female). 

1 comment:

DCameron said...

Wellman's autobiography, 'A Short Time for Insanity', is well worth your time if you can get your hands on a copy.