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Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick - The Life & Times of William A. Wellman


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Product Details

  • Actors: Alec Baldwin, James Cagney, Mike Connors
  • Directors: Todd Robinson
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Mongrel Media
  • Release Date: June 25 2013
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B00BUSYTLC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #59,175 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By alcus2 on March 6 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This amazing film director was before my time but I wished I would have discovered him much sooner than I did. I rented a movie called "The Next Voice You Hear" from the classic section of the video store. It was a great film with a different style than most films I had seen. It was about the source of the greatest peace of mind on earth. It impacted me long after I had finished watching it. So following up on that, I bought this documentary about his life, only to find out what a great man he was along with being one of the most acclaimed directors of all time.
During high school, his rough style at playing ice hockey, caught the eye of actor Douglas Fairbanks. On that day, Wellman made a resounding impact on Fairbanks, and that changed the course of Wellman's life. Wellman got the nickname "Wild Bill" in France, during World War I. The French gave him that name for extremely aggressive actions as a bomber pilot.
After the war, he contacted Douglas Fairbanks, asking about employment in films. After being given a role in a film, he became disgusted with himself on screen. He then asked if he could become a movie director. While working as an assistant director for director Bernard Durning on a film, he shot some footage for 2 weeks. Wellman filled in for Durning, who went on a drinking binge and could not go on with his job. The studio was more impressed with the footage Wellman shot than Durning's footage. Durning told the studio, you should make Wellman a director.
Films about the war were popular at the time. A film called "Wings" came along, and because of Wellman's experience as a war pilot, he was given the job of director. The film had a cameo appearance by Gary Cooper, which boosted his career for the future.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
there is a better documentary available and it includes this! Aug. 13 2013
By Richardson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This is an Okay documentary on the great William A Wellman, but a better one exits and was done by Turner Films as well....narrated by Sydney Pollack it features an extended interview with Mr Wellman himself for the whole hour!! That documentary part of The Men Who Made Films series is available on DVD along with this documentary as a bonus Disc on the DVD set Forbidden Hollywood Collection: Volume Three (Other Men's Women / The Purchase Price / Frisco Jenny / Midnight Mary / Heroes for Sale / Wild Boys of the Road) which contains about a half dozen films that Wellman also directed!! If you are a fan it is the best way to go and as I said includes this documentary along with what I think anybody would view as a superior one. The description that this is the first time this is available on DVD isn't the truth.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great documentary about a great film director Jan. 7 2013
By Michael Grogan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is a documentary I saw on TCM, loved it and had to have it. It chronicles the life of legendary director William Wellman who is one of my idols and whose films dominated Hollywood for over 50 years beginning with one of his earliest films, "Wings," that was the first film to win the Best Picture Oscar. I got it because of my personal interest in Wellman but given the fact that his career pretty much covered most of the history of Hollywood, this film also serves as a pretty good short course in film history and appreciation.
Wild Bill, Hollywood Maverick Feb. 11 2014
By Carlos E. Velasquez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
These days, as I have mentioned in the recent past, I’m getting immersed more and more into silent movies. I’m just fascinated by how all the filmmakers of the silent era developed the industry and how it evolved. So, it was a blessing to watch the wonderful “Wild Bill, Hollywood Maverick - the Life and Times of William A. Wellman.” And what a fabulous life it was, all fantastically documented in this delightful film.

Well-directed by Todd Robinson, the movie goes through Wellman’s life from beginning to end, starting with his birth on February 29, 1896, in Massachusetts, and how he spent his early years as a decorated fighter pilot during World War I. It was there that he got nicknamed Wild Bill. Some time later, famous actor Douglas Fairbanks, impressed by Wellman’s talents, got him an acting job in “The Knickerbocker Buckaroo,” but Bill realized that he did not liked acting. He then moved to being a mailman at the Goldwyn Studio, then assistant director, and, finally, director. After helming some silent films, Bill directed “Wings” (1927), which cost 2 million dollars to make, and was very successful. This movie established him in Hollywood, but, due to his temper and antipathy for the studio, he was banned to attend the premiere of the film, as well as the first academy award ceremony, in which “Wings” won the best picture Oscar. Despite his disdain for the studio system, Wellman directed some of the best movies in Hollywood history, such as “The Public Enemy” (1931), “A Star is Born” (1937), “Nothing Sacred” (1939), “Beau Geste” (1939), “The Ox-Bow Incident” (1943), and many more. He also made five films with John Wayne, and, in a 35- year career, his films received 32 academy award nominations – 4 for Best Picture and 3 for Best Director. He also was recipient of the DW Griffith Award for Lifetime Achievement. The documentary includes interviews with some of the people associated with Wellman at one time or another, such as Robert Stack, Robert Redford, Nancy Reagan, Buddy Rogers, Sydney Poitier, William Wellman Jr., Clint Eastwood, Tom Laughlin, Robert Wise, and more.

William Wellman was a rare breed of director, and he was able to survive and thrive in Hollywood, despite his strong character, and not being part of the town’s politics or social scene. He was described as a man of strong convictions, deep loyalties, arrogant, with distaste for authority, honest, and with an explosive temper. In fact, Wellman, as well as Raoul Walsh and John Ford were known as “the” tough directors. In the end, he got tired of Hollywood, just saying, “I’m not retiring; I’m quitting.” Furthermore, in his deathbed, he told his son, “Bill, don’t feel sorry for me – I have lived the life of a 100 men.” This is a fellow that I definitely would have liked to have met. “Wild Bill, Hollywood Maverick” is a true pleasure and a glorious look to a grandiose career. (USA, 1996, color & B/W, 93 min)

Reviewed on February 9, 2014 by Eric Gonzalez for KINO
Wild Bill's life adventure! Jan. 23 2014
By JB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This came as a surprise to me. I found out about this video by watching "NIGHT OF THE HUNTER" (the black & white movie Wild Bill shot for Warner Bros with Robert Mitchum, released in 1955) in 'cinemascope and color'. On the "Night" DVD, as a bonus, there were interviews with people that made the movie and knew of Wellman. His son Bill Wellman, Jr. described this video as having been assembled about his father's life. So I searched for it and found that it was available, and sent for it!
The visuals used in telling of his bio in film are wonderful to see. It is not a waste of time. The story of the making of "Lafayette Escadrille", with Tab Hunter, is ironic, in that he killed off all the 'love-making-stars' as the finale of the movie, only to have to bring everybody back together several months later, having to re-shoot the ending with everyone living happily-ever-after (according to Jack Warner's demand) that pissed off Welmann. Oh Hollywood endings!
"WILD BILL" - A LOVING DOCUMENTARY Jan. 13 2014
By Anthony McGill - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One of cinema's "forgotten" mavericks, William A. Wellman gets loving treatment by Todd Robinson in this very good documentary about this fine director. Not necessarily a "great director", "Wild Bill" helmed some 76 films and many of them remain today as near-classics. Titles like "Wings", "The Public Enemy", "A Star is Born" (1937, the best version), "Nothing Sacred", "Beau Geste", "The Ox-Bow Incident", "The Story of G.I. Joe", "Battleground" deserve repeated viewings. Would like to see "Wild Boys of the Road" (1933) which co-starred his wife Dorothy Coonan. This looked like a little gem, so hopefully one day I will get the chance to see it. Found it interesting, discussion of certain aspects of Wellman"s directing style such as action happening out of camera range and faces being obscured during important dialog scenes. Lots of talking heads in this documentary but all interesting. Be aware that this is very complimentary (executive producer and creator was Bill Jr., who appearance wise is a spitting image of his dad) , so don't expect anything too negative about Wellman or his films. Mr. Wellman led a very colorful life and his early days growing up in Brookline, Mass., and his adventures with the Lafayette Escadrille in the First World War is also well documented. Read and enjoyed Wellman's autobiography "A Short Time For Insanity" back in 1974. Well worth hunting film book shops to get a copy. You won't be disappointed!

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