Allan Dwan

Best films:
, /10

Allan Dwan (1885), the son of Canadian immigrants, grew up in Chicago and was one of the early employees of Chicago's film studio Essanay, founded in 1907 by George Spoor and western-movie star Gilbert "Broncho Billy" Anderson. He worked for them as a screenwritera until he was hired by Chicago competitors, the Flying ďAĒ Studios, founded in 1910. In 1911 this company sent him to open their California studios near San Diego and the following year in Santa Barbara. That's where Dwan directed his first film and were he presided over many one-reel western movies. In 1913 he moved to Hollywood. In 1915 he worked briefly with David Griffith.

Dwan directed more movies than any other director of the century, but they were mostly vehicles for a star. He began a collaboration with Canadian-American actress Mary Pickford on The Foundling (1915), and then with her husband Douglas Fairbanks on A Modern Musketeer (1917). Dwan directed the latter in the western The Good-Bad Man (1916), written and produced by Fairbanks himself, The Half-breed (1916), Manhattan Madness (1916), and especially Robin Hood (1922) and The Iron Mask (1929). Dwan directed Gloria Swanson in eight films, notably Manhandled (1924) and What a Widow (1930), his first talkie. He directed Shirley Temple starting with Heidi (1937), when she was nine years old, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938).

While Paris Sleeps (1932) is notable for a more sophisticated plot.

His western Frontier Marshal (1939), about Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, was the source for John Ford's My Darling Clementine (1946).

During World War II he directed four farces: Up in Mabel's Room (1944), Getting Gertie's Garter (1945), Abroad with two Yanks (1944), Brewster's Millions (1945).

He then directed one of the most famous war movies set in World War II: The Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), which introduced John Wayne as a war hero.

He ended his career with several noble westerns: The Woman They Almost Lynched (1953), Cattle Queen of Montana (1954), Silver Lode (1954), Tennessee's Partner (1955), and finally The Restless Breed (1957). In between he also crafted two films noirs: Slightly Scarlet (1956) and The Riverís Edge (1957).

Dwan remained until the end confined to the world of B-movies with modest budgets.

(Copyright © 2022 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )