William Wyler

  • William Wyler – A House Divided (1931)

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    In a small Pacific village, a widowed fisherman marries a girl young enough to be his daughter. Complications ensue when the new wife falls in love with her husband’s son.

    Creaky but interesting melodrama powered by Walter Huston’s performance as a brute and a dynamite action ending. Although Wyler’s direction is not as sure as it would be later, it is interesting to note that, for the most accomplished studio director of all time, a man said to operate without a style of his own, a lot of images that show up in his later films (particularly WUTHERING HEIGHTS and THE LITTLE FOXES) also show up here.Read More »

  • William Wyler – The Little Foxes (1941)

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    Lillian Hellman’s play, a prime example of the “well-made” variety, is precisely the kind of successful middle-brow property that appealed to Samuel Goldwyn. He had already produced Hellman’s controversial The Children’s Hour (also directed by William Wyler, with cinematographer Gregg Toland), a play that handsomely survived a title change to These Three and the transformation of the issue of lesbianism into an illicit heterosexual affair. No major alterations were required for The Little Foxes. The film even resists the conventional “opening up” so often applied to theatrical texts, in the mistaken notion that fundamental cinematic values are expansively pictorial ones.Read More »

  • William Wyler – The Collector (1965)

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    Quote:
    John Fowles’s novel The Collector was written in the form of a dual diary, one kept by a kidnapper, the other by his victim. The film is told almost exclusively from the point of view of the former, a nerdish British bank clerk named Freddy Clegg (Terence Stamp). A neurotic recluse whose only pleasure is butterfly collecting, Clegg wins $200,000 in the British Football Pool. He purchases a huge country estate, fixes up its cellar with all the comforts of home, then kidnaps Miranda (Samantha Eggar), an art student whom he has worshipped from afar. The demented Clegg doesn’t want ransom, nor does he want to rape the girl: he simply wants to “collect” her. She isn’t keen on this, and tries several times to escape. After several weeks, Clegg and Miranda grow increasingly fond of one another, and Clegg promises to let her go. When time comes for the actual release, however, Clegg decides that Miranda hasn’t completely come around to his way of thinking and changes his mind, leading to a further series of unfortunate events.Read More »

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