Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mae West: Raoul Walsh

MAE WEST signaled her desire for Raoul Walsh, an intrepid Irishman, to direct her forthcoming motion picture "Klondike Lou" — — via the syndicated gossip column of Louella Parsons during the summer of 1935.
• • Born in the month of March, native New Yorker Raoul Walsh [11 March 1887 — 31 December 1980] was an American film director, actor, founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), and the brother of silent screen actor George Walsh. Born Albert Edward Walsh, he began as a stage actor in New York City in 1909, quickly progressing into film acting. In 1914, he became an assistant to D.W. Griffith and made his first full-length feature film "The Life of General Villa," followed by the critically-acclaimed "Regeneration" [1915], possibly the earliest gangster film.
• • While on location for the film "In Old Arizona," the five-foot-eleven actor suffered a car accident in which he lost his right eye. He never acted again and wore an eye patch for the rest of his life.
• • Raoul Walsh also directed "The Bowery" [1933], featuring Wallace Beery, George Raft, Fay Wray, and Pert Kelton; the movie recounts the story of Steve Brodie, the first man to (supposedly) jump off the Brooklyn Bridge and live to brag about it.
• • The "rowdy touch" was Mae's aim in her upcoming project and she had seen a quality she liked in Walsh's "The Cock-Eyed World" and "What Price Glory?" — — the vehicle that made Victor McLaglen a bold-faced name, a rough hewn beaut Mae was eyeing up for the role of her leading man as she pursued her Klondike quest.

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