Raoul Walsh

"A straightforward storyteller, he made many fine, unpretentious, smoothly paced films with the accent on entertainment and slick production values. He tackled a variety of genres but was at his best with virile outdoor action dramas, which he often mellowed with moments of genuine tenderness... A dynamic, instinctive director, he is considered by many critics to be one of the great primitive artists of the screen." - The Film Encyclopedia, 2012

Raoul Walsh

Director / Producer / Screenwriter
(1887-1980) Born March 11, New York City, New York, USA
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: USA, UK
Key Genres: Drama, Western, Action, Adventure, Melodrama, Romance, Gangster Film, Traditional Western, War Drama, Adventure Drama, War, Crime
Key Collaborators: Sidney Hickox (Cinematographer), Max Steiner (Composer), Alan Hale (Leading Character Actor), Ted Smith (Production Designer), Errol Flynn (Leading Actor), Virginia Mayo (Leading Actress), Henry Hull (Leading Character Actor), Barton MacLane (Character Actor), Clark Gable (Leading Actor), James Cagney (Leading Actor), George Raft (Leading Actor), Ida Lupino (Leading Actress)

"When the critics from Cahiers du cinéma were conferring auteur status upon erstwhile Hollywood hacks, they tended to favour the sort of macho directors whose lives were as rugged and red-blooded as the films they made. Raoul Walsh was the epitome of the brawny, no-nonsense maverick who demonstrated a vigorous sense of adventure both on and off the screen... His forte was the action picture, fuelled by an abrasive energy and gruff decency, in which two-fisted heroes defined their own moral code in an indifferent universe. With a trio of gangster movies, he took the genre to new heights: The Roaring Twenties (1939), High Sierra (1941) and White Heat (1949)." - Lloyd Hughes (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"Raoul Walsh's extraordinary career spanned the history of the American motion picture industry from its emergence, through its glory years in the 1930s and 1940s, and into the television era. Like his colleagues Allan Dwan, King Vidor, John Ford, and Henry King, whose careers also covered 50 years, Walsh continuously turned out popular fare, including several extraordinary hits... Raoul Walsh is now accepted as an example of a master Hollywood craftsman who worked with naive skill and an animal energy, a director who was both frustrated and buoyed by the studio system." - Douglas Gomery (The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, 1998)
"It is time to consider Walsh as rather more than a tough guy, a fellow who likes to laugh, a primitive with rough sentiments. This passionate Shakespearean is a physical film-maker only because he depicts a world of spiritual turmoil. His characters are projected on the world by their own energy and committed to a space that only exists for their actions, fury, spirit, craft, ambition and unbridled dreams." - Jean Douchet
"'Action!', the word that starts the cameras rolling, sums up the career of this American director. Sprawling, brawling, often almost primitive action, teeming across the screen, marks Walsh's stories of comradeship and battles against the odds. He had a talent for making the densest of action sequences seem uncomplicated and uncluttered and his characters, like the scenes they distinguished, often have a raw, unfettered power." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)
"A supreme action director, Walsh would be regarded as one of the greats of Hollywood's golden era if not for a long period in the 1930s when he languished with mediocre projects. A number of excellent silent films (What Price Glory?) weren't followed by work of similar quality until the director went to Warner Brothers in 1939. Walsh rarely gave in to the psychology of his characters, but directed on a pure narrative level which showed what was important without merely telling it in the dialogue." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"The transition from silents to sound pictures didn't hit me in any way. I just kept the thing moving regardless of the sound... Of course, there was a great upheaval amongst the directors when talking pictures came in. They called me a renegade because I was one of the first ones to do an outdoor talking picture. They said that they'd created such a medium with pantomime, you know, and now this talking stuff was going to destroy it all. I said it was going to destroy us if we didn't get along and get with it. So they finally all came in." - Raoul Walsh (Directing the Film, 1976)
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
The Roaring Twenties (1939) , High Sierra (1941) ✖︎, Pursued (1947), White Heat (1949) ✖︎
Recommended
The Thief of Bagdad (1924), The Big Trail (1930), They Drive By Night (1940), They Died with Their Boots On (1941) , The Strawberry Blonde (1941), Gentleman Jim (1942), The Man I Love (1946), Colorado Territory (1949), Along the Great Divide (1951), The Tall Men (1955)
Worth a Look
What Price Glory? (1926), Me and My Gal (1932), The Bowery (1933), Manpower (1941), Objective, Burma! (1945), Silver River (1948), Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951), The World in His Arms (1952), Band of Angels (1957), The Naked and the Dead (1958)
Approach with Caution
Regeneration (1915), Klondike Annie (1936), Gun Fury (1953), Sea Devils (1953), Battle Cry (1955), The King and Four Queens (1956), The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956), The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw (1958), Esther and the King (1960)
Not Recommended
Cheyenne (1947), Distant Drums (1951)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films ✖︎ 1,000 Noir Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    The Roaring Twenties
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