Wednesday, September 10, 2008

THE MEN WHO MADE THE MOVIES: KING VIDOR


THE MEN WHO MADE THE MOVIES: KING VIDOR. TCM. 2001.

This is a profile of the great director and his films; there isn't much about his personal life, which might have enriched an already fascinating program. However, this is still a solid look at the man behind the helm of such films as The Crowd, The Big Parade, The Champ (with its moving performance by Jackie Cooper); Our Daily Bread, which Vidor financed himself when MGM found the subject matter too unglamourous; Show People (with Marion Davies); The Citadel; all the sepia sequences in The Wizard of Oz; Solomon and Sheba with its great "mirror" battle scene; and The Fountainhead with Cooper and Neal. Vidor discusses the tragic life of James Murray who starred in The Crowd, and even talks a bit about the much-maligned Beyond the Forest, which doesn't deserve the scorn heaped upon it if for no other reason than Vidor directed it and his direction is as vivid as ever. He even talks about working with David Selznick on Duel in the Sun (Vidor was co-director) which started out as a small, unusual western and ballooned into an epic that Selznick hoped would rival Gone With the Wind.
Verdict: Quite entertaining and informative. ***.

4 comments:

Lauralew said...

I so loved this show. I felt attracted to King Vidor as a person who happened to be a director vs just a great director. I had heard of him and watched documentaries that included his work but this was my first in depth introduction to him. Unfortunately, my spouse deleted it from the DVR as soon as we finished watching it. In the meantime, I've picked up some books and have been reading things about him online. And I'd love to get a copy of the show that introduced me to Vidor and his work.

William said...

Thanks for your comment. TCM will undoubtedly show the King Vidor documentary again and (I'm not sure of this) they may even have a DVD of the show available at their web site. He did a lot of excellent movies.

jeffbur said...

William,
I came across your blog while I was searching for "The Men Who Made the Movies". I'm looking for the original 1973 version. It was narrated by Cliff Robertson. They switched narrators when the series was re-released in 2002. If you get a chance look up the original. You can hear what it was like on the Alfred Hitchcock episode which is still available on Youtube. Thanks for the post.
Jeff

William said...

Thanks for the info, Jeff,and for your comment.