The Silent Society of Hollywood Heritage, in conjunction with UCLA will present the special program, “Wellman Before Wings” on Sunday, June 1st at 7:30pm at UCLA, James Bridges Theater.
Perhaps the best-known dramatic picture from the 1920s
is the Academy Award-winning Wings (1927), directed by William Wellman,
whose “talkie” career includes The Public Enemy (1931), The Story
G. I. Joe (1945), The High And The Mighty (1954), and numerous other notable works. Yet of the fifteen silent features directed by Wellman, only a third survive, most of which remain relatively unseen by today’s audiences. This screening of two Wellman rarities helps rectify that situation.
Our special guests for the evening are author Frank Thompson, and Dorothy and Bill Wellman, the director’s wife and sonboth of whom are looking forward to seeing these films for the first time, too!
Films to be shown:
You Never Know Women (1926) Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount. Presented by Adolph Zukor and Jesse L. Lasky. Directed by William A. Wellman. Screenplay: Benjamin Glazer.
Story: Ernest Vajda. Photography: Victor Milner. With Florence Vidor, Lowell Sherman, Clive Brook, El Brendel, Roy Stewart, Joe Bonomo. 35mm, 6 reels.
The director’s second film at Paramunt was his first critical success, a love triangle set in Russia amid the world of theater. Wellman biographer Frank Thompson calls it “very nearly a masterpiece . . . a strong indicator that Wellman was possibly one of the finest, most unique filmmakers of the silent era.” The Library of Congress upgraded preservation on the film during the 1990s, and the new print is supposed to be handsome indeed.
The Way Of A Girl (1925) Metro-Goldwyn Pictures. Presented by Louis B. Mayer. Directed by Robert G. Vignola. Photography: John Arnold. With: Eleanor Boardman, Matt Moore, William Russell. 35mm, 6 reels.
This fanciful tale of a motion picture scenarist in desperate need of inspiration, whose script winds up being the story told onscreen, is the Wellman picture rarely listed in any filmography. He directed approximately one-third of the feature as a salvage job during his brief tenure at M-G-M in the ’twenties, and remained uncredited for his participation. The print (made from the nitrate, which was missing a brief bit of footage near the end) is courtesy of Warner Bros.
Musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla. Special thanks to Richard P. May, Mike Mashon. This program is funded by Bob Dickson.