‘Raoul Walsh’ Picked for
Newport Beach Film Fest

For Immediate Release

April 1, 2015

 “The True Adventures of Raoul Walsh”to Highlight the Documentary Section of the 16th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival

 The first feature-length documentary on the legendary Hollywood director screens April 25 and 29

He put John Wayne on a horse and Douglas Fairbanks on a flying carpet. He put a gun in Jimmy Cagney’s hands. He rode with Pancho Villa. He assassinated Lincoln in “Birth of a Nation.” He made films in every genre, from comedies to musicals to Westerns to war dramas to melodramas — more than 150 all told. He was an iconoclastic director who rolled his own cigarettes and wore an eye patch that earned him the moniker the “one-eyed bandit of Hollywood.” He was Raoul Walsh, one of Hollywood’s true icons, a tough-guy action director who left an indelible mark on classic Hollywood cinema.

“The True Adventures of Raoul Walsh” is the first feature-length documentary on Walsh, produced as a “memoir” in which he “recounts” his Hollywood career from the silent film era to the tumultuous 1960s. The documentary makes stunning use of rare, personal and production photos and footage, revealing Walsh’s extraordinary, adventurous life on and off the set. His life is nothing less than the story of Hollywood itself.

A master technician on the set, Walsh was also the original raconteur off the set, racking up a series of outrageous adventures with his actors and off-screen buddies Errol Flynn, Jimmy Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable and Gary Cooper. A dashing ladies man, he directed (on and off the screen) Theda Bara, Miriam Cooper, Dolores del Rio, Mae West and Gloria Swanson, among others. Walsh was assistant to D. W. Griffith, then directed the first gangster epic, “Regeneration,” in 1915, and created the innovative “The Thief of Bagdad” in 1924. He became Fox’s golden boy in the 1920s and 1930s, directing the 70mm widescreen “The Big Trail” (1930) and “The Bowery” (1933). He then was wooed to Warner Bros., where he found his true genius, directing such classic gangster and adventure films as “The Roaring Twenties” (1939), “They Drive By Night” (1940), “High Sierra” (1941), “They Died With Their Boots On” (1941), “Objective, Burma!” (1945) — considered one of the best war films ever produced — and “White Heat” (1949).

Yet Walsh’s private life, so veiled by his self-described adventures and “embellishments,” has never truly been known —  until now. This documentary is a must for Walsh fans, classic film fans, and the general audience who wants to know more about American film history. Walsh’s life is the story of Hollywood, a fascinating and adventurous tall tale, yet also a touching and deeply moving love story, in the best American tradition.

“The True Adventures of Raoul Walsh” was written and directed by Marilyn Ann Moss (also author of Walsh’s biography) and Joel Bender; and produced by Paul Lynch (director of cult favorite “Prom Night”).

“The True Adventures of Raoul Walsh” screens at the Island Cinemas 5:30 p.m. Sat., April 25 and 5:15 p.m. Wed, April 29, as part of the 16th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival.

The directors and producer are available for interviews and Q&As.

An electronic press kit with credits and synopses, as well as a large selection of photographs, can be downloaded from http://bitly.com/walshatnewport

A trailer can be found at: https://vimeo.com/105588430

Contact: Marilyn Ann Moss


For years, filmgoers around the world have wondered about the true
details of the life of the great filmmaker Raoul Walsh. Now the world
can find out.

With more than 150 films to his credit and a career spanning almost
six decades, Raoul Walsh (1887-1980) is one of the most enduring
icons of the classic Hollywood period. Known for his elaborate
action movies, large-scale outdoor pictures, and solitary heroes and
heroines on the run, the director, actor, writer and producer became
popular for his adventure films, which attracted huge audiences with
their spectacular tales of exploration and daring characters.

This documentary chronicles the career of one of American cinema’s
early mavericks, delving into his unique filmmaking style, his
colorful personal life away from the movie set, and his equally
colorful public image that he, himself, helped to create.

Raoul Walsh belonged to the early 20th century generation of
directors that included John Ford, Howard Hawks, Allan Dwan, Frank
Borzage and W.F. Murnau — a legendary class of artists who worked in
the fledgling film industry, creating imaginary worlds and elaborate
stories of perilous journeys, cunning enemies, and everlasting love.

Walsh jumped into the movie business in its infancy just after the
turn of the 20th century. He first became an actor and toured the
country before beginning work with the Pathe Bros., in Fort Lee, New
Jersey. As he had a knack for riding horses, he was quickly snapped
up by D. W. Griffith at Biography Studios. Walsh began as an actor
for Griffith, but soon learned filmmaking techniques from the master
when the Griffith players moved to Los Angeles. In 1915,
Griffith tapped Walsh to portray John Wilkes Booth in Griffith’s
masterpiece, “The Birth of a Nation.” Griffith also chose Walsh to
drive down to Juarez, Mexico to film the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa.

Then William Fox lured Walsh to his new studio and Walsh moved back
to New York to work at Fox Pictures, soon ending up back in
California when Fox opened a studio on the West Coast. In 1915 Walsh
directed the first feature-length gangster film, “Regeneration,” and
now stood solidly as one of Fox’s leading directors, working with
such stars as Theda Bara, Victor McLaglen, and soon, Gloria Swanson
and Mae West.

Walsh was about to film the first outdoor talking picture, “In Old
Arizona,” in 1928, when he had a freak accident while on location and
lost his right eye. When he began wearing his famous eye patch, he
earned the suitably dashing moniker “the one-eyed bandit.”

After directing the huge 70mm production “The Big Trail,” in 1930, during
which he discovered John Wayne and put him in the picture, Walsh
continued to be one of Hollywood’s most popular directors.

In 1939 he joined Warner Bros. in Los Angeles and began what many
call his golden period, directing some of the biggest names in
Hollywood, including James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Ida Lupino,
Edward G. Robinson and Bette Davis. Walsh stayed at Warners for 30
years, directing such iconic films as “The Roaring Twenties,” “They
Drive by Night” and “High Sierra.” When be met and began directing
the dashing Errol Flynn, one of Warners’ biggest stars, the two men
forged a professional and personal friendship that gave both of them
some of their biggest hits, including “Objective Burma,” “They Died
With Their Boots On” and “Gentleman Jim.” Flynn gave what many
consider to be his finest performances under Walsh’s direction.

Walsh culminated his years at Warners with what is considered one of
the greatest gangster films of all time, “White Heat,” starring
long-time friend Jimmy Cagney.

Walsh also had a deep love of horses, breeding them, raising them on
his various ranches in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles,
and entering them in numerous races over the years.

As Hollywood’s golden period was coming to an end and the studio
system was breaking apart, Walsh left Warners and became a freelance
director during the 1950s and 1960s. He worked at such studios as
MGM, Universal, Paramount and Twentieth Century-Fox. During these
years he continued to turn out films that became huge hits with
moviegoers, including “Battle Cry,” “The Naked and the Dead,” “Along
the Great Divide,” “The Tall Men” and “The Revolt of Mamie
Stover.” He continued to be in demand as a director and worked with
some of Hollywood’s most famous actors and actresses, including Clark
Gable, Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, Gary Cooper, Jane
Russell and Virginia Mayo.

Walsh’s films still brought in big boxoffice figures. He continued
directing action adventure stories, Westerns, romantic comedies, sea
adventures and romances. Even as Hollywood was being challenged by
the television industry, Walsh remained a popular and sought after director.

In 1964, when Walsh retired to his ranch in Simi Valley, California
and continued to raise his beloved horses, he remained a sought after
Hollywood figure. His work was the subject of innumerable
retrospectives both in the United States and in Europe. Accepting
many invitations to appear before new audiences, he became revered in
France and in Japan. When he published his autobiography in 1974 it
became a best read in tinseltown.

Director Biographies

Marilyn Ann Moss grew up in Los Angeles and is a former film and television critic for The Hollywood Reporter and Boxoffice Magazine. She is also the author of two well-received director biographies, “Raoul Walsh: The True Adventures of Hollywood’s Legendary Director” (2011), and, previously, “Giant: George Stevens, A Life on Film” (2004). She is a film historian and educator who has co-curated a retrospective of Raoul Walsh’s films at The American Cinematheque in Hollywood in 2011, and who also has spoken at film retrospectives at UCLA, Turner Classic Movies Film Festival and at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “The True Adventures of Raoul Walsh” is her directorial debut.

Joel Bender
is an editor and director who works in Hollywood, California. He has a long-time interest in film history and was assistant to film historian William K. Everson while attending the School of Visual Arts in New York. He has worked in the film industry ever since. Most recently he directed the feature films “Karla” and “The Cursed.”

Cast and Crew

Directed by: Marilyn Ann Moss and Joel Bender
Written and Produced by Marilyn Ann Moss and Joel Bender
Based on Marilyn Ann Moss’s book, “Raoul Walsh: The True Adventures of Hollywood’s Legendary Director”
Editor: John Hanrahan
Editor: Cody Miller
Executive Producers: Paul Lynch, Hank Kilgore, Sue Kilgore
Associate Producers: Harley W. Lond, Peter Foldy
Raoul Walsh portrayed and voiced by Johnny Crear
Original Music: Imre Czomba
Post-Production Supervisor: Harley W. Lond
Supervising Sound and Dialogue Editor: David J. Williams
Post Sound Mixer: David J. Williams/Melrose Sound Recorders
Wrap-Around Cinematography: Ricardo Jacques Gale

Raoul Walsh: Biography

Raoul Walsh’s life and times are as compelling as the movies he made, from his youth in New York City – where his parents regularly entertained dinner guests Edwin Booth (brother of John Wilkes Booth), Buffalo Bill, Frederick ReminEalsh, Rusell, Gablegton and Teddy Roosevelt – to his apprenticeship as an assistant director to D.W. Griffith, where, for instance, Walsh himself convinced the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa that his life (and the execution of his enemies) should be made into a movie. Walsh was an imposing figure in Hollywood, contributing movies that were as energetic as his own lifestyle. He loved to recount how he stood up to mobster Bugsy Siegel’s attempt to bribe him, how he was a committed drinking buddy of Humphrey Bogart and Errol Flynn, and an upstanding figure in the Hollywood Irish mafia that included Jimmy Cagney and Pat O’Brien and a host of Irish directors and actors.

The details of Walsh’s amazing life shape up into a fascinating story that he himself would have liked to direct.

Adventurous and iconoclastic, Walsh gave Hollywood some of its greatest action-adventure yarns. His life and movies are the stuff that dreams are made of, with a career spanning over half a century, from the era of one- and two-reel silents to the tumultuous 1960s, from such classic gangster films as White Heat and The Roaring Twenties, action-adventures as They Died With Their Boots On and Objective Burma!, to Westerns, romances and Civil War epics.

WalshWalsh helped to transform the Hollywood studio yarn into a breathless art form. He belongs to that generation of filmmakers who learned to make movies on a dime in a fledgling industry at the start of the 20th century and invented a Hollywood that made movies bigger than life itself.

Off the screen, Walsh also knew an adventure or two. Friend to Pancho Villa and Wyatt Earp, Jack London and William Randolph Hearst, Walsh traveled the South Seas and Mexico as a young man, and then became an actor and ace cameraman for D.W. Griffith before he became a master film director.

Walsh directed the first American gangster epic, Regeneration, in 1915 and in 1930 changed Marion Morrison’s name to John Wayne and put him in his first Western, The Big Trail. Walsh directed Gloria Swanson in the classic silent Sadie Thompson and out grossed Cecil B. DeMille’s epic Carmen by putting Theda Bara in his own spectacular version. He gave Hollywood its first silent mega-hits before he put the light and magic into Douglas Fairbanks’ swashbuckling 1924 The Thief of Bagdad.They Drive by Night

Walsh moved easily from silents to talkies. Working at Warner Bros. beginning in 1939, he made history. He pitted Cagney against Bogart in the classic The Roaring Twenties before he took Bogey up the California mountains in High Sierra and sent Cagney to the “top of the world” in the gangster classic White Heat.

One of Hollywood’s great “tough guy” directors alongside John Ford, Howard Hawks and John Huston, Walsh’s one hundred and forty films created a classic cinema of adventure, romance and American hard knocks both vigorous and tenderhearted. His films moved to the rhythm of bullets and came at audiences with style and energy.

The True Adventures of Raoul Walsh is based on Marilyn Ann Moss’s biography of Walsh, Raoul Walsh: The True Adventures of Hollywood’s Legendary Director, and has the approval of the Raoul Walsh Estate.