Tuesday, April 07, 2015

William Wellman Series Opens Friday at UCLA

UCLA celebrates the career of legendary director William A. Wellman in its new series, William A. Wellman, Hollywood Rebel.

The series opens at the Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood this Friday night, April 10th, and continues through Sunday, June 28th. 21 films will be featured in the series, spread over the course of a dozen evenings.

William Wellman Jr. will appear at UCLA both Friday and Saturday, with A STAR IS BORN (1937) and NOTHING SACRED (1937) shown on Friday and WINGS (1927) screening on Saturday.

William Wellman Jr. is the author of a brand-new book, WILD BILL WELLMAN: HOLLYWOOD REBEL. I've heard him speak on multiple occasions, most recently at the Lone Pine Film Festival, and he is always very interesting, with a wealth of knowledge on his father's career. According to the UCLA website, Mr. Wellman will appear at "many" of the screenings so although I cannot be there opening weekend, I hope to hear him speak and have him sign his book later in the series.

The lineup includes some terrific pre-Codes including THE PUBLIC ENEMY (1931) and NIGHT NURSE (1931) on April 17th and MIDNIGHT MARY (1933) on April 19th.

MIDNIGHT MARY, which stars Loretta Young, Franchot Tone, Ricardo Cortez, and Una Merkel, is perhaps my all-time favorite pre-Code, although I will probably miss this screening for a four-film "proto-noir" marathon at the Noir City Film Festival. (Ironically, one of the films in the Noir City marathon is Wellman's SAFE IN HELL.) We are very fortunate to have so many classic film viewing options in the L.A. area!

I'll definitely be at UCLA on June 13th and 14th! On the 13th there's a screening of John Wayne in ISLAND IN THE SKY (1953), which has one of my all-time favorite casts, a seemingly endless list of terrific character actors.

And on the 14th there's a double bill of one of my all-time favorite Westerns, Robert Taylor in WESTWARD THE WOMEN (1951), paired with the excellent YELLOW SKY (1948) starring Gregory Peck and Richard Widmark. I'm especially thrilled by the prospect of seeing WESTWARD THE WOMEN on a big screen!

Other titles in the series include THE CALL OF THE WILD (1935), BEAU GESTE (1939), ROXIE HART (1942), and TRACK OF THE CAT (1954).

For the complete schedule, please visit the UCLA website.

Update: Here's Kenneth Turan on the Wellman series in the Los Angeles Times.

June 2015 Update: Here are posts on seeing ISLAND IN THE SKY (1953), WESTWARD THE WOMEN (1951), YELLOW SKY (1948), BEAU GESTE (1939), and TRACK OF THE CAT (1954) at UCLA.


Blogger Judy said...

Wow, I'd love to be able to see this Wellman season on the big screen. Great posting, Laura - thanks for the link to the Los Angeles Times piece too. I'll be very interested to hear what you think of the new Wellman biography by his son, as I'm hoping to read it too.

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