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Dean Martin Westerns / The Sons of Katie Elder / Part 3

3 Apr


poeme / secret garden

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The Sons of Katie Elder / Part 3
Henry Hathaway / Director


“To be a good director you’ve got to be a bastard.
I’m a bastard and I know it.”

– Henry Hathaway

Thought I’d do a little profile on Henry Hathaway, the Director of Sons of Katie Elder. Initially John Sturges ( Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Great Escape (1963) ) was supposed to Direct and Alan Ladd was to Star. Ladd bought out his contract with Paramount and left. Film rights were picked up by Producer Hal Wallis and it was announced Dean Martin would Star. But somewhere along the line John Wayne and Hathaway stepped in. 

Hathaway directed about 24 Westerns in his career – 67 movies in total between 1929 to 1974 – including John Wayne’sNorth to Alaska (1960) and True Grit (1969) – for which John Wayne (1969) won an Oscar. Quite a career. Yet Hathaway’s Directing style seems to have been purely business like – straight forward, bread and butter, and no frills – and he received little recognition and no awards for his work. Not that he seemed to care.

“There’s lots of nice guys walking around Hollywood but they’re not eating.”
– Henry Hathaway

John Wayne, Henry Hathaway, Dean Martin

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According to one source, Hathaway was an assistant Director under a guy called Victor Fleming on a movie called The Wolf Song (1929). Fleming went on to Direct The Wizard of OZ (1939)and Gone with the Wind (1939) – among several other classics. If your going to understudy with somebody, it might as well be a Master.

Victor Fleming with Gary Cooper

Wolf Song has a number of rather wonderful and incredible images.

Lupe Velez and Gary Cooper 

My first impression when I looked at these images was that
popular modern cinema has lost something.
And I’d say that something is Art.

Lupe Velez and a camera got along pretty good.

Next: The Sons of Katie Elder / Part 4

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