Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


CHARLES WALTERS: THE DIRECTOR WHO MADE HOLLYWOOD DANCE. Brent Phillips. University Press of Kentucky; 2017.

This excellent biography looks at the life and work of Charles Walters, who started out as a dancer, became a choreographer for both stage and film, and then directed many notable movies at MGM and elsewhere. Walters lived with a male partner, his agent, for many years, was good friends with everyone from Judy Garland to Esther Williams to Lucille Ball (working with the latter on TV specials as well as Du Barry Was a Lady, for which he did the choreography), and by all accounts was a likable and amiable Hollywood presence. The movies Walters directed include Good News, Easy to LoveSummer Stock, Jumbo, LiliTorch Song with Joan Crawford, High Society, The Glass Slipper, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown, among others. Well-researched and bolstered with interviews, this bio has amusing behind-the-scenes anecdotes a'plenty,and also explores Walters' "cine-dance" -- dance in the movies. 

Verdict: First-rate look at an unsung Hollywood figure. ***1/2.


angelman66 said...

God bless University of Kentucky Press - I actually am friends with one of the editors there; they keep the Classic Hollywood bio genre alive! I need to read this one--Summer Stock and High Society are among my favorite films...

William said...

My co-authored book on Crawford was for University of Kentucky Press -- a long way from Hollywood, ironically! Anyway, this is a very good book. Walters directed a number of excellent films.

angelman66 said...

Yes! The Essential Biography! I have it! Great book!

William said...

Thank you!