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Raoul Walsh: The True Adventures of Hollywood's Legendary Director (Screen Classics) Hardcover – May 5, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"An ideal introduction to the work of a great director and a fascinating man."―Kevin Brownlow, author of The Search for Charlie Chaplin

"Walsh spun outlandish yarns about his early life, which was colorful enough not to need embellishment. In this extensively researched biography, Moss works hard to separate the teller from the tale."―

"Although Raoul Walsh is now a half-forgotten name in film history, many of his films are still fondly remembered, and this well-written and -researched biography―which benefits from the author's access to scholars and Walsh's family and friends―should help restore luster to his reputation."―Library Journal

"Moss's work shares much more than Walsh's life. It carries us through the epic history of the American film industry."―San Francisco Book Review

"Raoul Walsh was Hollywood's forgotten man. . . . Only now, 30 years after his death, has he been accorded a biography."―Wall Street Journal

"Moss chronicles with dogged research, astute critical observation, and psychological insight"―

"Moss uncovers some amazing facts and rich anecdotes to color her portrait of this singular movie pioneer."―Wimgo Movies

"Raoul Walsh is one of the finest film books of the year, and an essential addition to your cinema bookshelf."―National Board of Review

"A highly readable biography of this legendary filmmaker with more than 150 films to his credit."―King Features Syndicate, Inc.

"Moss had access to Walsh papers and family stories not previously brought to print and deeply researched this vivid biography of the action-minded but often subtle master."―San Diego Reader

"Moss chronicles [Walsh's life] with dogged research, astute critical observation, and psychological insight."―The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Moss's book is an important step forward in Walsh scholarship―her superb research uncovers reams of production history."―Film Comment

"Moss . . . has done an admirable job of examining Walsh's life and accomplishments, sorting out the myths and reestablishing his place in the American pantheon."―The Washington Post

"This book bursts with facts, color, and charm, and along the way provides the reader with a clear sense of how the director's character infused his art."―Choice

"This is a book made out of affection, respect and lengthy research - and surely we have waited long enough for a proper account of the life and work of Raoul Walsh in English."―Sight and Sound

"Moss brings Walsh to life expertly, mining his many contradictions as she separates mythic chaff from factual wheat to give use the fullest portrait of Walsh we are ever likely to get."―Directors Guild of America Quarterly

"Moss went through archives, talked to survivors, and read memos, letters, reviews, interviews and autobiographies. The scope of this research is the book's lasting achievement. Walsh was a boisterous and engaging character, and the book does make him come alive. After finishing the book, it is hard not to miss him. ― Frames Cinema Journal"―Fredrik Gustafsson, Frames Cinema Journal

About the Author

Marilyn Ann Moss is the author of Giant: George Stevens, A Life on Film and has published numerous articles on writers such as Paul Bowles, Theodore Dreiser, and Frank Norris. She was a television critic for The Hollywood Reporter from 1995 to 2009.
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Product Details

  • Series: Screen Classics
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky; 1St Edition edition (May 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813133939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813133935
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,271,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By G.I Gurdjieff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I first became fascinated with Walsh before I knew his name. My favorite moments from childhood were connected with watching his films. Be it HIGH SIERRA or THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON, Walsh's bravado and daring always managed to come through his action and the actors who portrayed his characters.
One of the popular by-products of 1970's era television was a series called THE MEN WHO MADE THE MOVIES. One of the segements that made a huge impression on me was Richard Schickel's interview with Walsh and the accompanying review of his career. It was a mesmerizing moment when I saw this feisty old man talk about some of my favorite movies and his approach to film making which was focused less on the cerebral and more on telling a compelling story that aimed to be exciting.
Author Moss has done a magnificent job of researching Walsh and committing his life and art to paper. If his marriages, sort of hard-living ways and his personal and professional relationships with his actors weren't as interesting as they were, his movies alone would be enough to hook this reader. For all the artsy commentaries that film directors are known for today, coming in contact with the rough-and-tumble Walsh even in book form is a treat. Walsh and so many of his contemporaries made it up as they went along and laid the foundation for great storytelling on many scales. Walsh has been dead for 31 years or so and is buried under an unassuming marker in the Simi Valley. It's great to know that he has not been overlooked or forgotten.
To Walsh's great grandaughter: READ THIS BOOK!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ethan Thornhill on June 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have always loved Raoul Walsh's movies ... "High Sierra," "White Heat," "They Died with Their Boots On," "The Roaring Twenties!" I've loved them since I was a kid. And I've always wondered about the personal side of this director. Well, finally I know about him from reading Moss' book. This biography does a super job of telling us all who Raoul Walsh was when he was away from the camera. He was a great teller of tales, especially the ones he told about himself. Moss does a great job telling the reader about every aspect of Walsh's life -- his marriages, his relationship with his actors and actresses, and how important his movies still are in American cinema.

This is biography at its very best. Moss digs in and comes up with a vivid portrait of Walsh. He's right there on the page -- on every page of this book. She has researched her subject extremely well! If you finally want to know who Walsh REALLY was, look no further than this fascinating biography of this fascinating man!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tim Lasiuta on August 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The films of Raoul Walsh have always stuck out in my mind as exceptional. His 'classics' such as "Gentleman Jim", "Robin Hood", "High Sierra", "They Drive By Night", "Roaring Twenties", and "Dark Command" are memorable. I have seen these, but came on the film scene in the early 80's and discovered a cinematic trove on late night TV.

I was very surprised to find out that Mr Walsh was behind the camera for over 150 films from 1915 to 1976! That is amazing, and speaks to a work ethic not often seen today. That also speaks to a different time, when directors, not only actors were placed under contract for multiples of years. However, whatever the reason, Raoul Walsh was a force to reckon with. His overwhelming view of any production, and ability to get the best out of any actor was well known. His friends, who were difficult for others, like Mr Flynn, Bogart, and Barrymore, knew him and worked with him.

The resulting body of work is only part of the story. Behind the camera, he was a complex man who, during his creative peak, was untouchable. Just like John Ford, and Howard Hawks, they had their say, and their way. But then, the industry was different. He was a compulsive gambler. He was very organized, and intelligent. He loved his family, but remained aloof and disconnected from his children. Film was his world, people sometimes got in the way. His wives, all three of them, put up with a certain amount of avoidance while he gambled and traveled. He was restless, yet longed for companionship, which he attained with his friends.

I love the intimate look at Raoul Walsh, with rare insights gleaned from a variety of first person sources and photos rarely seen. The filmography is welcome and will soon grace my 'must buy' list.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S.J. on August 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Walsh directed the best stars in their best movies: Cagney in White Heat, Bogart in High Sierra, Flynn in They Died With Their Boots On. I thought I knew a lot about Walsh, but I had no idea the man directed almost 200 movies. There is so much new in Moss's biography, much of it from internal memos at Warner Bros., letters from stars, author interviews, etc. A really good, fun, informative read that puts Walsh in the context of Hollywood and the studios at the time. It also delves past the director and into what made the man tick. When I got to the end, I was sad. Author Moss makes you grow to like Walsh and his no B.S., tell-it-like-it-is attitude, and you MISS the guy. Moss did the same in her biography of George Stevens, Giant.
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Format: Paperback
Film scholar, critic, editor and author Marilyn Ann Moss tackled a larger than life, legendary giant of the Silver Screen with her most recent biography, "Raoul Walsh; The True Adventures of Hollywood’s Legendary Director" published by University Press of Kentucky as part of their Screen Classics Series. She has succeeded admirably with this meticulously researched, in-depth biography that pays tribute to the man whose career spanned six decades as actor, director, writer, and producer, and after retirement, a popular lecturer. This insightful biography is not a dry recitation of statistical facts and figures but the vividly depicted, imaginative story of a movie industry pioneer who led a life every bit as exciting, perilous and adventurous as any fictional tale he directed. Time is too often unkind to actors and directors whose careers began in the early days of cinema as memories swiftly fade. The volatility of pre-1950 silver nitrate film stock and a lack of foresight in preserving film history in the incipient movie industry contributed to the enormous loss of silent films in which Walsh began his acting and later, directorial career. Walsh’s earliest screen credit, according to Moss, was as an actor in "A Mother’s Love", a Pathé Studio one reeler filmed in Brooklyn in 1913. He directed his final western,"A Distant Trumpet", which starred Troy Donahue, in 1964. Moss should be lauded too for helping to restore Walsh’s name as one of film history’s greatest leaders as well as for her attention to detail in attempting to accurately present a man who delighted in ‘embellishing’ the truth in favor of a good story and who often omitted facts when writing or speaking about his life.Read more ›
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