William A. Wellman – My Man and I (1952)

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Plot: Chu Chu Ramirez is a Mexican farm laborer in California, with lofty ideals, who is very proud of his new American citizenship. During his time off, he tries to befriend the alcoholic bar girl Nancy. After working for a month for the subsistence farmer Mr. Ames and his frustrated wife, Chu Chu discovers that his paycheck bounces and Ames stalls in paying him. Just after a confrontation between Ames and Chu Chu, Ames is accidentally wounded by his own shotgun and he and his wife blame it on Chu Chu. Despite the support of his friends and sympathetic sheriff, Chu Chu is given a year’s sentence. Written by Will Gilbert Continue reading

William A. Wellman – Westward the Women (1951)

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Plot:

In a time when “The West” pretty much ends in Texas and only California is slowly being populated by the white men, there’s a severe lack of women among the workers on Roy Whitman’s farm in the California Valley. So he goes back east to Chicago to recruit 150 women willing to become wives for his employees. From the candidates he selects 138 who seem able to survive a months long journey across “The Great American Desert” and the Rocky Mountains. Continue reading

William A. Wellman & Alfred E. Green – Central Airport (1933)

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Plot: Jack Moffitt’s original story deals with the realities of work for 1930s fliers. Jim Blane (Richard Barthelmess) is booted from his job as a commercial pilot when investigators fault him for an airliner crash in rough weather. He meets circus barnstormer Jill Collins (Sally Eilers) just as her pilot brother crashes to his death, and becomes her partner both in the air and in bed. They check into hotels separately but always take adjoining rooms.
Jim doesn’t believe in marriage for fliers, and Jill soon takes up with his younger brother Bud (Tom Brown), also a pilot. And Jim’s timing is also off … although Jill loves him, she accepts Bud’s offer of marriage. Jim takes off for dangerous jobs in parts unknown, but we know he’ll have to come back to claim what’s his. Plot summary by ethanedwards. Continue reading

William A. Wellman – The Public Enemy (1931)

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Quote:
William Wellman’s landmark gangster movie traces the rise and fall of prohibition-era mobster Tom Powers. We are first shown various episodes of Tom’s childhood with the corrupting influences of the beer hall, pool parlor, and false friends like minor-league fence Putty Nose. As young adults, Tom (James Cagney) and his pal, Matt Doyle (Edward Woods), are hired by ruthless but innately decent bootlegger Paddy Ryan (Robert Emmett O’Connor). The boys quickly rise to the top of the heap, with all the accoutrements of success: custom-tailored tuxedoes, fancy cars, and gorgeous girls. All the while, Tom’s loving (and somewhat addlepated) mother (Beryl Mercer) is kept in the dark, believing Tommy to be a good boy, a fa?de easily seen through by his older brother Mike (Donald Cook). Tommy’s degeneration from brash kid to vicious lowlife is brought home in a famous scene in which he smashes a grapefruit in the face of his latest mistress (Mae Clarke). Continue reading