Friday, February 4, 2011

Richard Boleslawski, 1889-1937

Today marks the birth anniversary of 1930s director Richard Boleslawski, who directed about 20 movies in Hollywood before his untimely death from a massive heart attack a month before his 48th birthday. I'm not certain which of his films should be considered his best-known. I think the only one I've got pictures from is The Garden of Allah, from which the picture of Marlene Dietrich at left is taken. It's one of his last works, and the apocryphal story is that the difficulties of outdoor shooting in the desert led to his early death. Of the two movies he made afterwards, I've recommended Theodora Goes Wild, but not The Last of Mrs. Cheyney, a society crime movie starring Joan Crawford and Robert Montgomery. Maybe the most famous of his pictures is the original version of Three Godfathers, about three outlaws who find an orphaned baby and debate whether to return it to civilization, which means their death, or to save themselves and let the baby die. The movie was remade in the late 1940s with John Wayne as a star.

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