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. . . which is the source of untold thousands of Movie "Goofs" listed here on IMDb, itemizing instances in which "Wild Bill's" brain-child destroyed a film's illusion of Reality by inadvertently poking down from the top of the screen. Mr. Wellman is subtitled as a "HOLLYW0OD MAVERICK" because he was so abrasive to Rich People while a wounded warrior suffering from PTSD (with a steel plate in his head caused by German anti-aircraft flak) that when one of the first dozen films he directed called WINGS won the inaugural "Best Picture" Oscar, he wasn't even allowed to attend the Academy Awards presentation. Other bits of Wellman trivia include the fact that neighbor kid Robert Redford played baseball with Wild Bill's seven offspring in the Wellman yard, and that Wellman directed at least two of U.S. President Ronald Reagan's wives (Jane Wyman and Nancy Davis) in his films. Since Wellman had even more spouses than "The Gipper," he delivered mail to one of them as a movie studio errand boy and supervised an infamous box car rape episode featuring another of his wives during WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD. Wild Bill's other movies included the first version of A STAR IS BORN, the most famous BEAU GESTE outing, Martin Scorsese's mobster movie template (PUBLIC ENEMY), and the first notable airliner disaster flick, THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY. Wellman once deposited a $20 bill into actress Loretta Young's "swear jar," and he proved that the "American Way" was a Path to Hell in HEROES FOR SALE. His career "jumped the shark" with BUFFALO BILL in 1944.
Narrated by Alec Baldwin, this documentary from 1995 describes the life of Hollywood director William Wellman. Included are anecdotes by all his stars (check out that the cast list... he sure worked with them all!) As Wellman had died in 1975, the stories of his childhood, war record, and Hollywood days are told by his family, friends, and the stars of his films. Quite well done. A bit on the serious side, there is a lighter side to it as people describe Wellman's fiery, take- no-prisoners attitude toward his bosses and anyone who got in his way. Directed by Todd Robinson, who had done a mix of TV and films prior to this. They spend a lot of time discussing the silent film "Wings" (1927), which was important for several reasons - the first Oscar given for Best Picture, it starred Buddy Rogers, Gary Cooper, Clara Bow, and Richard Arlen. What a collection of stars! It even showed one of the first on-screen kiss-on-the-lips between two soldiers, as one of them lay dying. We hear part of the story of finding his fourth wife Dorothy, who, 20 years younger than Wellman, had been a chorus girl prior to meeting him. Also interesting to note Wellman wrote and directed the first version of "A Star is Born" in 1937. It must have been good stuff... they have made two more versions of it, so far.
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