Allan Dwan Poster


Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (13) | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (4)

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart failure)
Birth NameJoseph Aloysius Dwan
Height 5' 7½" (1.71 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Allan Dwan was born on April 3, 1885 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as Joseph Aloysius Dwan. He was a director and writer, known for Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), Heidi (1937) and Robin Hood (1922). He was married to Marie Shelton and Pauline Bush. He died on December 28, 1981 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Spouse (2)

Marie Shelton (16 August 1927 - 13 March 1949) (her death)
Pauline Bush (7 May 1915 - 23 October 1920) (divorced)

Trivia (13)

Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945". Pages 283-291. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.
According to Kevin Brownlow's "The Parade's Gone By", Dwan thought he'd directed over 1400 films, including one-reelers, between his arrival in the industry (circa 1909) and his final film in 1961.
Interviewed in "Talking to the Piano Player: Silent Film Stars, Writers and Directors Remember" by Stuart Oderman (BearManor Media).
Founder of Allan Dwan Productions, a film production company active from 1919-1921.
Co-founder of Associated Producers, Inc., 1919.
President of Dwan Film Corp., formed in 1922.
His extraordinarily long career lasted from 1911-61. During that time he worked under contract at the following studios: Universal (1913-14), Paramount (1917-18, 1923-26), Fox (1926-27, 1929, 1931-32, 1935-40, 1957), United Artists (1944-45), Republic (1949-54) and RKO (1954-55).
Graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in engineering.
He was Gloria Swanson's favorite director. After he began to work for Triangle in 1916, he also won the respect of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, who were, at that time, the most powerful couple in the film business.
It was Dwan, rather than D.W. Griffith, who devised the famous crane shot used in Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916). He also pioneered the dolly shot in 1915.
He worked for an illumination company in Chicago, installing Cooper-Hewitt lamps at the Chicago Post Office, opposite the Essanay film studio. Essanay exec George K. Spoor thought the lights could prove useful in movie photography and contracted Dwan to design a bank of lights. Dwan soon graduated to scenario editor. His first directing assignment arrived almost by accident: he was "pressed into service" by the American Film Co. when one of its directors went AWOL on an alcoholic binge.
Dwan is buried at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, CA, Section F, Tier 18, Grave 62. He had once used the mission grounds as a location for his silent feature Tide of Empire (1929). Just as he was fond of opening his films with a poem after the main credits, Dwan wrote the epitaph on his grave marker in verse: "Look Down, Oh Lord, and bless me with thy grace / And make me worthy of thy sacrifice / And after death to look upon thy face / And earn, perhaps, a place in paradise".

Personal Quotes (3)

If you get your head up above the mob, they try to knock it off. If you stay down, you last forever.
[on Douglas Fairbanks] Stunt men have had to imitate him and it always looked like a stunt when they did it. With him it always looked right.
[on his use of tracking shots throughout his 50-year career] There's always a certain amount of camera improvisation. If a man is being pursued and the pursuers are more interesting than the pursued, I'll track to include them. Things would occur on the set and sometimes ahead of time. They turn you loose on the set.

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