1. Guest,
    If you need help getting to know Xenforo, please see our guide here. If you have feedback or questions, please post those here.
    Dismiss Notice

Gordon Douglas: An Underrated Director!

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Crawford, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    28,176
    Likes Received:
    3,872
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    After watching the blu-rays of Only the Valiant and Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, it occur to me that the director of those two fine films was Gordon Douglas. A thought came to me that I remember seeing Douglas as director of several films I've enjoyed over the years. What I didn't realize is the shear number of those films until I looked up his filmography. Many of his directed films have been personal favorites of mine, but I didn't noticed how many of them until now.

    There have been several directors I thought were underrated such as Richard Brooks, Vincent Sherman, Lewis Milestone, Robert Aldrich, John Frankenheimer, Clarence Brown and even Michael Curtiz to a certain extent. IMO, those directors haven't been given enough credit for their directed films. Douglas wasn't on the same level as some of those directors. Most of Douglas films weren't AA caliber films, but for the most part his films were very entertaining. Many of them, viewed for the first time in my youth helped shape my love for film.

    I just wanted to give a shout out to a departed and a forgotten director whose many films are a vital part of my film memories with several of them now part of my film library.

    Here's to you, Gordon Douglas:


    [*]The Infernal Triangle (1935)
    [*]Lucky Beginners (1935)
    [*]General Spanky (1936)
    [*]Spooky Hooky (1936)
    [*]Pay As You Exit (1936)
    [*]Two Too Young (1936)
    [*]Bored of Education (1936)
    [*]Our Gang Follies of 1938 (1937)
    [*]The Pigskin Palooka (1937)
    [*]Framing Youth (1937)
    [*]Fishy Tales (1937)
    [*]Night 'n' Gales (1937)
    [*]Roamin' Holiday (1937)
    [*]Three Smart Boys (1937)
    [*]Rushin' Ballet (1937)
    [*]Hearts Are Thumps (1937)
    [*]Glove Taps (1937)
    [*]Reunion in Rhythm (1937)
    [*]Aladdin's Lantern (1938)
    [*]The Little Ranger (1938)
    [*]Hide and Shriek (1938)
    [*]Feed 'em and Weep (1938)
    [*]Came the Brawn (1938)
    [*]Bear Facts (1938)
    [*]Canned Fishing (1938)
    [*]Zenobia (1939)
    [*]Saps at Sea (1940)
    [*]Niagara Falls (1941)
    [*]Broadway Limited (1941)
    [*]The Great Gildersleeve (1942)
    [*]The Devil with Hitler (1942)
    [*]Gildersleeve on Broadway (1943)
    [*]Gildersleeve's Bad Day (1943)
    [*]The Falcon in Hollywood (1944)
    [*]Girl Rush (1944)
    [*]Gildersleeve's Ghost (1944)
    [*]A Night of Adventure (1944)
    [*]First Yank into Tokyo (1945)
    [*]Zombies on Broadway (1945)
    [*]San Quentin (1946)
    [*]Dick Tracy vs. Cueball (1946)
    [*]Walk a Crooked Mile (1948)
    [*]The Black Arrow (1948)
    [*]If You Knew Susie (1948)
    [*]Mr. Soft Touch (1949)
    [*]The Doolins of Oklahoma (1949)
    [/list]
    [*]Between Midnight and Dawn (1950)
    [*]Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)
    [*]Rogues of Sherwood Forest (1950)
    [*]Fortunes of Captain Blood (1950)
    [*]The Nevadan (1950)
    [*]Come Fill the Cup (1951)
    [*]I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951)
    [*]Only the Valiant (1951)
    [*]The Great Missouri Raid (1951)
    [*]The Iron Mistress (1952)
    [*]Mara Maru (1952)
    [*]So This Is Love (1953)
    [*]The Charge at Feather River (1953)
    [*]She's Back on Broadway (1953)
    [*]Young at Heart (1954)
    [*]Them! (1954)
    [*]Sincerely Yours (1955)
    [*]The McConnell Story (1955)
    [*]Santiago (1956)
    [*]Bombers B-52 (1957)
    [*]The Big Land (1957)
    [*]The Fiend Who Walked the West (1958)
    [*]Fort Dobbs (1958)
    [*]Yellowstone Kelly (1959)
    [*]Up Periscope (1959)
    [*]Claudelle Inglish (1961)
    [*]Gold of the Seven Saints (1961)
    [*]The Sins of Rachel Cade (1961)
    [*]Follow that Dream (1962)
    [*]Call Me Bwana (1963)
    [*]Rio Conchos (1964)
    [*]Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964)
    [*]Sylvia (1965)
    [*]Harlow (1965)
    [*]Way...Way Out (1966)
    [*]Stagecoach (1966)
    [*]Tony Rome (1967)
    [*]Chuka (1967)
    [*]In Like Flint (1967)
    [*]Lady in Cement (1968)
    [*]The Detective (1968)
    [*]Barquero (1970)
    [*]They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! (1970)
    [*]Skullduggery (1970)
    [*]Skin Game (1971)
    [*]Viva Knievel! (1977)
    [/list]
     
    ROclockCK likes this.
  2. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 1998
    Messages:
    5,383
    Likes Received:
    469
    I've mostly seen his films from the '50s through the end of his career. The majority of those films probably weren't great art but they were well executed and were entertaining. His longevity and the experience he acquired over that long career provided him with a certain assuredness.

    The fact that he directed Them! which in my estimation is one of the four best SF films of the '50s is enough to recommend his work. (The other three being The Day the Earth Stood Still, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Forbidden Planet.)

    - Walter.
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    28,176
    Likes Received:
    3,872
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    My ten favorite Douglas films are the following:

    [*]Them
    [*]Mr. Soft Touch
    [*]The Charge at Feather River
    [*]The McConnell Story
    [*]Tony Rome
    [*]The Detective
    [*]The Only Valiant
    [*]Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
    [*]The Doolins of Oklahoma
    [*]Robin and the 7 Hoods
    [/list]
     
  4. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1998
    Messages:
    5,788
    Likes Received:
    510
    Location:
    Central Arkansas
    Real Name:
    Johnny Angell
    Holy crap! I hadn't realized that Douglas had directed 4 of my favorite films.
     
  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    28,176
    Likes Received:
    3,872
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    What four favorite films?
     
  6. Timothy E

    Timothy E Supporting Actor
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Messages:
    954
    Likes Received:
    54
    Real Name:
    Timothy Ewanyshyn
    I saw The Charge At Feather River on its most recent airing on TCM. I would love to see Warner Brothers release a 3D BD. It has never been released on DVD.
     
  7. John Hermes

    John Hermes Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Messages:
    1,065
    Likes Received:
    660
    Location:
    La Mesa (San Diego) CA
    Real Name:
    John Hermes
    My profile picture! Yellowstone Kelly - Big Clint Walker! Gordon Douglas directed each of Clint's vintage Warner Brothers' Westerns: Fort Dobbs, Yellowstone Kelly, and Gold of The Seven Saints. Plus, lots of other favorites of mine including Tony Rome, Elvis in Follow That Dream, 1966 Stagecoach, etc. Three cheers for Gordon!
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    28,176
    Likes Received:
    3,872
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    He directed mainly "B" films, but even most of them were very entertaining.
     
  9. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,924
    Likes Received:
    991
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    Glen
    Toward the end of his life the LA Times did a fantastic retrospective story on THEM! and included interviews with surviving cast and crew, including Douglas, who was in a senior home and in poor health at the time. If I remember right, as it's been about 25 years since the article ran, Douglas wasn't always coherent due to his age and illnesses, but the interviewer managed to get some great stuff from him about the making of the film. It reminds me how great the LA Times used to be.

    Never as critically heralded as Richard Fleischer, whose career Douglas' most resembles in terms of variety and longevity, he was still a master at turning out great entertainment and working across many spectrums of film art and history.
     
  10. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    28,176
    Likes Received:
    3,872
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    To me, the big difference between the two of them was Fleischer was given several big budget films compared to Douglas.
     
  11. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,924
    Likes Received:
    991
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    Glen
    Douglas was entrusted to "A" pictures, such as those starring his friend Frank Sinatra, but he balanced those with lesser budgeted projects. Like Fleischer, he was very much in demand as someone who could get the job done with minimal fuss and bother. I've been a big fan of his for decades and often thought he was unsung, but I tend to gravitate toward journeyman filmmakers and study their work just as much as the lauded auteurs.
     
  12. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2004
    Messages:
    3,527
    Likes Received:
    166
    I've gained a whole new appreciation for Gordon Douglas the last couple of years, now that more of his films have recently become available through Olive Films, Warner Archives and other MOD's. He could craft a genre film with consummate skill. I'm catching up with his 1950s crime films now. I particularly like RIO CONCHOS (1964) and his remake of STAGECOACH (1966) which I now see as two of the best studio westerns of the 1960s. More violent and bloody than most until Peckinpah outdid him in 1969. I turned a blind eye to the remake of STAGECOACH because it wasn't John Ford by any means, but now I see the value in Douglas' approach, thanks to the Twilight Time DVD.

    It would be nice to see SKULLDUGGERY (1970) again, which has never been on home video. It was quite a hoot, actually. I've seen THE CHARGE AT FEATHER RIVER (1953) projected in authentic double-interlock twice, at the World 3-D Film Expos in 2003 and 2006. Good prints survive, and it's a real crowd-pleaser, not to mention an excellent film and a possible antecedent to THE SEARCHERS (1956). It's never been on DVD, either. There is no indication from Warner Home Video that it will ever be released, not in 3-D or flat, although it's one of their strongest titles for entertainment value. 3-D collectors would put it into profits real quick.
     
  13. JohnMor

    JohnMor Premium
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2004
    Messages:
    4,034
    Likes Received:
    1,280
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Real Name:
    John Moreland
    I love his direction of Young at Heart. He keeps it very realistic and low key, even in the melodramatic (and musical) moments, and keeps the great cast reigned in. It makes all the difference.
     
  14. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Messages:
    2,716
    Likes Received:
    418
  15. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,924
    Likes Received:
    991
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    Glen
    Bob, Fleischer lived long enough to hear the accolades. He was always on hand in Los Angeles for screenings of his films at local venues, including the Art Museum and UCLA. A well attended and received tribute to him by the American Cinematheque brought him lots of critical acclaim.
     
  16. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2004
    Messages:
    3,527
    Likes Received:
    166
    I've always thought MARA MARU (1952) with Errol Flynn was under-rated. Good location work by Gordon Douglas throughout on an obviously miniscule budget. But then I'm a sucker for south-American treasure hunts.
     
  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    28,176
    Likes Received:
    3,872
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    Bob,

    Thank you for that link as it was interesting reading, not so much for what was written, but the timing of that article. Very ironic, that I would watch both of those Olive BDs this weekend and that Kehr writes about them in the Times. The article kind of supports my opinion that Douglas was very underrated as a director and could've been recognize as a great director if given more film projects with larger budgets and more timing to plan them out.
     
  18. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1998
    Messages:
    5,788
    Likes Received:
    510
    Location:
    Central Arkansas
    Real Name:
    Johnny Angell
    Them, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Day the Earth Stood Still, and Forbidden Planet. I was responding to Walter's post which I misread. The only film of he 4 that he directed was Them.
     
  19. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Messages:
    2,716
    Likes Received:
    418
    Thanks to Olive and the Warner Archive a lot of his films have seen the light of my DVD player, and I haven't regretted any. Bravo to both labels.

    Prof, not trying to heckle Fleischer, whose autobiography is an amusing read. I wasn't aware that the tide had turned until his death, when a number of fond obituaries (including Kehr's) were written.
     

Share This Page