Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Book: Warren William: Magnificent Scoundrel of Pre-Code Hollywood

Here's an interesting title due out September 3: WARREN WILLIAM: MAGNIFICENT SCOUNDREL OF PRE-CODE HOLLYWOOD.

The author is John Stangeland. It's a softcover title from McFarland.

Warren William was the star of many pre-Code classics, perhaps most notoriously playing the evil department store dictator in EMPLOYEES' ENTRANCE (1933). William's pre-Code titles also included GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (1933) and DR. MONICA (1934). SKYSCRAPER SOULS (1932), THREE ON A MATCH (1932), THE MATCH KING (1932), and LADY FOR A DAY (1933) are among William's other releases during the pre-Code era.

Later William titles reviewed here include THE SECRET BRIDE (1934), THE FIRST HUNDRED YEARS (1938), and DAY-TIME WIFE (1939). He notably appeared in two Claudette Colbert classics in 1934, CLEOPATRA and IMITATION OF LIFE.

William acted until shortly before his death in 1948. Over the years he played popular movie detectives Perry Mason, Philo Vance, and the "Lone Wolf."

Although I've seen a number of William's films and am interested in seeing more, I know virtually nothing about him off the screen. This should be an informative book.

For more information on this upcoming release, visit Cliff Aliperti's website,, or the book's official Facebook page.


Blogger la peregrina said...

I'm interested in him, too, and wonder about the real man. There is an old fashioned sweetness about him that comes across in his movies.

7:37 AM  
Blogger Magnificent Scoundrel said...

Your observation of Warren William's "old-fashioned sweetness" is dead on - it was a big part of his off-screen character. He picked up those old world ways from his father, grandfather and uncle, very proper men. I hope everyone will enjoy learning more about him as much as I did in writing this book! By the way - I believe that Amazon's September 3 release date might be a tad optimistic - it looks more likely to arrive late in the month...

12:48 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks to both of you for the comments and for the info direct from the author about this new book! It's always nice to learn that someone enjoys onscreen has a solid character off the screen. Please feel free to update us on the release date as publication nears. I think the book will be of great interest to many fans of pre-Code and Classic Era films.

Best wishes,

12:56 PM  
Blogger A said...

I LOVE Warren William! He is fabulous in the Lone Wolf, and played some great swarthy characters in early films. Really excited to read the book.

8:37 PM  
Blogger mel said...

If you look into it, I think you’ll probably find that most of the old character actors and actresses who were famous for playing villains were actually very nice people off-screen (Judith Anderson, for example who played a particularly vile Mrs. Danvers in "Rebecca" (1940).

To me, Warren William was particularly memorable for his role in “The Firefly” (1937).

If you have an hour or two to spare, I recommend taking a look at this website, devoted to the character actors that I love so much:

9:46 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks for the link, Mel, I'll enjoy looking at it.

I saw THE FIREFLY at a revival theater many, many moons ago and don't recall it well. I recorded it when it was on TCM a few months ago so I can take another look at it! (So many movies to choose from...) I appreciate the recommendation.

Glad I could pass on the news of this book, Amanda!

Best wishes,

9:58 PM  

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